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The Ten Commandments might be understood as a moralistic list of “do’s” and “don’ts.” That is, many people see the Decalogue as a reminder of ancient religious legalism. Thus, the usual impression of the commandments is unfavorable, and no true “good news” of the gospel or joy of Christian faith seems to be found in these verses.

However, when we carefully consider the historical context, we may find the very opposite. We may instead recognize the real joy of discipleship embedded in the commandments. With the historical context in view, the commandments may be considered an anti-imperialist (or post- colonial), anti-capitalist, anti-sexist, anti-materialist, and eco-liberative manifesto divinely sanctioned not only for ancient people, but also for the populace today.


Originally published by SAGE Journals in Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology

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