November 18, 2006

Breadcrumb: Marriage

Towards the end of our readings, Isaac takes Rebekah as his wife. (Gen. 24:62-67) The episode plays out as follows: Isaac sees Rebekah, the servant relates who she is and why he has brought her, Isaac takes Rebekah into his (deceased) mother's tent, and marries her. It seems, therefore, that there was no priest and no ceremony beyond the consummation itself. Of course, it is possible that the ceremony lurks behind the text and out of sight of the reader. But a literal reading of the text suggests that marriage was not the elaborate ritual it became in later years.


Andrew said...

From a religious perspective, the bells and whistles surrounding a wedding have always been optional. Even in Roman Catholicism, you don't need a priest (he's merely acting as a witness). A promise and a consummation are all that's necessary

Julie said...

Indeed, the same is true (technically) of Judaism. All you officially need is the bride, groom, parents of each, and two witnesses.

But, on the other hand, people have always liked tossing in lots of ceremony to their marriages, especially when the people happened to be very rich.