Liberal Arts Blog — Chunking the Ten Commandments — The Rule of Three and the Rule of Seven

Liberal Arts Blog — Tuesday is the Joy of Literature, Language, Culture, and Religion Day

Today’s Topic: Chunking the Ten Commandments — The Rule of Three and the Rule of Seven

The problem with the ten commandments is that there are too many of them. People can’t remember ten of anything. The rule of three says that people can’t remember more than three. The rule of seven, obviously, that people can’t remember more than seven. To do so you must “chunk” whatever it is into smaller groups. Applying this discipline to the Ten Commandments, I come up with three chunks — the God Chunk, the Golden Rule Chunk, and the Mom and Dad Chunk. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

THE GOD CHUNK

1. No other Gods.

2. No graven images.

3. No taking his name in vain.

4. Honor the Sabbath.

THE GOLDEN RULE CHUNK

1. Don’t kill.

2. Don’t steal.

3. Don’t lie.

4. No adultery.

5. No coveting (house, stuff, wife)

THE MOM AND DAD CHUNK

1. Honor your father and your mother.

FINAL WORD

At different points in the Old and New Testaments the ten were reduced to two : 1.) Love God, 2.) Love your neighbor. No special status for mom and pop in that formulation. Oversight? Right decision?

FOOTNOTES

1.) Images: Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Guido Reni

2.) Last link: on the East Pediment of the US Supreme Court Moses is the central figure. He is flanked by Confucius on his right and Solon on his left.

Chunking (psychology)

Moses

Ten Commandments

Moses, Confucius, and Solon at Supreme Court

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YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to words, language, literature, religion, culture. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to Words, Language, Literature (eg. quotes, poetry, vocabulary) that you have not yet shared.

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.