The 10 Commandments get prime spot at legislature

Partido Liberación Nacional photo
Legislative leaders view the new art work.

Costa Rican lawmakers have installed a heavily edited version of the 10 Commandments at the entry to the legislative chamber.

The work by sculptor Edgar Zúñiga consists of 10 free-standing scenes affixed to columns. The works were inaugurated Monday night.

The sculptures are a donation from the Sociedad Bíblica de Costa Rica. In Jewish and Christian tradition, the commandments were handed to Moses by God on stone tablets while the tribes of Israel wandered in the desert after the flight from Egypt.

The artist also calls the work the Ten Words, an earlier description of the moral code.

The artist also takes liberties with the traditional commandments. For example No. 1 says in Spanish that God is interested in the liberty of his people.

Even though the works are placed in a location frequented by politicians, the artist retained the injunction against lying but changed it from the traditional  “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” to “You will always tell the truth.”

“Thou shalt not kill” is rendered as “Respect the gift of life.”

In a legislative news release, Zuñiga was quoted saying that he faced a challenge creating sculptures. The works are based on the commandments and constructed to be contemporary and show the principles still are in force today, he said.

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