The Ten Commandments
in Medieval and Early Modern Culture
As the teacher would go through each Commandment
, I was awed by the great responsibility of obeying.
The Catholic version also omits entirely the commandment
against making idols, and it breaks the admonishment against coveting into two separate commandments
It is true, of course, that the gross idolatry of heathen religious worship found in the second part of the First Commandment
, is not a very dangerous temptation to modern Christians.
However, we already have the 11th commandment
, and today is its anniversary.
The helplessness of the Western world in the face of death is apparent in the contributions under the commandment
"Thou shalt not kill"--lurid photographs by Taryn Simon (of a woman whose leg was lost in a suicide attempt) and Adam McEwen (a notorious image of the dead Mussolini, but upside down).
Because the Commandments
are widely recognized as a baseline for moral living, it's no wonder skirmishes are fought now and then about posting them publicly, even in a country that historically separates church and state.
, "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Prose," isn't about plagiarism: it's about the impulse to mimic the style of writers we like.
The first commandment
(by the usual Protestant numbering) says we should "have no other gods before" Yahweh, the God who helped the Israelites escape from Egypt.
A small brick patio containing a few benches, a fountain, and a large marble rendering of the Ten Commandment
tablets, serves as a "prayer garden.
Another important difference is in the commandment
regarding the sabbath.
In his own words, Freedman's thesis is this: "Hidden in the Bible is a previously unrecognized pattern of commandment
violations, a pattern that has gone undetected for more than two thousand years.
Focus on the bottom line at least as much as on the top line: The first commandment
is the most important and, in many ways, the most perplexing.
To begin, the First Commandment
for Jews is traditionally, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
For example, will the Republican majority in Congress be able to impose the death penalty for new federal offenses when all House Republicans but four have already endorsed the Sixth Commandment
, "Thou Shalt Not Kill"?