The challenge of teaching classic religious texts with flawed moral messages from a contemporary point of view is examined in the case of the Beautiful Captive of War (Deuteronomy 21:10-14). A moral dilemma is generated by contradictory ethical stands within the Jewish tradition, between which students have to choose. This dilemma is explored in the context of a kind of religious education which strives for critical commitment to sacred tradition. That kind of education is analysed for its roots in self-persuasion, moral agency in complex social settings and an educational philosophy based on norms and conscience. Other issues explored are sexual education, international human rights, the relationship of abstract moral vignettes to real-life situations and behaviour and the relationship of religious to moral education.