Saturday, September 12, 2009

Heresy or orthodoxy? A question about the laws in the Torah

Every now and then I post thoughts on things that may be considered heretical by some. As there's hardly a belief that isn't considered heretical by someone or other, I don't find myself too troubled by that, and content myself with trying to figure out whether the idea is actually sound. So the thing I have found myself wondering lately is this: We know that the Old Testament portrays the laws of the Torah as being given some of them directly by the hand of God engraved on stone tablets (10 of them like that) and the rest (does that leave 603?) were not written in stone. So is it orthodoxy or heresy to think that one batch of laws was meant to be more lasting and important than the others?

One the one hand, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength" and "Love your neighbor as yourself" are actually among the other 603 commandments, not among the 10 ... then again, the 10 Commandments are free of things that many people question why they're in the Bible at all, such as dietary laws, clothing codes, and other things that seem fairly cultural. The ones that made the stone tablets do seem to be closer to human universals. Except for the preface, "I am the LORD your God who brought you out of Egypt." So that's the score as I bat the idea around trying to determine what to make of the fact that some were written on stone and others were not.

As always, all comments are welcome.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Here are some, um, well, maybe "counter questions:"

To whom do these 613 commandments pertain? With whom was that covenant, the one containing those commandments, made? (Romans 9:4)

Which covenant pertains to Christians?

Which of those 613 laws bind us Gentile Christians? (Acts 15)

So, practically speaking, how important is it, to us, why certain ones engraved on stone?

Weekend Fisher said...

Oh I know, it's of limited importance. It's more in the category of "things that make you go, "hm...".

My only angle with that is when there are some who claim that every word of the Bible is of equal weight ... I'm not so sure about that. ;)

But mainly I just wonder: Why some on stone?

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

I believe that it is useful, and appropriate, to divide those 603 (who counted them?) commandments into three groups. See my post, if interested.

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi Martin

Thanks for stopping by.

(& I think it's already in the Talmud it mentions the 613 total ... they also had it worked down to various subsets that covered them all, the smallest being just one: "the righteous will live by faith".)

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF