Throughout history the definition of "Marriage" has frequently included a man with more than one wife. Even when monogamy was instituted by law and/or culture in certain areas it was common for these "monogamous" men to have mistresses, which under different circumstances would have most certainly become their wives as well.
I just came across an interesting book by Edward Westermarck defining marriage in the 1922 edition of The History of Human Marriage on page 26 as:
"MARRIAGE is generally used as a term for a social institution. As such it may be defined as a relation of one or more men to one or more women which is recognized by custom or law and involves certain rights and duties both in the case of the parties entering the union and in the case of the children born of it."
Downloadable at: http://books.google.com/books?id=UigZAA … &q&f=false
Josephus, late in the first century, states "for it is the ancient practice among us to have many wives at the same time." in "The Antiquities of the Jews" volume 17 chapter 1.
"it is" is present tense meaning that it was being currently practiced when Josephus wrote this late in the first century. "the ancient practice" indicates that it was nothing new and had been practiced throughout known history.
Along with other extra biblical evidence that polygyny was commonly practiced how is it that polygyny is thought of as anything but biblical?
Why is it that polygyny is not recognized as marriage based on the fact that it was the custom and part of the culture? Clearly without the interference of other cultures this would still be a common practice today and be considered a cultural norm. Is this not a valid argument for the legalization of polygyny?…
Keywords: [tag]marriage[/tag], [tag]polygyny[/tag], [tag]defining[/tag], [tag]history[/tag]
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