A reader writes:
While the noun syzygos in Philippians 4:3 can be either masculine or feminine, and can therefore in the right context refer to either a male or female marriage partner, the form of the adjective "true" that modifies syzygos--as in "true syzygos"--is unambiguously masculine. This probably means that syzygos ought to be translated as something like "comrade." Alternatively, Syzygos could be understood as a man's name. Either way, the word does not denote Paul's wife. This does not, of course, solve the problem of whether or not Paul was unmarried and/or celibate. But it does mean that Philippians 4:3 does not count as evidence that Paul was married.
I thought you'd be interested in this excerpt from John Meier's well regarded book, A Marginal Jew (page 118):
...one wonders whether there is any connection between the celibate lifestyle of Jesus and his absolutist view on divorce. I remember with a smile how, after discussing the possible celibacy of Jesus during a lecture at the University of California, San Diego, the wife of my professor-host told me that the best proof that Jesus was celibate was that he totally forbade divorce - something no married man would have ever done.
This may at first seem just a joke, but I invite the reader to reflect on the different approaches to divorce in the Catholic and Protestant churches and to ponder whether there is a correlation between the legal status of divorce and the marital status of the hierarchy in the discipline of each group. Celibate Catholic bishops and priests teach the Catholic laity that divorce is not permitted, while mostly married Protestant clergy - though certainly not happy with the high divorce rate - generally do allow divorce and remarriage in their churches.
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