"Knowledge is bliss"- Towards a society without paternity surprises
by Barry Pearson
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The 10 Commandments

This paper referred to "the 6th Commandment", obviously implying that this Commandment is "thou shalt not commit adultery".

In fact, the Commandments were not originally defined as a simple list of 10 rules. Different versions exist in the Bible (Book of Exodus, Book of Deuteronomy, etc), and identify more than 10 rules. The iconic version, with Moses coming down the mountain with tablets of stone with 10 Commandments written on them, is just a cartoon for children. Various religions have converted the various written instructions into different sets of 10 rules according to their own preferences. (Human beings like "lists of 10", and apparently have done so for millenia).

Religions with a Protestant or Judaism basis tend to adopt "... thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image" as the 2nd Commandment. Therefore, they tend to identify "thou shalt not commit adultery" as the 7th Commandment. For these religions, the 6th Commandment is typically "thou shalt not kill".

Religions with a Catholic basis tend to omit " ... thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image". Therefore they state that "thou shalt not commit adultery" is the 6th Commandment. Most Internet versions of the 10 Commandments appear to be based on this Catholic version. (These versions then divide the long Commandment about coveting what is thy neighbour's into separate Commandments for his wife and his goods, to make up the 10).

Many religions don't recognise the 10 Commandments, so for them this discussion is probably irrelevant!


The Ten Commandments
The Conflicting Arrangement of the Ten Commandments as Revealed by a Comparison of the Protestant, Catholic and Hebrew Versions
A book by Joseph Lewis

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Page last updated: 13 September, 2004 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2002