Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Institution of Marriage: John R. Salverda

As noted, the Genesis account contains the origins of the institution of marriage. However, the kind of marriage that first appeared, the one that led to the Original Sin, was one that Adam described as; "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:" (Genesis 2:24 KJV). In essence it was the marriage arrangement of a matriarchal society, one where a man left his own family and went to live with his wife's. The children born to such a social structure belonged to the family of their mother, using, no doubt the mother's family name, and following the dictates of the matriarch. It was what we would call today, full-blown feminism. This system did not work out, it led directly to the Original Sin. God Himself described Adam's mistake as; "thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife" (Genesis 3:17 KJV). After all, this original feminist concept of marriage was apparently Adam's idea in the first place, a decision in which God seems to have taken no part. (see Genesis 2:23,24).
After the committing of the Sin, which is characterized by Moses as eating from the forbidden tree, God Himself prescribed the remedy to mankind's, originally perverse, marriage arrangement, directly to the woman; "thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (Genesis 3:16). This is a complete departure from the previously attempted matrilineality. This, much overlooked, reading of the Genesis account, garners a kind of confirmation from the Jewish Legends, wherein a woman named Lilith is said to be Adam's first wife. "Like him she had been created out of the dust of the ground. But she remained with him only a short time, because she insisted upon enjoying full equality with her husband. She derived her rights from their identical origin. ... She takes her revenge by injuring babes--baby boys during the first night of their life, while baby girls are exposed to her wicked designs until they are twenty days old." (Louis Ginzberg, "Legends of the Jews" Vol. I, Chap. II, "Woman") Legendary it may be, but Lilith, as the allegorical figurehead of modern feminism, still injures babes to this very day, through the contrivance of the women's liberation movement's favorite political imperative, abortion!
How does this understanding of the Scriptural origin of patrilineal matrimony compare with what we know about what Greek mythology has to say about it? The two, supposedly separate, cultures have surprisingly corresponding accounts. The Greek myths tell us that it was Cecrops, who, upon leading the people up out of the land Egypt (a matrilineal society), was the first to recognize patriarchal paternity. While, to the Hebrews, it was Moses who led the people out of Egypt and wrote Genesis 3:16 (Unto the woman he said, …thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.) in order to redefine the roles of men and women for the Israelites as opposed to the custom of their previous Egyptian overlords (Athena, of Cecrops' Athens, had “accidentally” killed Pallas in the Greek myth, much the same as Eve had superseded Lilith in the writings of Moses.).
At this point let us recall the Athenian myth that covers this same episode. According to Marcus Varro (a Roman historian who died about 28 BC. he wrote a now lost book called "De Gente Populi Romani" from which Augustine, who had access to it back then, got this story), the choice between worshiping Athena or Poseidon was put to the vote of the people of Attica. They were asked to pick which would be more beneficial to mankind, Athena’s olive tree or Poseidon’s fountain. In those days, women had an equal vote with men. The men all voted for the god, and all the women voted for the goddess, but since there was one more woman than there were men, Athena won the referendum. Angered, Poseidon sent a great flood. So terrible was his judgment that it was decided to deprive women of the vote and to forbid children to bear their mother's names for the future. (Augustine, De civitate Dei xviii.9). Notice how, in accordance with the Greek myth, before choosing the serpent woman's tree, children born to the Athenian women (people who were led up out of the land of Egypt by their great lawgiver and settled into twelve national groups), were raised under their mother's name; and women, by virtue of their majority vote, ruled over the men. When it turned out that the choice of the women angered the male god, the situation was rectified in nearly the same way that it was in the Scriptural narrative.
John Gill's commentary on Genesis 2:24 says; "Athens ... had a king named Cecrops, whom, as all antiquity is full of fables, they represented to have been of both sexes, because he was the first to join male and female in marriage." (Justin, "Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus" Volume 2. 2. c. 6.), whence he was said to be "biformis" (twi-formed) and was called "difyis" (according to the "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology" under the article "CECROPS" by William Smith "Some ancients referred the epithet "difyis" to marriage of which tradition made him the founder") unless, as some (William Salden, "Otia Theologica" Exercitat. 1. sect. 14. p. 13, 14.) have thought, that he and Moses were one and the same who delivered out the first institution of marriage. (Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, perhaps quoting John Calvin, on Genesis 2:24). Notice how the quote from Justin, is seemingly referring to the serpent half of Cecrops, as representing women; and how the quote from William Salden shows that it was thought by some, that Moses and Cecrops, were the same person!


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