Talk:Ten Commandments

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Former good article nominee Ten Commandments was a Philosophy and religion good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Good Article Nominee (GAN)[edit]

A good article is—

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    3. it contains no original research.
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Wikipedia:Good_article_criteria


— Preceding unsigned comment added by Telpardec (talkcontribs) 19:15, 24 December 2011‎ (UTC)

Appreciation for some fine editing[edit]

This is a little late, but I'd like to thank Jfhutson for some extensive reorganizing and editing back in August and September, merging the old "Importance within Judaism and Christianity" section into the "Religious interpretations" section. I had noticed the duplications between these sections (I'm partly responsible for them), and every time I looked at what would be involved in merging them, I felt, "Yecch, what a mess!" Jfhutson put all the previously scattered pieces together to make a coherent article, taking care to keep the text an accurate summary of the sources and adding even more properly sourced information. And thanks to all the people who've been monitoring this page for years, paring away the bad edits, keeping the good, and gradually accumulating better and better information. When I first took a look at this article in 2011, I noticed that it had actually gotten much worse over the years, previously peaking in quality several years ago, then getting degraded by a lot of apparently ideologically motivated WP:SOAPBOX edits and technicalities that aren't salient enough for an encyclopedic summary. I think the version I see today is the best in the article's entire history. Good article status is starting to look like it's within reach. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 23:38, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

I think this artricle is far from a "good article", because I it is wrtten from a religous POV. How did the 10C come to us? This article would have us believe that the best understanding is that it came from God, given to Moses. Never mind that the article grabs one sentence from one book of the bible, one from the next, to tell the story (because a consecutive narative would paint a less consistent picture); and never telling us how its good and proper to cobble together a narrative so. Never mind that the journey in which the 10C were said to be delivered NEVER TOOK PLACE, according to our best understanding of archeology. Never mind any linguistic research that could be enlightening, such as you'd find in articles about other religous subject.
And then, there is the lack of any critism of the 10C which aren't to hard to find and document (but much harder to get included, I've found), namely
-the first few have NOTHING to do with morality, only piety
-It is addressed to male properly owners
-Its lack of economy and focus (ban on Idols, severl lines about coveting, not a one agianst slavery, genocide, child abuse).
Its fine that the religous can say what they think about the 10C, but, for this to be a good arcticle, it has to have some more objective content. Steve kap (talk) 00:41, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Steve, I think you raise a good point about the article's lack of criticism of the 10C. Can you recommend a good source to summarize? Regarding the religious POV, I disagree, but I also see a few things that need to get fixed. We have a section on scholarship about who wrote the 10C, when, and building upon what previous traditions and laws. And the section on the Bible story of the origin of the 10C is just a summary of a story, and mentions things like "According to Jewish tradition…" However, the titles of these sections are not very clear: "Critical historical analysis" and "The revelation at Sinai". I could see how the latter title could invite interpretation as a religious POV. The summary of the story could be written a lot better, as a summary rather than with so many quotations, and I'm sure modern scholarship has some interesting things to say about that story. I'll retitle that section right now. Rewriting that section will take more work: finding a few good sources, reading them, and summarizing them. Are you ready to hit the books? —Ben Kovitz (talk) 13:46, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

I thing the section title edit is title is an improvement. I don't question that what's parented is the accepted story. One thing I find interning, thu, do you notice how this narrative has to be rendered by jumping around Exudus, skipping some whole sections (the RD) then skipping to Deuteronomy? This can be best explained by the documentary hypothesis , which is by far the accepted theory of non religious biblical scholars to explain the composition of the first 5 books of the bible.

I can give sources for general critism of the 10c next time... But maybe should be its own section of talk page?108.69.52.251 (talk) 01:26, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

It sounds like there's interesting scholarly opinion about the story's jumping around in Exodus and Deuteronomy. If so, we should summarize it. Can you recommend a source? Or how'd you like to summarize it yourself? Regarding talk pages, they're only for discussing edits to make to the article page. However, if you'd like to list the main facts about the jumping around of the story within the text, along with sources, that could be fruitful to put on the talk page. I expect that a good way to organize these new facts will become clear after we know what these facts are. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 01:49, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, how the narrative, in this article, got to be the way it is, creating a narrative by weaving together one verse of one book of the bible, one verse from another.. that’s NOT a matter of scholarly debate, that’s just a function of the activity on this page! How the bible got to be the way that it is; telling the same story 2, 3 times, with variations, and jumbling things up, which OBLIGES the religious (I’m including the 10C WP editors in this) to do this weaving, to get a coherent story, that IS a matter of some study, and well documented.
See the WP article on the Documentary Hypothesis. It is (at least in some form), the accept theory (at least of the non-religious) for this condition. See the ref to the 10 commandments under “duplets”. Then go to any online DH annotated bible on the web, to see which of the 10C where “J”, “P”, or “R”. Do I want to try a summary? No, it would be reverted (backed up by and edit war) faster than you could say Jack Robinson. Steve kap (talk) 22:00, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Ten Commandments are "fundamental"[edit]

BenKovitz has been making a change which removes attribution from a claim that the ten commandments are "fundamental". The ten commandments are not "fundamental" to everyone (not blaspheming is certainly not fundamental to an atheist), so we can't say something like "Because they are fundamental..." in wikipedia's voice. Attribution solves this problem because it contextualizes the claim within an individual's opinion. As I explained in edit summaries, we can also contextualize it within "Christianity" if there is scholarly consensus that Huffmon's opinion is the mainstream view (I don't doubt that it is, but I don't know). But we cannot simply state this in wikipedia's voice.   — Jess· Δ 02:35, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for starting this section, Jess. Here's the edit in question for anyone else interested. I don't believe that Huffmon is a significant player in some sort of controversy. His article just summarizes scholarly consensus about the position of the Ten Commandments within the rest of Judeo-Christian theology and law. If that's correct, giving him in-text attribution violates WP:INTEXT. As I understand your reason for wanting attribution, it's to prevent the interpretation that the fundamentalness of the 10C is recognized by everybody, including atheists and people of non-Abrahamic religions. I think this is more clearly resolved by context than by in-text attribution: the sentence in question appears at the start of a section titled "Religious significance". The first sentence of the section qualifies "fundamental" with "in both Judaism and Christianity". I'd hate to see us add a qualifier like that everywhere we say "fundamental"; at some point, wordiness becomes a sort of argumentativeness. Do you think the context resolves the ambiguity, or can you propose another way? (There may yet be still better ways to word that paragraph that neither of us has explored.) —Ben Kovitz (talk) 02:56, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
If there is a person that knows God’s mind so well, such that he can tell us why He wrote the 10C in such a way as he did, I think our readers would like to know who that is! I think they might also like to know how “thou shalt not make thee graven images” is intended to be a general statement, accessible to growth and revision, and not the overly specific, irrelevant, utterly useless injunction that it seems. Steve kap (talk) 00:44, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Any Christian born of the Spirit will surely testify that the Ten Commandments are fundamental truths and the basis of morality. Our knowledge of this is integral to God's New Covenant which, as the Bible says, is whereby God's laws are no longer written on tablets of stone but written in the hearts of his people. Since non-Christians have neither believe in this New Covenant nor have received it, to them these holy Commandments (and indeed all scripture) seems largely meaningless or irrelevant. This is compounded by the fact that most people love their sin too much to admit they are lawbreakers, and so ridicule the law instead. But for the purposes of editing an article that speaks of what Christians believe, all you need to know is simply that TO US all ten Commandments make perfect sense, are in the correct order of importance, nor are any missing, nor are there any higher moral laws. That is all you need to know, unless you are seeking to know and understand God's truth for yourself, in which case there is only one name by which anyone can find truth. If anyone should have been able to understand the Law of Moses it was Paul of Tarsus, a zealous student of the highest scholarly excellence—yet prior to his encounter with Jesus, he was blind, and thought Christians were stupid. Grand Dizzy (talk) 20:50, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the sermon...Wikipedia is edited and read by people of all religions and those of no faith at all, neutrality is required. Theroadislong (talk) 20:59, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
I was merely responding to the poster above me. He seems to be of the opinion that since most people do not value the Ten Commandments as wise or relevant then our encyclopedia should not purport that ANYONE values the Ten Commandments. It is surprising that you would criticise me and not him.Grand Dizzy (talk) 21:28, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
To be fair, I only critized 1 of the 10C, and I didn't purport that not ANYONE valued the 10C, I was only talking for myself, and only about that one. And only to the extent that it was rather specific, were as the article indicated that they were general. Steve kap (talk) 00:44, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
The gist of the two sources we cite about this is: the 10C are about fundamental matters that apply universally, across changing circumstances, so they have to be written in a way that calls for varying, thoughtful interpretation rather than simple application of rules. In this respect, they are different from most other Biblical laws. The Huffmon article covers a lot of other scholarship about this, but it doesn't seem to me like a great leap in logic to infer that statements of fundamental principles have to be somewhat vague and not spell out every detail clearly. This doesn't require reading God's mind, and it doesn't even assume that God wrote the 10C. I'm sure it could be worded more clearly than what we have (I mean, in addition to removing the mention of Huffmon), but the gist of it seems pretty well established. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 21:43, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
interesting...so..the sources say that, because they MUST be written in a way that calls for " varying, thoughtful interpretation " then therefore they in fact ARE written in that way. Do the sources attempt to square that with the specificity of the actual text? After all, they don't just say ' don't covet', they tell us specifically WHAT not to covet (including the women with the cattle btw). Are we sure these sourest represent the best of our knowledge? Steve kap (talk) 23:57, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
I am not a religious scholar, but the sources look pretty good to me. I chose the Huffmon article because it addresses the matter of fundamentality directly and thoroughly, it summarizes a lot of other scholarship about this, and it agrees with the other scholarly sources that I looked at. From my (admittedly amateur) survey of the literature, it appears to me that this point about the 10C being fundamental principles (with the attendant vagueness, lack of specified punishments, difference in form from other commandments, etc.) has been hammered on for well over a thousand years. I'm not aware of any controversy about it. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 13:22, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

I'm no expert either . As non export editors, I think our role is to judge impartiality or bias in the sources offered. When you read, for example "don't bare false witness". ... Not just 'don't make false statements' or 'don't deceive' but specifically 'false witness' Does it seem general to you? Or needlessly over specific? Same for specifying what you shouldn't covet (including women as property, I'm giving up on this).. General? Really? So, are these sources non-bias? Are there other schools of thought? Steve kap (talk) 01:39, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, I don't understand your point. Are you exploring a tangent about something other than whether the 10C are worded somewhat vaguely because they're fundamental principles rather than specific rules? —Ben Kovitz (talk) 01:43, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
No tangent, I'm just calling the nuetrality of the sources in question. These sources, apparently, are telling us that the commandents are somewhat vague. I'm pointing out that they are mind numbingly specific, hence the "don't bare false witness" instead of "don't deceive", the VERY SPEFIC things to NOT covet, rather than just saying 'don't covet', the very specfic GRAVEN images rather than idolity in general. That was my point Steve kap (talk) 21:22, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
OK, thanks, now I understand. My reading of the sources is that religious scholarship for a very long time has taken the 10C as enunciating timeless, fundamental principles which require more thoughtful and varied interpretation than other "commandments" in the Bible. For example, "graven image" is taken to mean idols generally; some traditions have taken it to prohibit even pictures of saints. Jewish tradition takes "don't bear false witness" as a principle of law; Christian traditions have usually interpreted it more broadly (for example, here). You might disagree with these interpretations, but this is how the various religious traditions have interpreted the 10C. I invite you to read the entire "Religious interpretations" section. It runs through an amazing number of ways that different religious traditions have regarded the 10C as articulating principles that are more fundamental than most of the rest of the Bible. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 23:44, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, that’s fine, if the statement was “..although the wording of the commandments tend to be quit specific, nonetheless, religious scholars and traditions tell us we should allow for varying interpretation”. But that’s not what was presented. What’s presented is “.. the Ten Commandments ARE written with room for varying interpretation”. In other words, I’m claiming there has been no evidence/sources that say that the commandants ARE written in a general manner, only sources that express a WHISH or a NEED to interpret them generally, that they SHOULD BE interpreted generally, not that they logically CAN BE interpreted generally. Big difference that, it’s the difference between a whish and reality. Steve kap (talk) 16:45, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
Also, your understanding "...10C as enunciating timeless, fundamental principles..." is directly warned against in "The Hebrew Bible Today.." source. "..they should be seen in the context of the ancient world, and not too quickly modernized.." It goes on to explain that the mistaken overgeneralization of 'no gods before me ' and 'don't take the name in vain', as well as saying that it is a mistake to understand the 10C as particularly universal or timeless, in relation to the other edicts of the bible. S KAP 108.69.52.251 (talk) 23:04, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
The title of the section is "Religious interpretations". It explains what Judaism and Christianity make of the 10C: the 10C's role within those religions. The first half of the sentence you quoted from is "The Ten Commandments continue to have a special status in both Judaism and Christianity." The "warning" is about misinterpreting them by treating their words in their modern meanings (as you seem to have done in a few comments above). There is a note a few sentences later that the 10C aren't really more universal and timeless than other Old Testament laws, but that's not their religious interpretation.Ben Kovitz (talk) 00:25, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
No,no, your missing the point, you DO have sources that say the 10c should be understood in a more general, universal, way, You DONT have sources that say the 10c are WRITTEN generally, If the article said that they should be understood generally, (as to make them more universal, more relevant , I'd are, that does seem to be the religious interpretation, I'd have no objection to that. Steve kap (talk) 04:07, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually, the sources do say that the 10C are written in a different style from other Biblical commandments, reflecting their role as a summary of principles. The article explains some of the peculiarities of their writing style. The Huffmon article is quite explicit about the connection between the writing style and the 10C stating fundamental principles. That the 10C are written in a peculiar, summary style is actually not a matter of religious interpretation. It has been repeatedly pointed out for centuries. It would be a serious mistake to omit it from our article, and I think the introductory paragraphs of the "Religious interpretations" section are the ideal place to include it—that is, before going into detail about the 10C's many varied interpretations in different times, places, and religions. Actually, there is one more fact about the writing style that gets a lot of attention in the sources: the relative numbers of words spent on secular vs. religious matters (26 vs. 146). This should go in the article, too. I haven't yet found a source that clearly establishes its significance, though. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 17:02, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
I still think that your not getting it. I think that you might be so used to an assumption that you don't even realize that it is an assumption. To say they are written in a different style, we'll, yes, so it has been said...to say they are fundamental, we'll, yes, many consider them so. But to say they are written in a general manner, that's something your sources that your sources haven't said. I can see how one would think that general principles should be written to be more general than the 10c as written, but unfortunately they are exactly as specific as they are . What's going on her is called shoehorning, it would be nice if x was so, therefore x is so. As to the assertion that it not only a religious opinion, but an accepted fact, that the 10c are written in the style you describe, there is just no evidence of this; how could such a statement possible be true? I'd think that most scholars would instead make the point that there is ambiguity on even what the 10c are, when they start and stop, some reference ref to 2 set, some 3, including the later(34?) Exudus version.----

I was asked to comment again (sorry for the delay), but I'm not really sure what to comment on. I don't recall having objections to the content in general (though I haven't looked at it for a while). IIRC, my objection was that attribution was removed for a statement made from a Christian pov. As this is a secular encyclopedia, we can't do that. These would all be fine:

  • Christians consider the 10c to be fundamental
  • Abrahamic religious traditionally view the 10c as central to their doctrine
  • John Smith argues that, since the 10c are fundamental to Chrisianity...
  • The 10c are viewed as foundational principles among Abrahamic religions.
  • Since the 10c are fundamental principles to Christians...

This is not fine:

  • Since the 10c are fundamental principles,...

Blaspheming, idolatry, keeping the Sabbath, and so on are only fundamental within a religious context, so we must establish that context.   — Jess· Δ 21:44, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Jess, would you please address the point I made in the second paragraph of this section, that the religious context is already established? Try reading the sentence in its context in the article. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 23:15, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
You're right. Context is sufficiently established in the first paragraph, which wasn't as obvious to me just looking at the changed snippet. We don't need to say "...among Christians" there. Going back to the original diff, my only remaining concerns are style and weight: "are written" vs "were written", and "fundamental what?" Are you sure that Huffmon's ideas are the significant majority? I hadn't heard them until reading this article (whatever that's worth). I don't doubt that Judaism and Christianity see the 10c as really important, but to say they are foundational to everything else in the way Huffmon does is a different claim. So is the idea that they leave room for interpretation intentionally; I've often seen the opposite claimed (again, whatever my experiences can tell us). Would something like this work?:
(emphasis on changes). If his opinion really is in the significant majority (as in, there does not exist any great controversy), then we could avoid attributing altogether. Do we have another strong source which supports his ideas independently?   — Jess· Δ 03:16, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for having a closer look and forming a fresh opinion. Regarding sources, the article currently cites two sources for the claim that the 10C are written somewhat vaguely because they're fundamental: Huffmon and Barclay, both of which I take to be pretty strong sources (plus the fact that it's just common sense that statements of fundamental principles necessarily omit details and specific applications). I haven't come across other sources that make this point so explicitly. Usually it's left to implication. For example, "[The 10C] are intended as a summation of the most basic principles of Israelite religion and ethics." (John van Seters, in The Hebrew Bible Today: An Introduction to Critical Issues). "The Decalogue is not viewed in Judaic thought as the definitive statement of the divine law, but rather as a series of statements reflecting its quintessence. … From the standpoint of serving as a comprehensive guide to practice, the [other 603, more-specific commandments are] considered of far greater importance than the Decalogue. Understood in this manner, the Decalogue may be considered as a scriptural device for distilling a large number of elements of the Mosaic law into a convenient statement of root principles. From the rabbinic standpoint, it would be difficult to accept the notion that the Decalogue represents anything more than this." (Martin Sicker, The Ten Commandments: Background, Meaning, and Implications) The point about the 10C not specifying punishments for their violation appears in many sources. See also the quotations in the Huffmon article: stuff like "the outer limits of the covenant".—Ben Kovitz (talk) 08:54, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

It's been a month, and it looks like Huffmon is not a player in a controversy here, nor is there a controversy. So, I just rewrote the sentence in question to omit mentioning him, per WP:INTEXT. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 17:22, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

It been months of you not addressing the points made, that's not the same as agreement. I read your sources, none of them say the 10c are written in a way to given rise to them rightly being interpreted generally, only that they HAVE been interpreted generally. Those are very different statements. Steve kap (talk) 08:09, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
You made the statement that your sources said that the 10c were worded somewhat vaguely, point out where you read this, and we can debate this this a common reference frame, Steve kap (talk) 08:19, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
I believe that I've addressed your points, including this latest one, with specific facts and with sources. If you still think there's a problem, please address a specific fact that I've brought up. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 16:34, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't think we can cite Huffmon as fact. It is an opinion/view that should be attributed to its proponent. At the same time, I don't like the present version, because if I wanted to present a fundamental idea I would want it to be as unambiguously as possible. Can I propose this: "Hebert Huffmon writes that the Ten Commandments have room for varying interpretations, reflecting their role as a summary of fundamental principles.[ref]" Perhaps we need to explain to the reader that Huffmon is Professor of Old Testament at Drew University,[1] because he has no Wikipedia article and we might otherwise not know why he might be an authority on the subject. JFW | T@lk 10:42, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
I've supplied some sources in the discussion above. Those sources aren't absolutely conclusive, but at this point, I think the burden of proof is on the claim that there's a controversy. If you can bring up evidence of a scholarly controversy, the specifics should suggest a good way to cover it in the article.
I think that mentioning Huffmon explicitly in the article as it now stands is bad writing, since, as you point out, Huffmon is not a well-known name (regardless of whether there is a controversy). How about this? Until someone comes up with sources establishing that there is a scholarly controversy about whether the 10C are written in an unusual style reflecting their role as a summary of fundamental principles, we leave Huffmon out?
About presenting a fundamental idea as unambiguously as possible, the sources definitely say that that's not how the 10C are written. Please have a look at the sources I've cited above and see what you think.
Ben Kovitz (talk) 16:34, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
To JFW, I don't object to citing Huffmon as the article stands now. And I'd be OK if we were to get rid to the Huffmon inline citation IF the statement were like "the 10c are broadly interpreted as general principals ", which I think can be supported, in a religious interpretation context. My objection is to state, as a generally agreed upon idea, that the 10c are written vaguely, to give rise to a more general interpretation, because I think this is more that has been supported. To BenKovitz, 'I believe I have...', thats fine, but convincing yourself is not the measure. I repeat, point out WERE in your reference ref to the 10C as being written in a vague manner, and I'll know where you are coming from. (SteveKap) 108.69.52.251 (talk) 20:43, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
Man! I've given page numbers, quotations, and URLs. C'mon, Steve, aren't you willing to do any work? Here's a little more. Huffmon says in his first paragraph, "…[T]hese verses are far from transparent. … [T]heir character as a kind of fundamental code sketching the basic directions (not supplying positive law) for the faithful community is widely acknowledged." In the second paragraph, he talks about how any fundamental code has to be ambiguous because it can't explicitly cover everything. The 10C only hits the "maximal" stuff, not the details. He spends the rest of the article using the "name in vain" commandment to illustrate the point about ambiguity and fundamentality. "As [the variations in translations] indicate, the third commandment can be interpreted broadly, excluding a rather wide range of varieties of God's name, whether more or less serious. Or it can be interpreted more narrowly, focusing on a more specific kind of misuse."
Anyway, I just added three more sources: a Christian one, a Jewish one, and a more purely historical one—all pretty authoritative, I think. No doubt the wording can and should continue to be improved, but hopefully that ends our singling out of Huffmon in the text. Block goes into great detail about the peculiarities of style of the 10C. If you're not willing to read a few pages, at the bottom of page 5, it says, "The commands are so general as to be virtually unenforceable through the judicial system. Their intention is to create a framework and ethos within which Israelites were to live." Milgrom says on p. 72, "The kernel of the Decalogue is terse. Without the inclusion of penalties, it reads more like directions or principles rather than laws" and then illustrates the ambiguity of the "sculptured image" commandment. Miller is probably the easiest to read, so I won't bother quoting it. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 22:41, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
Man, I've read every one of the citations. And man, none, I means none, say that the 10C are written in a gauge manner, in order to give room for interoperation. Do they say they are fundamental? yes! Do they say they SHOULD be interpreted generally? Yes! But none say that ARE written in this manner, not even the Huffmon peace that you quoted above. You paraphrase by him to say that '.. any fundamental code has to be ambiguous" (your words, not mine or Huffmons), but don't you see that this is a far cry from thats that the wards ARE ambiguous? Wishing something so doesnt' make it so. If I'm wrong, once again, could you provide a the sentence from any of the above that say the 10C ARE written in an ambiguous manner (not that they are pricibals, not that they are special, not that they are fundamental ext)? Just copy and past it, then I know what your talking about. Work with me here. Steve kap (talk) 03:33, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
I've made a small edit, it basically says the same thing now, but removes the thing that couldn't be supported.
I've already posted quotations about the ambiguity of the 10C and the reasons for it (see above), and directed you to specific sections and pages that go into more detail. Are you requiring that a single sentence state exactly the point summarized in the article? —Ben Kovitz (talk) 18:19, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
t’s not the number of citations, it’s that they don’t support your point. Do you really think that “terse” in any way means “vague” or “ambiguous”? Steve kap (talk) 01:23, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes. In context, it means that the 10C leave a lot of detail unspecified. That source is more than one word long, and there are four sources that explain the same thing in various ways, plus more sources mentioned here on the talk page. Please stop putting nonsense into the article. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 01:22, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I quite agree that using "terce" as meaning the same thing as "vague" is nonsense. To dictionary writers, its means short, to the point, the VERY OPPOSITE of vague. Yet, this (that 'terse means 'vague')is the very point that you are supporting!! My I suggest that the point context that 'terse' means 'vague' is in the context of a person that wants to read something into the sources that simply isn't there. I understand that the source was more than one word, 'terse' was from the words that YOU picked from it! Doesn't it tell you something that, even with YOU doing the selecting, you can't come up with a word or phrase that supports your point. We are left to conclude that the statement that your having WP make came only from YOU. And you are not a published source.
There is an old joke "Did you know that a camel is on the back of a U.S. dollar bill?" "No there isn't, I don't see it!" "Yes, there it is, behind the pyramid!!". Thats whats going on here, you see a pyramid in the text, and you assume there must be a camel. But the camel is coming from you, not the dollar bill. Steve kap (talk) 23:46, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Continued at User talk:Steve kap#Levity. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 00:02, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Punishments???[edit]

What was/are the punishments for the 10 Commandments??? I know the Levites extrapolated them into 600+ new laws. Or, are there places in _The Holy Bible_ where there are specific punishments outlined for each offense??? Is it a one way ticket to hell??? Does confessing your sin/s to Jesus pursuant to 1John1:9 cover it??? What??? People come to Wikipedia for answers.User:JCHeverly 15:41, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

The answer is in the second paragraph of this section: Ten Commandments#Religious interpretations. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 15:57, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
Your assertion that "the Levites extrapolated them into 600+ new laws" is itself an interpretation; it seems to follow the documentary hypothesis. The Jewish view is that all 613 commandments were given by God to Moses during his 40 days on Mount Sinai.
When you say "seems to follow the doucemtary hypothesis", that is to say that it follow the current consences views of expoerts (which the DH is), yes? And when you say "the Jewish view is that..", that is say that the view of tiny, tiny minorotiy, yes? We must keep these things in perspective, because WP is supposed to refect the concensis of scholors, not the view of tiny minorities. Steve kap (talk) 00:29, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Wait a moment. The "documentary hypothesis" says that the 10C as we now have them are late. That is scarcely compatible with the view that, at one stage, they stood alone and that the mass of detailed Biblical legislation including the punishment provisions is a later "extrapolation" by the Levites. Could any workable legal system in the world consist solely of ten ethical principles, with no legislative detail and no means of enforcement? --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 17:30, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
As for punishment, the Jewish view is that a number of commandments carry the death penalty (as elaborated in Exodus 22, Leviticus 18, Numbers 15 etc), while others are not punishable by earthly courts. JFW | T@lk 18:09, 1 January 2014 (UTC)


  • Thanks. I will study Leviticus and Numbers.User:JCHeverly 23:20, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
Probably the most correct answer is that the 10C are just broad principles and don't specify punishments, but elsewhere in the Old Testament, especially Deuteronomy, crimes are defined more precisely and punishments are specified. A lot of sources compare the 10C to a legal constitution, which is fleshed out by legislation and case law. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 23:41, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
  • The only punishment that is even mentioned generally is for idol worship and God basically says that HE will not only punish the heathen/pagan, but he will punish at least three successive generations. Perhaps that is the point, if one chooses to disobey God and not keep HIS commandments, the offender's soul will be tormented in perpetuity in the after life.User:JCHeverly 12:18, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Judaism is actually pretty unconcerned with an afterlife, though not completely. The Old Testament doesn't have much to say about it, and what it says isn't entirely consistent, but the gist is the famous passage from Genesis, "you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Shades of Sheol is a thorough source about this. The idea of eternal punishment or reward in the afterlife is mostly a feature of Christianity and Islam. BTW, talk pages are for discussing changes to the article, not general discussion of the topic; see WP:TALK. Are you looking for information to add to the article? —Ben Kovitz (talk) 19:12, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  • True Believers on the Name and Trusters in the Blood of the Anointed Savior are concerned about the afterlife and/or the second death which is the lake of burning sulfur. Well, aside from the Levitical laws there don't seem to be specific punishments assigned to breaking the law. I was curious to know what they were and it seems that there were not. Always trying to make the project better. People look to Wikipedia for answers, that's all.User:JCHeverly 21:26, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Actually, nearly every one of them has a punishment, and it's nearly always death, usually by stoning. Remember the sabath, stone a man for gathering sticks — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.69.52.251 (talk) 15:29, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Forgot your signature. If it is true that stoning was a punishment proscribed by God, not the Levites. It should be added. I have not found it anywhere in my research. Once again, I look to Wikipedia for answers.User:JCHeverly 17:44, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Just about every source on the 10C that I've looked at says they don't specify punishments because they're just a statement of principles. So, a description of punishments probably doesn't belong in this article. You might look at Jewish Law, Deuteronomic Code, and http://halachipedia.com/index.php?search=Punishment. Deut. 21:18–21 specifies stoning for a certain kind of failure to respect mother and father; Rashi's commentary is here. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 19:24, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
http://www.positiveatheism.org/crt/whichcom.pdf. This will take you to a list of the punishments that go along with the 10c. Do your sources claim they don't exist? Shall we cut them out of the bible? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.69.52.251 (talk) 02:18, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Forgot to sign your name. The only source I have is _The Holy Bible_, aka Jesus Christ in his character as Logos, aka The Word. I consult it when I have a question. I could not find any punishments for all of Israel, not just the Tribe of Levi. So, I am thinking Sheol was the punishment. Literally, thank you, God for the Anointed Savior. The General Epistle to the Church at Galatia, Chapter . . . "3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." . . sums my point of view nicely.User:JCHeverly 19:51, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Talk pages are not for discussing your point of view; see WP:TALK#How to use article talk pages and WP:NOTFORUM. Please take this discussion to some other Internet forum. Wikipedia is not the place for it. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 23:17, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Here, here. Quite right.User:JCHeverly 06:20, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

When Moses came down the mountain he had 3000 of his people killed for breaking the no-other-gods commandment. And Elijah had 450 priests of other religions killed. The punishment for almost anything in the Tanakh is death, including the commandments in the decalogue (btw only the one in exodus 34 made it into the ark of the covenant). The instructions for punishment are littered all over the Tanakh. Unfortunately this article features no ethical analysis and says nothing about the utter moral bankruptcy of the ideology expressed in the various decalogues and in the actions of the characters in the surrounding texts. ♆ CUSH ♆ 18:54, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

The 10C's themselves don't specify any punishment, but Moses said the punishment was death, and that was the punishment meted out more than once. I think it's entirely appropriate to have a section on stoning as punishment. The idea of going to Hell came later, under Greek influence.

Picture of Exodus/Deuteronomy differences[edit]

I deleted a picture posted by Wuschelkopf, showing the Exodus and Deuteronomy versions of the 10C, in Hebrew and closely juxtaposed to highlight exactly where the two versions diverge. Wuschelkopf asked if there is a way to improve the picture. I don't see much hope, but I thought I'd reply here in case anyone else has a better idea. The pic is a lot of text, in Hebrew and too small to read. We already have a big table with English translations of all the 10C, with the Exodus and Deuteronomy versions in adjacent columns. The sources don't seem to give these differences anywhere near the kind of prominence that a readable picture would give them in this article. So, I don't think that any version of this pic, no matter how much improved, would add anything but clutter. Maybe it could provide value on the Hebrew Wikipedia. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 21:26, 19 January 2014 (UTC)