Prager University - The Ten Commandments

Prager University - The Ten Commandments

I've written up a separate review that discusses the Prager University courses in general. One set of courses on "The Ten Commandments" is so useful and important that it deserves its own review.

First, you have to realize that this entire set of 11 courses will take just under one hour to watch since Prager University distills the information into five-minute courses, each packed with critical information for teens and adults.

While widely recognized authorities present many of the Prager University courses, Dennis Prager hosts this series himself. He is well qualified on a number of levels, but most obviously because he is a highly regarded teacher of the Torah. In "The Ten Commandments" series, Prager is speaking to a broad audience. His goal is to convince his viewers of the value and importance of the Ten Commandments. (He uses the Jewish and Protestant listing of the Commandments rather than that used by Catholics, but this really makes no difference when it comes to understanding the meaning of the Commandments.)

The series begins with an "Introduction" video in which Prager points out that "No document in world history so changed the world for the better as did the Ten Commandments. Western civilization—the civilization that developed universal human rights, created women's equality, ended slavery, created parliamentary democracy among other unique achievements—would not have developed without them."

Prager also asserts that the only reason that the Ten Commandments are so powerful is that they were given by God. If they came from men, they would merely be preferences. He says, "Unless there is a God, all morality is just opinion and belief. And virtually every atheist philosopher has acknowledged this." So all concepts of right and wrong ultimately require a belief in God or some higher authority.

The introductory video is followed by ten more videos, one on each of the Ten Commandments.

In Prager's presentation on the first commandment he stresses our relationship with God, our obligation to be good to others, and the fact that God wants us to be free. He explains how, "Freedom comes from moral self control."

Prager's explanation of the second commandment encompasses modern-day idols that replace belief and reliance upon God.

In his discussion of the third commandment, Prager explains that the original language says something similar to "Do not misuse God's name" rather than the common English translation of "Do not take the Lord's name in vain." He goes on to explain the significance of this wording and how it defines the most serious type of sin.

Prager continues to make many "not so obvious" points about each of the commandments such as the five "life-changing and society-changing benefits of the Sabbath" that are available to anyone, the real meaning of the commandment we usually hear translated "Thou shall not kill," and the many types of theft that might take place in violation of the Eighth Commandment such as "stealing a reputation" or "stealing a person's dignity."

Drawing on his knowledge of the original Hebrew language of the commandments, Prager explains critical words and their original meanings as well as how those ideas translate into our modern day situations.

These videos are very thought provoking. They are certain to generate interesting conversations if used with a group. Of course, as with other Prager University courses, all of the videos, along with online quizzes and transcripts, are available online for free.

Even if you've studied the Ten Commandments and think that you are very familiar with them, I expect that you will learn something new from these videos.


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Instant Key

  • Learning Environment: all situations
  • Grade Level: grades 8-12
  • Special Audience: adults
  • Educational Methods: critical thinking
  • Technology: video, online
  • Educational Approaches: eclectic
  • Religious Perspective: Judeo-Christian

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