Marital Imagery Commendations

‘Hamer’s appeal to marital imagery throughout Scripture and how it informs our understanding of the NT teaching on divorce and remarriage is brilliant.’

– William A. Heth Professor of Greek and New Testament Taylor University, Upland, IN

 ‘Hamer convincingly defends the view that from the earliest days of the Old Testament, through the intertestamental period, and throughout the New Testament, marriage was never seen as indissoluble. Provisions for divorce and remarriage were always present; even when someone was divorced wrongly they did not enter into a legal fiction by which they were still married to their previous partner in God’s eyes. Particularly helpful is Hamer’s use of metaphor theory to show the extent to which the Bible uses marriage-divorce-remarriage analogies with God’s (and Jesus’) relationship with his sometimes wayward people. The best and most thorough treatment of this topic now available from the perspective of the relationship between the metaphors and reality.’

– Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

 ‘Hamer incorporates a holistic view of Scripture that produces surprisingly enlightening insights. Regular summaries guide the reader through a detailed analysis using modern metaphor theory to arrive at a valuable conclusion.’

– Dr David Instone-Brewer, Senior Research Fellow, Tyndale House, Cambridge

‘In this work Dr. Hamer challenges many centuries of academic scholarship and ecclesiastical assumptions about divorce. Readers will find substantive arguments based on the Judeo-Christian scriptures, extra-biblical writings, and metaphor theory. The writer’s unique contribution ventures beyond Dr Instone-Brewer’s groundbreaking work on the topic and conceptualizes not only the Judeo milieu of divorce statements in the Old and New Testaments but how key passages such as Genesis 2:23-24 may impact the possibility of divorce in gospel and epistolary literature. Many contemporary scholars look at marriage, divorce, and remarriage from a constricted standpoint; Dr Hamer takes readers to an unprecedented level in order to provide a broader understanding. Readers will not go away unchallenged.’

– Dr Richard M. Cozart, Professor at College of Biblical Studies, Houston, Texas

‘Hamer’s contribution to the study of the marriage in the Hebrew Bible presents a wide range of data from the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple period literature to argue the pervasive use of the marriage metaphor in the Prophets was based on a covenantal reading of Genesis 2:24. For the prophets, marriage was based on a volitional covenant and was therefore an appropriate metaphor for God’s relationship with Israel. If the prophets saw Israel’s exile in terms of a divorce, Jesus’ ministry represents an offer of remarriage to a divorced Israel suggesting several important implications for marriage and divorce.’

– Phillip J. Long, Professor of Bible and Biblical Languages, Grace Bible College, Grand Rapids, Mich.

 ‘In this book Hamer presents a fresh and persuasive new perspective on the Old Testament roots of New Testament teaching on marriage, with great significance for contemporary debates on the nature of Christian marriage. It deserves to be widely read.’

– David Clough, Professor of Theological Ethics, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Chester

 ‘This is a remarkable study. Hamer’s analysis of Genesis 2:24 both in its original context, and of its employment in the New Testament, is insightful, and as far as I am aware, unique in biblical scholarship. The analysis shows, among other things, that Paul in Ephesians 5:31-32 believes Genesis 2:24 to be a protoevangelium and a foreshadowing of the inclusion of the Gentiles in God’s plan of salvation—placed in the scriptural record before the Fall. The logic of Hamer’s analysis is followed through to a consistent, and to my mind, convincing exegesis of New Testament divorce and remarriage teaching.’

– Rev Trevor Baker, Albanian Evangelical Mission

‘At times, in scholarship, certain works appear that are groundbreaking, programmatic, and game-changing. Often, it takes more than a generation for such works to achieve this status as too frequently they are ignored by contemporary scholars because they upset the “received” paradigms to the point where one has to rethink one’s entire worldview. Colin Hamer’s study is exactly such a work. I hope it gets the attention it deserves by scholars and church leaders alike.’

 – Florenc Mene, Albanian theologian and writer

‘A ground-breaking, scholarly work that challenges our interpretation of biblical marriage. Well researched, compellingly argued, and clearly written—a must read for all in Church leadership.’

 – Dr Roy Kunar, Gospel Expressions Network

‘In this important and thoroughly researched thesis, Dr Hamer has resolved the conundrum of God’s concern for marriage and the texts of scripture that appear to give conflicting instruction about people who are divorced. It provides a vitally important insight into God’s healing solution for those who, like Himself, have experienced the rejection of their love.’

– Rev Dr Tom Holland, Senior Research Fellow, The Wales Evangelical School of Theology

‘Excellently written and a work of fine scholarship, this work’s audience is theologians rather than lay people. To compare with works in medicine: those dealing with the etiology of a disease without also addressing treatment belong in medical libraries, and are the domain of physicians rather than providing guidance for the general public. And Marital Imagery does address aetiology (Hamer’s spelling, reflecting his British English). To pursue the medical metaphor: the Christian church’s understanding of the nature of marriage and its attendant ailment, divorce, has been blighted from disease since losing its grounding in first-century culture. Pastors and lay readers might prefer to wait for Hamer’s forthcoming derivative work to discover how best to implement a remedy. Meanwhile, all Christian theologians should read it, regardless of denominational affiliation.’

 – Ian Fairclough, George Mason University