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And God Spoke These Words: The Ten Commandments and Contemporary Ethics

ISBN: 978-0-8074-1233-6
SKU: U027
Price: $17.95 In stock
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Formerly URJ Press #405600

Rabbi Rifat Sonsino has helped thousands of readers find God, and uncovered the truths and legends behind the foundational myths of Judaism. Now, he explores one of the best known--and least understood--texts in the Bible: the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments loom large as ethical and moral guideposts in the Western world. These statutes have informed much of Judaism and Christianity over the past two thousand years, and stand at the center of many modern legal and political debates. However, attention to the remarkable and well-established influence of these words often glosses over the actual text and context of the biblical sources themselves.

In And God Spoke These Words, Rabbi Sonsino draws on commentators from Maimonides to Mel Brooks to explore how the Ten Commandments have been interpreted—and misinterpreted—for generations. He examines the religious and legal texts of the Israelites’ neighbors in the Ancient Near East, surveys centuries of Rabbinic commentary, and engages with contemporary secular and Jewish thought. Sonsino’s thorough contextualization and discussion of the Decalogue provide the reader with an understanding of where these iconic commands originate, how they have been understood by Jews throughout the ages, and what moral direction they can still provide in the 21st century.

The Ten Words
Preface (Download as PDF)
Torah and Law in Judaism
Text and Context

The Decalogue: 
The First Word: God
The Second Word: Idolatry
The Third Word: Misuse of God’s Name
The Fourth Word: The Sabbath
The Fifth Word: Honoring Parents
The Sixth Word: Homicide
The Seventh Word: Adultery
The Eighth Word: Stealing
The Ninth Word: False Witness
The Tenth Word: Coveting

Legislation and Commandment

View a brief video interview with Rabbi Rifat Sonsino, Ph.D. about his background, his interest in the Ten Commandments, and why he wrote this powerful new book, And God Spoke These Words: The Ten Commandments and Contemporary Ethics

A URJ Press Publication

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