In this article on the Ten Commandments, Dr. Barreto writes:
But ultimately, the story of the Ten Commandments in Exodus is less about proper behavior than it is about identity.From a sociological perspective, he is right on. The shift in emphasis from belonging to believing/behaving is relatively recent. I would further add that the Decalogue did not hold a central roll for the Hebrews. They weren't the most important ten, just the first ten. In fact, when Jesus was asked by a scribe what the greatest commandment was, he names two commandments, neither of which are among the ten. (Instead of Exodus, he references Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18.) The entire article over at HuffPo is worth the read.