The Ten Commandments in Medieval and Early Modern Culture
Edited by Youri Desplenter (Ghent), Jürgen Pieters (Ghent), and Walter Melion (Emory)
Over the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as more and more vernacular commentaries on the Decalogue were produced throughout Europe, the moral system of the Ten Commandments gradually became more prominent. The Ten Commandments proved to be a topic from which numerous proponents of pastoral and lay catechesis drew inspiration. God’s commands were discussed and illustrated in sermons and confessor’s manuals, and they spawned new theological and pastoral treatises both Catholic and Reformed. But the Decalogue also served several authors, including Dante, Petrarch, and Christine de Pizan. Unlike the Seven Deadly Sins, the Ten Commandments supported a more positive image of mankind, one that embraced the human potential for introspection and the conscious choice to follow God’s Law.