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The Ten Commandments: A Short History of an Ancient Text

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  17 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
The complex and surprising history of one of the world’s most famous texts

In this lively and provocative book, Michael Coogan guides readers into the ancient past to examine the iconic Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue. How, among all the laws reportedly given on Mount Sinai, did the Ten Commandments become the Ten Commandments? When did that happen? There are
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Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Yale University Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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Melanie Moreau
Jun 05, 2014 Melanie Moreau rated it it was ok
Shelves: lucky-reads
I have mixed feelings about this book. While there is no doubt that Mr. Coogan is a great scholar and his information on the history of the Decalogue is sound. I feel that he has down-played the role of Christian faith in America and how deep that can run with some people. He is obviously (as stated) against displaying the Commandments in public squares, however, I believe that if we were founded on certain principles, which we were, we should embrace them.

Take into consideration the current sta
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Fred Kohn
Jan 01, 2015 Fred Kohn rated it it was ok
I felt bad rating this book so low; there is certainly nothing ghastly about it. My main disappointment is that although the author did a great job of tracing the original history of the decalogue, and a reasonable job of reconstructing the N.T. author's likely attitude towards it, he then immediately jumped into a discussion of how we ought to view the decalogue today. Surely he could have squeezed a chapter or two tracing the development of Christian attitude towards the decalogue in the ...more
Sarah(All The Book Blog Names Are Taken)
Religious texts can sometimes be dense, but this was an interesting and easy read. I guess I've never noticed before just how different the commandments appear in various forms throughout the Bible.

I find myself sharing many of the same views as the author. While I am a Christian, I don't necessarily agree either with displaying the commandments. As we were a nation founded with the idea of separation of church and state in mind, it seems fitting that one religion should not be given preference
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Margaret Sankey
Feb 26, 2015 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
Solid examination of the three texts from which the Ten Commandments are drawn, placing them in linguistic, legal and political context (essentially as a treaty between a deity and the people) and the problems of displaying a heavily edited, badly translated cherry picked version in public places.
Steve
Jun 09, 2014 Steve rated it liked it
Some useful information and analysis on the different versions of the Decalogue in Exodus and Deuteronomy, and how various Jewish and Christian traditions divide the commandments. Other than that not much substance here.
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Michael Coogan is Director of Publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum and Professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College. For several decades, he has taught an introductory course on the Hebrew Scriptures at Harvard University, as well as at Wellesley College, Boston College, and Stonehill College. One of the leading biblical scholars in the United States, he is the author of The Old ...more
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