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The Postmodern Catholic

Unit IVA The Decalogue
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The Decalogue

One of the most influential documents ever in Western history

Has become a foundation of morality not just for Jews but for many throughout Western civilization

The Covenant at Sinai

Patterned on ancient Hittite treaties that outlined the relationship and responsibilities of the ruler (suzerains), and vassals (lesser rulers)

More than a law code; it outlines a way of life

Yahweh did not just demand animal sacrifice

He desired a "loving response" from his people

The Decalogue is seen as a "gift from God"

The Decalogue (The Ten Things)

Found in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 6: 4-9)

1. I am the Lord thy God, you shall have no false gods before me

2. You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain

3. Keep holy the Sabbath

4. Honor your mother and father

5. You shall not kill (more accurately, murder)

6. You shall not commit adultery

7. You shall not steal

8. You shall not bear false witness

9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife

10. You shall not covet your neighbors goods

Breakdown of the Decalogue

Commandments 1-3; deal with our relationship with God

Commandments 4-10 deal with our relationship with each other

What was revolutionary about Jewish ethical monotheism was that it claimed God was honored when we honor each other (your neighbor)

Our Relationship With G-d: 1-3

1st: I am your G-d, don’t have false gods: idols come in many forms: money, sex, power, self: they are dangerous because they can become more important than G-d

2nd: don’t use G-d’s name in vain or for malicious intentions: it lessens G-d’s sacredness and cuts you off from your True Self, the Christ Within

3rd: Keep the Sabbath: reminds us to slow down and honor G-d’s creation regularly. Too often we dishonor and do violence to our world and self because we fail to stop and give gratitude to G-d and His gift of Creation that continues around us and in us

Our Relationship to Each other: 4-10

4th: Honor Mom and Dad: also applies to honoring the older generations; honoring authority; warns against excessively undermining authority for one’s own benefit or pleasure

5th: Don’t Murder: beyond the obvious, the 5th commandment warns against all forms of destroying something unjustly or for one’s own convenience or pleasure: included is murdering/killing one’s reputation

6th: don’t commit adultery: to engage in sexual relations with someone supposedly committed to another is to undermine the relationship not just between the partners and their spouses and families, but also it promotes violence and distrust among wider society

7th: Don’t steal: also includes stealing people’s time (by not working hard); their piece of mind (by doing things that frighten and worry those who care about you)? Others?

 

8th: Don’t undermine your neighbors image, reputation, etc.: whether through gossip, slander. Again, it weakens the basic interpersonal relationships necessary for a peaceful society

9th: Don’t desire those committed to another: leads to temptation and sin and to violating the peace and dignity of others

10th: Don’t be envious of other’s possessions: it leads to bitterness and resentment and weakens your ability to be in community with others

Assignments

20 pt. quiz on the Ten Commandments. Memorize, in order

10 Commandments Assignment: Do a power-point presentation: find appropriate clip art from the web illustrating the points covered in the notes on 10C’s

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D. “The more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes” to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone” Thomas Merton