Story 2a - In the Brilliance of a Night
He paused and sighed. "I wish you could read German," he said and brought another Bible from the book shelf, an old German version.
"My specialty is Russian," I replied. "I know some German, some Spanish. I must admit, my German isn't great. Its adequate for most occasions, but not for interpreting ancient Biblical texts."
"These are very old texts," Steve said as he found the Decalogue. He said that the Decalogue is first introduced in the Second Book of Moses. It's called Exodus in the English Bible. "Here it is, chapter 20." He
said that there are four fundamental principles presented among the ten commandments of the Decalogue. These are the principles without which the human society cannot function. He said he would like to read them to me, translated from the German, with a slight change in the sequencing to illustrate the nature of the commandments. He read the last four commands: "Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not lie against thy neighbor; and thou shalt not 'ehebrechen.'" He explained that the term "ehebrechen" literally means that one mustn't break what is honorable. It means that one mustn't negate and interfere with the bond that love has forged or is forging. One mustn't adulterate that bond. "And that is all that the Decalogue says," said Steve.
Steve said, "the Decalogue says that one mustn't interfere with the bond of love that brings people together, the honorable bond. Isn't that what the concept of marrying means? Doesn't the word marriage represent the idea of bringing people closer to one another through love? It has something to do with the unity developed by love and the joy of it. Doesn't the whole concept of marriage revolve around that fundamental idea of bringing people together, acknowledging the beauty of an unfolding lateral relationship, uniting people closely with one another for the sheer joy and the strength of it? It has nothing to do with shutting other people out.
"The concept of shutting other people out has been added later," said Steve. "It has been added in a later version of the Decalogue; a politicized version; an adulterated version in which the original idea of honoring the love that brings people closer together, becomes grossly distorted. This distortion has changed the very idea of what adultery means."
"So, what does it mean, Steve? What does it mean to you?"
"Adultery is a broad term, Peter," said Steve in a tone as if he was giving a lecture. He leaned back into his chair in the study, opposite to me. "With respect to the marriage process," he said,
"with the process of bringing people closer to one another, the concept of adultery includes everything that hinders, corrupts, and distorts that process, right? That's basically what it means. Rape, dishonesty, exploitation, jealousy, domination, neglect, confinement, theft, hate, degradation, distrust, dishonor, vice, drunkenness, squandering, and so forth, are all elements that have this kind of inhibiting effect. These elements drive a wedge between people. They have no place in the process that brings people closer to one another. That's what adultery signifies."
I had to laugh here, because not a single one of these elements are commonly associated with the concept of adultery, and I told Steve so.
He had to laugh, too. "But it really isn't a laughing matter," he said. He pointed out that by creating an extremely narrow image for the concept of adultery, especially one that has nothing to do with the original idea, the real meaning of the concept becomes lost. He said the reason for it is, that all the abominations that the original concept appears to have been
designed to prevent are now permitted, even desired. He gave examples of the permitted abomination that fall outside of the narrowed down concept of adultery. He listed marital rape, marital domination, spousal neglect, hate, degradation, violence, cruelty, theft, dishonor, and so forth. "The only thing that you are not allowed to do under the grossly corrupted concept of adultery, is to establish a bond of love with another person. Everything else is OK. Can you now see why the corruption of the concept has been created? It is designed to corrupt society at the grassroots level, and to condition it for external control."