Anti-swearing law

David Bowie db.list at BYU.EDU
Wed Feb 23 19:12:37 UTC 2000

From: "James E. Clapp" <jeclapp at WANS.NET>
: Anne Gilbert wrote:

: > I've seen various translations of the Bible, and I
: > know what you're talking about.

: I haven't, so I thought I'd take a gander at the Web and see what
: translations--particularly of the Ten Commandments--might come readily
: to hand.  It's not completely off-topic, since one of the commandments
: (the second or third, depending on your belief system) prohibits
: swearing, or at at any rate blasphemy.  The translations I found may
: fall into a relatively narrow spectrum (most people who put up sites
: devoted to the Bible seem to fall into a relatively narrow spectrum of
: religious orientation), but it was still enlightening.

I knew i'd saved this for a reason!

This came across the AP wire while Congress was debating requiring the
posting of the 10 Commandments in schools a while back:

   From: C-ap at (The Associated Press)
   Subject: Differences on Commandment Wording
   Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 13:00:18 PDT

   Both Jews and Christians have Ten Commandments, but there is no
   agreement on what wording and numbering to follow.

   The Bible itself contains two versions, one in Exodus 20:1-17 and
   a slightly different one in Deuteronomy 5:6-21. There are also
   various English translations from the original Hebrew to choose

   Moreover, there are five numbering systems because the
   denominations differ on what to include in the First and Tenth

   Judaism counts ``I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of
   the land of Egypt ...'' as No. 1, while most Christians consider
   that a preface and list Judaism's No. 2 as their No. 1: ``You
   shall have no other gods before me.'' Other Christians say No. 1
   consists of both clauses.

   Next comes the commandment against idolatry (``graven image''),
   which Jews combine with an admonition about ``no other gods,'' as
   do Catholics and Lutherans but not other Christians.

   As for the next seven commandments -- taking the Lord's name in
   vain, keeping the Sabbath, honoring one's mother and father,
   killing, adultery, stealing, and bearing false witness -- all
   groups divide up them up identically but apply different numbers.

   The Tenth Commandment of Jews and most Protestants is the entire
   ``thou shalt not covet'' passage. But Catholics and Lutherans list
   two ``thou shalt not covet'' commandments: one against coveting
   your neighbor's wife, and one against coveting your neighbor's


David Bowie                                       Department of English
Assistant Professor                            Brigham Young University
db.list at    
   The opinions stated here are not necessarily those of my employer

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