Monday, September 30, 2013

HT Jim West: The Decalogue as the Prohibition of Theft

Every prohibition in the Decalogue, David J. A. Clines sketches out, can be thought of as prohibiting the wrongful appropriation of what belongs to another.  Clines proposes that the tenth commandment is the climax of the ten and is a warning about desire rather than action.  Perhaps it is no surprise, if this proposal is correct, that Paul deals with "do not covet" in his discourse on sin and the law in Romans because "if" to covet is a disordered desire for what does not rightly belong to you then all other sins would flow out of coveting.

Clines' brief aside about adultery as an infringement on the possession of another man is worth noting, though those who bristle at the patriarchal orientation of the Decalogue will not enjoy this, because the prohibition is against the infringement on rights first and not directly about a specific sexual prohibition as an isolated concern.  If a man had two wives, for instance, he wasn't committing adultery on wife 1 if he had sexual relations with wife 2. 

Anyway, feel free to go read the whole thing as it's not that long a read. 

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