Johnnie asked this question
According to many fundamentalists, the Church has edited the Commandments so as to obscure the fact that worshipping idols (read, crucifixes, "wafers") is sinful.
I went to the (New Jerusalem) Bible for a more objective explanation, and read in the notes for Exodus that the Church adopted Saint Augustine's interpretation, based on the entry in Deuteronomy.
I then read the Exodus and Deuteronomy accounts, and personally found little to distinguish the two. I also found that my mind naturally separated the Commandments into the 'Protestant Decalogue'. Mind you, this probably has something to do with the way the verses are divided.
What did Augustine base his interpretation on? Where will I find his writing on the subject?
No passage of the Bible assigns numbers to the commandments (cf. Dt 4, 9-13; 5, 4.22.25; 9, 11; Ex 20, 1). But some passages of the OT refer to the "ten words" (cf. Os 4, 2; Jer 7,9; Ez 18, 5-9). The oldest extra-biblical references of the Decalogue are found in Philo (De decalogo 12) and Josephus (Ant III 5, 5). This Decalogue is conserved by the Greek Churches. Philo assumes that the distribution on the tablets were 5 and 5.
The phylacteries of Qumran and the papyrus Nash (B.C.) have the written commandments before the Shema. This is an indication that the pious learned the Decalogue by heart and recited it together with the Shema.
Dt 4, 9f commands that it be learned and taught to the children (cf. Prov 1, 88; 6, 20). Jer 7,9 suggests that on entering the temple y the believer should examine his conscience according to the Decalogue (cf. Ps 15 and 24) and after the celebration it be taken as a commitment for the daily life. Os 4, 2 supposes the Decalogue as normative for life.
Some interpreters deformed by the "historical-critical" method affirm that this type of Decalogue was not possible at so early a date. The Book of the Dead (Egypt 1550 B.C.) gives an example that the dead make a very similar confession (150).
Saint Augustine offers a slightly different version (Sermo 33). His Decalogue has been conserved by the Latin Catholic Church and by the Lutherans too. Saint Augustine distributes three of the commandments on one tablet (referring to God) and seven on the other one (referring to men).
If you want more commentary regarding the Decalogue consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church (numbers 2052ff) etc. It's very important to have in mind that it is an expression of being "His people" because all stems from the expression "I your God".
You will find a synopsis of Ex 20, 2-17 and Dt 5, 6-21 together with the formulation of the Ten Commandments in three columns just before the number 2052.
Jesus has given us a resume: " ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 31 "The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’"(NAS).
Shouldn't we teach our children to recite in their morning and evening prayer at least this Christian Shema instead of anodyne prayers regarding the 14 angels around the bed?
If you want an in depth analysis go to:
It has been ever a supposition of our fundamentalist evangelic brethren that there is suppressio veri and suggestio falsi in the Catholic Church. Their problem is that they can't count on Tradition.