Download Set in stone : America's embrace of the Ten Commandments by Jenna Weissman Joselit PDF

By Jenna Weissman Joselit

Via a chain of deftly-rendered vignettes, in demand historian Jenna Weissman Joselit bargains a compelling and fresh-eyed point of view at the Ten Commandments, situating them in the context of recent the US. wealthy in incident and in colourful personalities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, her account exhibits that the 10 Commandments usually are not solid in stone yet a fertile repository of yankee history.

summary: via a sequence of deftly-rendered vignettes, in demand historian Jenna Weissman Joselit deals a compelling and fresh-eyed point of view at the Ten Commandments, situating them in the context of recent the USA. wealthy in incident and in colourful personalities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, her account indicates that the 10 Commandments should not forged in stone yet a fertile repository of yank background

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Nodel, a local rabbi, took exception to his city’s contemplation of the Ten Commandments. Publicly registering his dismay from the pulpit of his synagogue, Temple Beth Israel, and in the local press, he cautioned, “You don’t sell the moral law through the advertising devices of a billboard display,” adding that the only way for the Ten Commandments to be truly effective was to engrave them on one’s heart. When Nodel was joined in his demurral by a number of liberal Protestant clergymen, the members of the local Seventh Day Adventist Church, and the Portland branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, the city decided on an alternate course of action that, it hoped, would assuage Rabbi Nodel and his allies: to situate the monolith on private property.

Now on display in a glass vitrine, as well as in the gift shop where, thanks to visitors’ requests, “replicas” can be purchased for fifty-​four dollars, the relics are strategically positioned within the context of the long-​r unning debate about their authenticity rather than treated as honest-​to-​goodness specimens. ” Staying clear of that fray, the museum maintains that questions about their authenticity do not so much diminish as extend their value, providing opportunities to engage with American history.

Then again, its functions went beyond the defensive or 34 34 S et in S tone the prophylactic. A reminder—​a lodestar—​of right and wrong, a testament to “God’s law,” the monuments anchored the nation, setting it on its proper course. 35 A visual proclamation of American exceptionalism, a gift to the American people, the Ten Commandments monument was hard to resist. Municipal officials, confident they enjoyed the support of their constituents, rarely turned down the Eagles’ offer. Now and again, though, some did.

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