We must conclude, therefore, that the writ in general and the marriage writ in particular are not original Jewish institutions. Originally they belong to Babylonia, mother of commerce and commercial deeds in antiquity. Jewish contact was necessary to introduce the writ in Judea. This contact came about in a political and commercial way during the last century of the first Commonwealth, and with it came the adoption of the ketubah, among other writs, by the Jews. (Rabbi Dr. Louis M. Epstein, The Jewish marriage contract: a study in the status of the woman in Jewish law, p.31)
Christians Embrace a Jewish Wedding Tradition
SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN - New York Times
February 11, 2011
In a San Antonio chapel last August, after reciting their wedding vows and exchanging their rings, Sally and Mark Austin prepared to receive communion for the first time as husband and wife. Just before they did, their minister asked them to sign a document. It was a ketubah, a traditional Jewish marriage contract.
The Austins’ was not an interfaith marriage. Nor was their ceremony some sort of multicultural mashup. Both Sally and Mark are evangelical Christians, members of Oak Hills Church, a nationally known megachurch. They were using the ketubah as a way of affirming the Jewish roots of their faith.
In so doing, the Austins are part of a growing phenomenon of non-Jews incorporating the ketubah, a document with millennia-old origins and a rich artistic history, into their weddings. Mrs. Austin, in fact, first learned about the ketubah from her older sister, also an evangelical Christian, who had been married five years earlier with not only a ketubah but the Judaic wedding canopy, the huppah.
“Embracing this Jewish tradition just brings a richness that we miss out on sometimes as Christians when we don’t know the history,” said Mrs. Austin, 29, a business manager for AT&T. “Jesus was Jewish, and we appreciate his culture, where he came from.”
Beyond its specific basis in Judaism, the ketubah represented to the Austins a broader concept of holiness, of consecration. “We wanted a permanent reminder of the covenant we made with God,” Mrs. Austin said. “We see this document superseding the marriage license of a state or a court.”