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Biblical laws and themes


The Ten Commandments: Many
topics, viewpoints & interpretations

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  • "Only 68 of 200 Anglican priests polled could name all Ten Commandments, but half said they believed in space aliens." 1

  • "Concerning the Ten Commandments in courthouses and legislatures: You cannot post 'Thou Shalt Not Steal,' 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery,' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians...It creates a hostile work environment." 2

We apologize to anyone who is offended by either of the above quotations. We simply couldn't resist posting them.

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About the Ten Commandments:

This section deals with the Ten Commandments (a.k.a. Decalogue) which appears in three separate locations in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). These have historically been accepted by Judaism, Christianity and Islam as a summary of the most important rules of behavior that God expects of humanity.

There is considerable debate in the U.S. whether the Decalogue should be posted in public schools, public parks, government offices, etc, and under which circumstances posting is constitutional. 

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Topics covered in this section:

About the Ten Commandments

bulletOverview of the Ten Commandments: What they are; Legal challenges concerning their display in public property
bulletText of the Ten Commandments: The three versions; grouping the commandments.
bulletWho wrote the Ten Commandments?
bulletPossible origin of the Ten Commandments
bulletWhat they are and who they are for
bulletAnalysis of the individual commandments:
bulletCommandments 1 to 5
bulletDetailed analysis of the second commandment
bulletCommandments 6 to 10
bulletComparison of Qur'an verses with the Hebrew Scriptures' Ten Commandments
bulletCurrent status: Comparison with current moral codes; are they being followed? Do they need changing? Public knowledge. Opinion survey.
bulletModern versions of (& replacements for) the Ten Commandments

bulletMore rewrites; Alternative guides to good behavior

Problems relating to the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools, public parks, etc.

bulletLegal and constitutional aspects
bullet2005 cases (Kentucky & Texas) before the U.S. Supreme Court
bulletThe Ten Commandment monument project of the Fraternal Order of Eagles
bulletPosting the Decalogue in public schools: pros and cons
bulletA tongue-in-cheek discussion of their posting
bulletThe "Chief Justice Moore case" in Alabama
bulletExactly what is involved in this case?
bulletHow the conflict could have been resolved legally
bulletPart 1: events from 2001 to 2003-JUL-31
bulletPart 2: 2003-AUG-1 to AUG-22
bulletPart 3: 2003-AUG-23 to DEC-31
bulletPart 4: 2004-JAN-01 to present time
bulletDisplay of the "Seven Aphorisms" by Summum -- a UT religious group
bullet An essay by Rabbi Allen S. Maller: "God's commandment against religious extremism"
bulletMore legal and other developments concerning posting the Decalogue:
bullet2005 to now

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Related essays on this website:

bulletLocal church/state conflicts
bulletThe Istook Constitutional Amendment
bulletPrayer in the public schools

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Internet sites featuring images of the Ten Commandments:

bulletA 8" x 12" (about 20 x 30 cm) tile containing the Ten Commandments in Hebrew and English is available in Blue and Cream at: http://www.ariustile.com/ariuscatalog/it030009.htm
bulletThe Ten Commandments in a number of world languages (Arabic. Cebuano. Chinese Simplified. Chinese Traditional. Croatian. Czech. English. Danish. Dutch. Finnish...) were available at http://www.thetencommandments.org Unfortunately, this is at least temporarily unavailable.
bulletA simplified version of the Ten Commandments, in the form of a bumper sticker, is available at: http://www.well.com/ It paraphrases a saying by Jesus:

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Useful References:

bullet Books:
bulletP.N. Benware, "Survey of the Old Testament", Moody Press, Chicago IL, (1993) Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
bulletC.M. Laymon, Editor, The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible, Abingdon Press, Nashville TN (1971), Pages 53 to 55 & 122.
bulletJohn Shelby Spong, "Beyond Moralism: A Contemporary view of the Ten Commandments," Saint Johann Press, (2000). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
bulletInternet sites:
bulletAlan M. Dershowitz, "Ten Commandments Aren't Gun Control Politics: Religion isn't a constitutionally acceptable alternative," Los Angeles Times, 1999-JUN-20. See:
bulletJ.S. Spong, "Why Christianity must change or die," Harper Collins (1998), Page 154. Read over 70 reviews or order this book
bullet"Misreading Moses: Why the Ten Commandments are out of Style," Christian Week, editorial, 1997-MAR-4.  http://www.christianweek.org/
bulletYahoo has hyperlinks to over 10 essays on the Decalog at: http://dir.yahoo.com/
bulletRonald Youngblood, "Counting the Ten Commandments," Biblical Review, 1994-DEC. See: http://www.bib-arch.org/
bullet"Promote the Ten Commandments," is a pro-life web site that supplies many essays about the Decalogue from a conservative Christian viewpoint: why they should be displayed, latest news, what does the Bible say, etc. The website advertizes many products for sale: T-shirts, bumper stickers, car magnets, decals, etc. See: http://www.ten-commandments.us/

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Books on the Ten Commandments, as listed by Amazon.com's book store:

If you see a generic ad below, please click on your browser's refresh icon to get a list of books:

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References used:

  1. Randy Cassingham, This is True, 1997-FEB-02, at: http://www.thisistrue.com/ It is based on a UPI article. The full UPI quotation is:
    "A survey of Anglican vicars in Britain found that while some don't believe in heaven, more than half believe in life on other planets. Worse, only 68 of the 200 surveyed could name all 10 of the Bible's Ten Commandments. The only two that were almost universally remembered were the ones about adultery and coveting thy neighbor's wife; both are no-nos."

    Although the quotation may seem shocking, being asked to recite each and every commandment is a challenging question.

  2. From an unsolicited Email, 2008-MAR-04.

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Copyright © 1999 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2014-AUG-24
Author: B.A. Robinson

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