Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Decalogue

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(Greek deka, ten and logos, word).

The term employed to designate the collection of precepts written on two tables of stone and given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. The injunctions and prohibitions of which it is composed are set forth in Exodus (20:1-17) and in Deuteronomy (5:6-21). The differences discernible in the style of enumerating them in Exodus as contrasted with Deuteronomy are not essential and pertain rather to the reasons alleged for the precepts in either instance than to the precepts themselves. The division and ordering of the commandments in use in the Catholic Church is that adopted by St. Augustine (Quæstiones in Exodum, q. 71). That which is commonly in vogue amongst Protestants seems to have Origen for its sponsor. He regarded Exodus 20:3-6, as containing two distinct commandments and in this hypothesis in order to keep the number ten, verse 17 would have but one. The practice now universally adhered to among Catholics is just the reverse. See COMMANDMENTS OF GOD.

JOSEPH F. DELANY