"AMERICA VERSUS THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: Exploring One Nation's Commitment to Biblical Morality," by Michael K. Abel and Brent J. Schmidt, Covenant Books, $14.95, 172 pages (nf)
The Ten Commandments originated in the Middle Eastern wilderness, but they became the bedrock of American morality. In "America Versus the Ten Commandments," Michael K. Abel and Brent J. Schmidt explore the continued relevance of Moses' stone tablets to modern Americans. They look at if Americans still keep the Ten Commandments and if they even want to.
While inescapably biased personally, the authors strive to examine and analyze objectively the meaning of each of the Ten Commandments, both ancient and modern, and present relevant peer-reviewed research on the beliefs and habits of Americans today.
They take a chapter for each commandment. While one may quibble with their personal interpretation (is it fair, for example, to equate premarital sexuality with adultery?), the organization and presentation of research is excellent. The authors write clearly, concisely and professionally, preserving the academic tone of the book without alienating lay readers.
Abel is a professor of sociology at Brigham Young University-Idaho. He has published several academic articles on religious retention and faith.2 comments on this story
Schmidt also teaches at Brigham Young University-Idaho, and he has been a BYU Studies Research Fellow since 2011. Schmidt is on the BYU New Testament Commentary Series Board of Editors and is the co-author of the Matthew, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude volumes with John Welch. He received the Hugh Nibley Fellowship (2003–2007) from the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.
Abel and Schmidt together have co-authored articles for The Christian Post and are now working together on another book, "The Seven Deadly Sins of Highly Destructive People."
"America Versus the Ten Commandments" discusses violence and sexuality in general terms but contains no profanity. The academic nature of the book makes it most suited to teenage and adult readers.