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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
The Cure for Divorce by Michael S. Sayen contains a scholarly essay, followed by a question and answer section. Sayen explains that Jewish marriage was a unilateral covenant. An offer of marriage was initiated by the man, and accepted by the woman. The bride price was the woman’s security if the marriage ended. Comparisons are made with other biblical covenants, such as the one God made with the nation of Israel. Jesus' comments in the gospels emphasized that divorce was not in God’s original plan. Members of the early church questioned the Apostle Paul whether they ought to divorce unbelieving spouses. Paul advised living in peace whenever possible. The question and answer section deals with the technicalities of Jewish divorce and the limited circumstances under which remarriage was permitted.
The Cure for Divorce is a brave attempt at tackling one of society's more painful issues. This is a booklet-sized offering that provides fascinating historical and cultural information. I especially liked the references to the historian Josephus and other sources. Sayen’s discussion of Paul’s instruction to “live peaceably”, based on first Corinthians 7 and Romans 12:18, was particularly fascinating. Unconditional love and exemplary behavior are of course the ideal. Sayen is calling Christians to strive towards the biblical ideal and not look for easy ways out. Part of his message is that relationships can be healed if not severed unlawfully. I believe Michael S. Sayen’s arguments are worth reading, no matter whether you agree or disagree with his conclusions.