Winter 2022: Offered at AST and Online (Hybrid)

Course Description

As the first words spoken by God at Sinai and the leading terms of a covenant sealed with blood, the Ten Commandments are well known as a premier instance of biblical law. This course examines their ancient origins. It also considers the weight they have held for Jews, Christians, and others through an exploration of the Decalogue’s reception history, in modes as diverse as liturgy, commentary, fine art, film, and popular culture.

Required Texts (Winter 2022)*

Greenman & Larsen
Jeffrey P. Greenman and Timothy Larsen, eds. The Decalogue through the Centuries: From the Hebrew Scriptures to Benedict XVI. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2012. ISBN 978-0664234904.
Patrick D. Miller. The Ten Commandments. Interpretation. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2009. ISBN 978-0664230555.
Christina G. Rossetti. Letter and Spirit: Notes on the Commandments. London: SPCK, n.d. [1883]. Public domain, available on

Please note that textbook selections for my courses often change with each iteration of the course.

Braaten & Seitz
Carl E. Braaten and Christopher R. Seitz, eds. I Am the Lord Your God: Christian Reflections on the Ten Commandments. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.
This text is highly recommended for its models of theological engagement, but purchase is optional.
Michael Coogan. The Ten Commandments: A Short History of an Ancient Text. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.
This strictly optional text has three main virtues: it is accessible, short, and provocative.
Bernard M. Levinson. Legal Revision and Religious Renewal in Ancient Israel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
This text is highly recommended for its account of inner-biblical interpretation, but purchase is optional.
Hoffman & Reventlow
Yair Hoffman and Henning Graf Reventlow, eds. The Decalogue in Jewish and Christian Tradition. LHBOTS 509. New York: T&T Clark, 2011.
Van Harn
Roger E. Van Harn, ed. The Ten Commandments for Jews, Christians, and Others. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.
Making Sense
Northey, Margot, Bradford A. Anderson, and Joel N. Lohr. Making Sense in Religious Studies: A Student’s Guide to Research and Writing. 3rd ed. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 2019.
This title is optional but highly recommended. It includes basic advice on things like reading religious texts, writing essays and book reviews, making oral presentations, and learning languages. It should help you master fundamental tasks in nearly any course in religion or theology.
The SBL Handbook of Style, 2nd Edition, is the definitive style manual for biblical studies and related disciplines.
A blog ( and free Student Supplement (PDF) should cover the issues most common to term papers. The AST library copy is in the reference section at PN 147 S26 2014.
Serious students of biblical studies will want a copy of their own. Order one from SBL Press or elsewhere online. ISBN 978-1589839649.
See my resources page for further advice on writing, style, and research.

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