, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 331–338 | Cite as

Logic for the Decalogue

  • Stamatios GerogiorgakisEmail author


In this article, I offer two different formalizations for prescriptions which correspond to two different forms of biblical prohibitions. I discuss the known fact that the prohibitive commandments of the Decalogue according to the Septuagint and the Vulgate, Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, are formulated with normative future tense indicatives. However, the Greek and Latin sources provide in Mark 10:19 variants of five biblical prohibitive commandments which are formulated with prohibitive subjunctives. I argue that there are semantic differences between normative future tense indicatives and prohibitive subjunctives. These semantic differences are of importance for the understanding of the Decalogue.


Decalogue Prohibitions Septuagint Vulgate Deontic logic 



For remarks and suggestions which helped improve the first draft of this article, I would like to thank two anonymous referees of this journal. For my assessment of the Hebrew original of the Decalogue, I am indebted to Julia Carls and Peter Stein who tried to help me understand some basics of Hebrew grammar.


  1. Cooper, Paul Kendall. 2011. Is there a case for the abolition of ‘shall’ from the EU Legislation?. Riga: Riga Graduate School of Law (downloaded from Accessed 13 Mar 2013.
  2. Das Alte Testament: Interlinearübersetzung Hebräisch-Deutsch und Transkription des hebräischen Grundtextes nach der Biblia Stuttgartensia, 1989, vol. 1, Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler.Google Scholar
  3. Die Bibel nach der Übersetzung Martin Luthers (Revised Text 1975). Recognovit: Rat der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland, 1978, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung.Google Scholar
  4. Ferber, R. (1988). Das normative “Ist”. Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung, 42, 371–396.Google Scholar
  5. Hughes, G. E., & Cresswell, M. J. (1996). A new introduction to modal logic. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Novum Testamentum Graece. (1999). In E. Nestle, K. Aland, et al (Eds.), (27th edn.). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.Google Scholar
  7. Règles de techniques legislatives a l’usage des services de la Commission (1997) (downloaded from Accessed 3 Mar 2012.
  8. Rescher, N., & Urquhart, A. (1971). Temporal logic. Vienna/New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Šarčević, Susan. 1997. New approach to legal translation. The Hague et al.: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  10. Septuaginta: vetus testamentum graecum [Septuagint]. (1991). Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.Google Scholar
  11. The Holy Bible [King James version]. (2004). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Tiersma, P. M. (2000). Legal language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ErfurtErfurtGermany

Personalised recommendations