“The Ten Commandments”

Deutsches Hygiene-Museum

Although “Die Zehn Gebote” (“The Ten Commandments”) was, to my mind, one of the best exhibitions in any German-speaking country in recent years, the reaction to it has been muted at best. Some of the more progressive newspapers neglected to cover it at all, while it was greeted by the leading dailies with mockery, as an undertaking not exactly in step with the expectations of enlightened secular society. That said, there are quite a few intellectuals within this very society who, in the face of recent catastrophes (from Srebrenica to Iraq to the explosion of child prostitution fueled by global tourism), question not only the causes of the ethical failure of Western societies but also whether and how the millennia-old standard of the Ten Commandments can still be binding in a culturally, religiously, and ethnically diverse world—Alain Badiou, Judith Butler, and Slavoj Žižek among them. And

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