Were the ten commandments the first laws of civilization?

This question is predicated on the assumption that a particular event happened. I'm agnostic; I don't know enough theology to speak to the verifiability of these events.

I also don't know whether this is likely to be the only question of its type. I suspect it won't, but I honestly don't know. But it's led to at least a couple of low-quality answers, also based on religious texts - again, questionable actuality.

It's not necessarily that this question is religious, nor is it that the event may not have happened. The fact is that questions based on an event that is difficult to place, and specifically ask about when it occurred relative to other events, may be potentially difficult to answer.

I have two questions to put to the community:

  1. Are these kinds of questions on topic?

  2. Are we happy with answers based on such resources? There's currently two answers on that question that cite religious texts, and as the question isn't about religious law, I personally don't believe it's appropriate.

    • We can add a post notice like the one below to these answers in addition to voting on them as appropriate. Is this something you'd like to see? If so, what kind of process do you want around it?

    Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

1 Answer 1


If an answer relies on what the state of the world is or was, it should provide a reliable source establishing that, if requested.

An answer doesn't need to provide a reference if it is simply assuming a position for the sake of a hypothetical, or if it is clealy stating an opinion of the author regarding how a law would apply to an established or hypothetical fact.

But, if an answer says things like:

  • California has a statute that says...
  • The 5th Circuit has held that...
  • In 1919, Congress passed an act...
  • 10 people per year are executed...
  • In the year 2000 B.C.E., Moses...

Those are all objective, non-hypothetical, factual claims about how the world actually is/was, and if challenged, the author should provide a reference. Ideally the reference would reflect consensus amongst experts in the relevant field. We are experts in law, not experts in facts.

I think the banner you suggest would be a good solution for answers lacking such references.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .