Marriages and Betrothals
Marry — related to the Latin word "mari" - (given) to this male, and a similar word "maritus" - a husband
in early scripture, from Adam and Eve to Abraham and Sarah
- Betrothal: The Hebrew noun is "Erusin" from "Aras" in Greek "eros" — to be "espoused", a verbal and legally binding contract, normally accompanied with the "bride-price", and following which — as seen in the words of Jesus – the Second Man and the "Last" Adam — it was often customary for the man to depart to prepare a home for his bride.
And during which time the bride was "Kiddushim" from "Kodesh / Qadash" — "Sanctified" i.e. set apart.
- Wedding: The Hebrew noun is "Nisuin" from "Nasa" - to be "lifted up" or carried (over the threshold)
- With regard to "bride-price" – payments to the bride's family, as opposed to "dowry – payments to the groom's family", the following extract from economics.ubc.ca is informative.
The use of bride-price has tended to correlate with polygyny (men have more
than one wife) and also with the possibility of divorce. In contrast, monogamy is the
norm and divorce is rare in dowry-paying societies. For example, bride-price is
near-universal in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 95 percent of societies are
traditionally polygynous (Goody, 1973). Polygyny was also permitted in ancient
Israel (Editor eg Solomon and his 700 brides contrasted with his 300 "concubines") also in Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, classical China, and Islamic countries all of
which commonly had the burden of marriage payments falling to the groom’s side. Ed. Also in pre-Christian Europe, in Celtic, Slavic and Germanic tribes, many had multiple spouses. In England, the policy of dowry-giving appears to have become the norm (as seen in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice") after ca 1250.
- Marriage, and "official" church groups, in modern Israel
- Marriages and Betrothals (Engagements) in UK and Australia
- Betrothal:The words "Till death us do part, I plight (or plait, pledge) to thee my troth (truth, loyalty faithfulness)" while taking each other by the right hand (handfasting) were apparently the common vows in England and Scotland. Banns (proclamation), Marriage and a Church registration were available for those who then wanted the contract registered and sanctified (set apart) to God, though there was no legal requirement. Marriages were conducted by Latin-speaking priests prior to Queen Elizabeth I's reign (in 1558), English-speaking priests normally after 1558 though Latin continued in the Church of Scotland.
The minimum age for the contract could be as low as 12 for girls, following a statement in 1275 by Edward I regarding a minimum age for sexual relations. Parental consent was expected particularly in England more so than in Scotland for it to be accepted by the community at such a young age. Note, there was no formal church registration requirement, and prior to the 1600s, worldwide records are few and far between, except for royalty and noblemen eg China's Confucius line. It has made life very difficult for historians.
- In 1753 the Marriage Act in England was formalised, legal rules were tightened considerably, and the minimum age (without parental consent) was set at 21. Marriage could only be performed in a Church of England (with the bishop's permission), a Jewish temple (with the rabbi's permission), or in a Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) ceremony (with the minister's permission). In 1836 many more denominations and groups were admitted, with the Latin speaking Catholic Church finally receiving official approval in England (and Australia) in 1850.
- On 1st January 1901 in NSW and Queensland it became an offence for a child to have sexual relations before the age of 16. It followed a similar Act passed in the UK in 1885. Click here for Age of Consent laws in Australian states and in countries worldwide.
- In 1929 in the UK the minimum legal age for marriage was raised to 16.
- In 1942 in Tasmania, the minimum legal age for marriage for men was raised to 18.
- In 1961 in Australian Federal law this was formalized throughout Australia. Only under exceptional conditions, sanctioned by a judge, could a marriageable age be lowered to 16 for men (and to 14 for women).
In 1991 the minimum legal age for marriage for women was then raised to 18, with a judge's sanction required to lower the age to 16.
- With regards to having sex before the age of 18 with an older "guardian" figure, many of the mainland Australian states have made it an indictable offence — NSW (which included ACT) in 1900, WA in 1913, SA in 1935, Victoria in 1958, NT in 2014 click here for further details.
- In 1987 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, 18 became the new minimum age no longer requiring parental consent.
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