Abstract of the book Not Under Bondage - Australian Domestic & Family Violence Clearinghouse

General Overview:

This extensively researched book by an Australian author is written for those religious women living in marriage to an abuser and facing the dilemma: must a woman suffer the abuse in order to maintain the sanctity of her marriage or should she divorce and be condemned to the censure of her church and her own self-imposed guilt? Roberts presents the case that divorce is permitted to end an abusive marriage and that remarriage is also allowed by scripture.

Discussion:

The question of whether a Christian may, in good faith, seek to end an abusive marriage continues to plague theologians and devout members of the Christian community. In search of a definitive answer, the author delves deeply into both Old and New Testament to analyse the Biblical meanings of marriage, divorce and remarriage. She finds that the Bible recognises two types of divorce, “treacherous divorce” and “disciplinary divorce”. Treacherous divorce is reviled in the Bible and occurs when the instigator of the divorce does so for little or no reason. Disciplinary divorce, however, is allowed and occurs when a spouse has demeaned the marriage contract by adultery, abandonment, neglect or abuse. In an examination of Mosaic Law, the teachings of Shammai and Hillel, both Jewish religious teachers, and the views of Jesus, she shows that the Christian dogma which has evolved does not prohibit divorce or remarriage in the case of a marriage of abuse.

Roberts presents a succinct summary of her findings in the concluding chapter. She also includes eleven appendices to present her research into certain aspects of her arguments in more detail and compiles an extensive bibliography, as well as a scripture index.

© 2009 Australian Domestic & Family Violence Clearinghouse (used with permission)