This course presents an examination of the Ten Commandments or Decalogue considered in their Scriptural, dogmatic, and moral context.  Issues addressed will include the literary and dogmatic contexts of the respective Ten Commandments discourses in Exodus and Deuteronomy; the Ten Commandments as a dimension of revelation; the relationship between the Ten Commandments and the Natural Law; the relationship between the Ten Commandments and the concept of Torah; the original meaning and references behind each of the Ten Commandments; broader interpretations and applications of the Ten Commandments within the Judeo-Christian Tradition, especially as reflected in the Catechism of the Council of Trent and the Catechism of the Catholic Church; and the dogmatic and moral unity and cohesiveness of the Ten Commandments.

Note on Method: Most of the readings in this course as concerns the Ten Commandments individually considered are taken from The Catechism of the Catholic Church.  When treating the individual Commandments, however, lectures will go beyond basic catechesis to explore the theological and anthropological context to which each Commandment is addressed, considering what the Commandment means, positively, as a theological and assertion.


Students who complete this course will be equipped to:

  • Explain the Ten Commandments as a cohesive moral framework rather than a list of unrelated prohibitions and commands, with an understanding of what is theologically at issue in each commandment,
  • Explain how the Ten Commandments is both a matter of divine self-revelation and a representation of natural law,
  • Describe the relationship between the Ten Commandments and the various dimensions of the concept of Torah in the Judeo-Christian Tradition,
  • Identify the core issue at the center of each of the commandments in the Decalogue and how that core issue relates to the sins to which the commandment has been applied within the Tradition.