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Shattered Tablets: Why We Ignore the Ten Commandments at Our Peril Hardcover – August 21, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Religion; 1 edition (August 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385515677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385515672
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #865,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Contrary to Mel Brooks's humorous presentation of Moses and the 10 Commandments on film, Klinghoffer (The Lord Will Gather Me In) does not think these biblical laws are a laughing matter. A writer and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Klinghoffer warns that America is ignoring the commandments and sinking deeper into a quagmire of immorality. Using the Northwest's urban environs in which he lives as a case study, he warns that Seattle suffers from an advanced case of moral retardation that could easily spread to the rest of the country. The main culprit is secularism, says Klinghoffer, a modern and resurgent paganism. Although this seems somewhat overstated, in light of religion's ascendancy in much of America, the author's argument that the U.S. has slighted a communitarian ethic in favor of increased individualism is compelling. Klinghoffer writes with passion and is genuinely concerned with the moral state of the union. However, he often slips into acerbic commentary that distracts from his more salient points. For every example given regarding the moral ineptitude of some residents of Seattle, there could be 10 provided about those who are fighting the good fight and living by God's word. (Aug. 21)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for Why the Jews Rejected Jesus

“Few writers on religion are as fearless as [David] Klinghoffer.” —Esther Schor, Times Literary Supplement

“Klinghoffer’s frank conviction lends his material urgency and narrative verve.” —Mark Oppenheimer, Washington Post Book World

Praise for The Discovery of God

“Exhilarating . . . Stories that are not only beautiful but edifying.” —Noah Millman, Commentary

“I was simply bowled over by the beauty of David Klinghoffer’s prose and the lucidity of his expression. A fantastic achievement.” —William F. Buckley, Jr.

“Electrifying and immensely important. Klinghoffer presents the most effective possible case for the idea that the traditional believers are right in their approach to the Bible.” —Michael Medved

Praise for The Lord Will Gather Me In

“An arresting spiritual autobiography . . . David Klinghoffer has issued a prophetic challenge.” —Mark Silk, New York Times Book Review

“A fascinating, admirable, honest and honorable book.” —Cynthia Ozick

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
This is such an important book.
R. Blum
It is an important contribution and is highly recommended.
Michael L. Lapin
More true today than when it was written.
David L

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K. Unger on August 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
David Klinghoffer clearly and incisively articulates why our American culture has gotten so off track. By ignoring--better throwing out--the decalogue we have allowed secularism to define our morality. Klinghoffer is not afraid to speak in cutting and sometimes politically incorrect terms about the devastating consequences of secularism on our culture. By dissecting each of the commandments and showing how they relate to one another, he shows why religious belief is essential in maintaining a moral culture. While the book predominantly deals with the Jewish Rabbinical interpretation of the Ten Commandments, he was also sensitive to the common experience of those in the Evangelical Christian tradition. His book is quite engaging and thought provoking. I couldn't put it down and will heartily recommend to my friends and family.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. Lapin on September 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What a great read! In "Shattered Tablets" David Klinghoffer has taken a common pastoral theme and brought it to life with an impressive historical and theological account of the basis of each of the Ten Commandments - producing a compelling and persuasive case, with vivid illustrations, for his thesis that we ignore the Decalogue at our peril.

For example, in his treatment of the Second Commandment prohibiting idolatry, Klinghoffer takes the reader on a theological tour de force through impressive discussions of "American style" idolatry, Christian tolerance versus pagan tolerance, American polytheism and cultural relativism, all culminating in the ultimate manifestation of the "little 'god' that lurks within the self." And that is just the second chapter!

Although he warns his readers early on of his "intent to measure in the book. . . .the ideological view that would enshrine materialism as the official quasi-religion of American culture and government," I wondered if Klinghoffer had suspected that his research would lead him to so many examples of outrageous behavior, grotesque beliefs, and twisted values. I am still recovering from learning that the U.S. armed forces recognize Wicca (a type of witchcraft and paganism) as an official religion.

For Klinghoffer and others, the Ten Commandments are more than a historical theory. They are a true, living blueprint of what we should and should not do, think and expect. It is not a list of suggestions but theological certainties that are as unassailable as the law of gravity. Stepping off the moral precipice of the Decalogue has the same sure consequences (individually and to civilization) as stepping off the edge of the roof of a building.

"Shattered Tablets" is beautifully written, well-researched and well-reasoned. It is an important contribution and is highly recommended.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By B. L. Gordon on September 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Using the Ten Commandments as a diagnostic tool, David Klinghoffer offers a morally courageous analysis of the pathological drift of American culture. The illustrative vignettes provided by the tragi-comic moral obtuseness of Seattle, Klinghoffer's home city, contribute to the book's great readability and serve as an effective juxtaposition to the moral common sense inherent in the Decalogue. The fundamental thesis of the book is generated by the relationship between the two tablets of the Law: how a culture behaves toward God (the first five commandments) goes a long way toward determining how the people within that culture behave toward each other (the second five commandments). In both orthodox Jewish and Christian thought there is a clear understanding that creeping societal secularization leads by incremental steps to interpersonal degradation. The validity of this understanding is demonstrated by Klinghoffer through a thought-provoking examination of the moral depth inherent in each commandment and its relationship to the others, as well as through a trenchant analysis of the deleterious consequences - both actual and possible - attending their neglect. The result is a powerful critique of secularization that strongly motivates Klinghoffer's prophetic call for a return to America's Judeo-Christian heritage. I am not at all optimistic that this call will be heeded, but the uncompromising clarity with which the need for it is explained and illustrated makes this book a very important one indeed, and reflects well on the moral courage and integrity of the author. Highly recommended!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd M. Tucker on September 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Fascinating insights into the numerous cultural problems from which America is suffering today. This book provides the educational bridge between what might be considered dry, dull Biblical verses and the all-too real sociological implications their dismissal incurs. The reader is the beneficiary of Klinghoffer's vast amount of knowledge and all the textual research he obviously did in preparation for writing his latest book. I just wish he had ended each chapter on an upbeat with a possible solution to the various moral degradations he so articulately points out.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fr Phillip Bloom on January 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
People in the Northwest have a reputation for being courteous - and bland. In spite of that fame, David Klinghoffer has no trouble finding local examples of how moral ignorance leads to social breakdown. Some cases are bizarre, e.g. the man who died during an act of bestiality with a horse. Others are more pedestrian: Seattle's fetish for fitness and our avoidance of children. Klinghoffer notes that "we are second only to San Francisco as the most childless city in America." He presents Seattle as "a microcosm of what happens when biblical faith falls away."

To quote a certain smug pundit, "it's getting ugly out there." The pundit welcomes the decline of American society. It promises lots of entertaining news. Like most people of means, he considers himself insulated from the effects of moral decay. As a priest who has heard confessions for over 35 years, however, I can testify that social breakdown is far from entertaining. The disregard of the Commandments has resulted in great suffering - especially to children and women. Klinghoffer documents the damage and puts it in a broader context. He uncovers the real ugliness that our surface politeness masks.

It is not enough to recognize that things are getting ugly "out there." We also have to face the ugliness inside ourselves. Besides dissecting the dissolution of our society, *Shattered Tablets* offers plenty of assistance for an examination of conscience. It has, for example, a helpful analysis of what it means to honor one's parents. And under the commandment about bearing false witness, Klinghoffer is not afraid to defend the traditional wisdom that considers gossip an "unmasculine" activity.
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