William will propose that the ‘Ten Commandments’ provide a model case for biblical interpretation. They are central to the book of Exodus, its meaning and structure. Yet despite being ‘written in stone’, the surprising fact is that they appear in two versions in the Bible with two distinctive viewpoints. Dialogue between diverging yet valid interpretations thus stands at the heart of the Hebrew Bible and sanctions continuing debate on meaning and application.
William Johnstone is Emeritus Professor of Hebrew & Semitic Languages, University of Aberdeen. He participated in archaeological excavations at Ras Shamra/Ugarit in Syria and at Enkomi/Alasia in Cyprus and was epigraphist to the Marsala Punic Ship expedition, Sicily. Recently, his research in the Hebrew Bible has focused on the book of Exodus on which he published a two-volume commentary last year.