Item description for TEN COMMANDMENTS & HUMAN RIGHTS by Walter Harrelson...
Overview The cornerstone of biblical law and faith is the Ten Commandments. Their use and importance in communities of faith throughout history is indisputable. The importance of the Ten Commandments is not only for believing Jews and Christians, but for all persons seeking to find or to reaffirm a moral foundation for their life and for the life of their children, their faith community, and their society. Harrelson's interpretation makes each commandment relevant to our faith and our culture. In a day and time when relativism threatens the religious and moral fiber of society, he paves the way to a new understanding of arguably the most important verses in the Bible.
Publishers Description The Ten Commandments and Human Rights sets out to evaluate the importance of the Ten Commandments for the life of faith today. The general thesis is that the commandments are immensely important not only for Jews and Christians, but for all persons seeking to find or to reaffirm a moral foundation for their life and for the life of their children, their religious community, and their society.
The fact that the commandments are put negatively is immensely important, for it means that the community that claims these commandments and builds on them has to work out for itself the positive import of not having other gods, not worshipping idols, not profaning the sabbath, not killing and stealing, and committing adultery. Put negatively, these commitments become the groundwork for a humanly free and responsible search for the will of God for individual, family, and corporate life today and in any day.
It is true that the commandments originate in ancient Israel, are central to the faith of prophets, priests, and sages, and are claimed and made foundational by Jesus for the Christian community. But these commandments also share much with, for example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has been presented by the United Nations for adoption by all the nations of earth.
The Ten Commandments and Human Rights seeks to show how to avoid moralistic use of the Ten Commandments in religious life today while still affirming that there are absolutely foundational prohibitions that can and must guide the moral life of all peoples. The Ten Commandments need very little revision in order to become such a foundation for a free and responsible life today.
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Studio: Mercer University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.97" Width: 6.03" Height: 0.53" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 1997
Publisher Mercer University Press
ISBN 0865545421 ISBN13 9780865545427
Reviews - What do customers think about TEN COMMANDMENTS & HUMAN RIGHTS?
Moses for the Nation-State Feb 27, 2001
Harrelson's scholarship I do not question. He exegetes each of the ten commandments with quite a degree of skill. His knowledge of the Hebrew grammar is impressive, and his grasp of Christian theology is adequate to his task.
What I object to is Harrelson's setting up of Moses as a sort of Thomas Jefferson figure. He bucks mainline scholarship by attributing much of the decalogue to Moses, but he does not go so far as to say the God of the Hebrews told him to say these things. The result is that Moses emerges as a sort of religio-political genius who set about to establish a new civilization. While this in itself is not objectionable as a story, it does lead to some misguided conclusions.
First of all, Harrelson "translates" the first commandment for the pluralistic masses, saying that for it to do work in our world it ought to read something like "You shall have only one ultimate master." This seems utterly misguided. The commandment comes in the context of a God rescuing a people from an oppressor. That God is not talking to the folks back in Egypt. I'm sure that there were plenty of single-minded folks back in Egypt. That's not the point of the commandment. By abstracting "principles" from the commandments, Harrelson strips them of their ability to speak to concrete historical situations. What we need is an act of imagination, not a disposal of history.
On the exegetical end I give Harrelson thumbs up. When he tries to make Moses head of the UN I have to object.
An interesting look at the role of the Ten Commandments Jun 29, 1999
Harrelson, a scholar that exhibits expert knowledge of the 10 Commandments, offers valuable insight into the role of the guidelines in modern society. According to the author, these ten commandments can provide "ground rules" that may stabilize society. He offers clear definition of the intent of each commandment and looks at the implication that each could have in social ethics. Harrelson demonstrates excellent knowledge of the topic and a sensitivity to pluralism. This is not an evangelically driven text. This text centers on this issue of human rights ... not theology. He offers historical and cultural anecdotes that clarify his appreciation of the commandments and their role in society. In general, this is a great conversation piece that offers insights to people everywhere. The only caution I have is that the language used in the book, at times, gets somewhat complex. This is not leisure reading by any extent of the imagination.