Skip to comments.Jefferson's Bible
Posted on 01/09/2012 7:39:35 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
Rick Santorum's near-miss in Iowa provides a reminder that, for many Republican voters (and not a few candidates), religion and politics overlap. If you need another reminder, though, consider this: recently, the Smithsonian has restored and put on display a weird and fantastic 19th century book known as "The Jefferson Bible." That's Jefferson as in Thomas, and this private, personal document offers a useful case study in how politics and Christianity have mixed it up in American history, right up to today.
To understand Jefferson's Bible, you need to start with the one book he published in his lifetime: "Notes on the State of Virginia." Jefferson wrote this survey in the 1780s, organizing it around topics like "The different religions received into that State." But the book came back to haunt him two decades later when he was battling John Adams for the presidency. Indeed, long before Rick Perry's and Mitt Romney's books caused them trouble on the campaign trail, Jefferson had to deal with some very specific attacks on what he'd written about religion.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
The Smithsonian has restored and put on display a 19th century book known as "The Jefferson Bible." (Courtesy of the Smithsonian)
Before everyone gets in a tizzy over this article, please do everyone a favor and read the whole thing. It's interesting how this author throws rocks at David Barton.
Slavery is bad but I have slaves is probably the most visible.
I heard Santorum wants to make Latin the official language.
HOLDS two views on every subject.
That's why I roll my eyes when someone uses a Jefferson quote to support their point.
But in Jefferson's defense, he wrote voluminously about everything under the son for 50 years so it's not surprising his thinking evolves over time.
I notice I wrote “everything under the son”. Interesting slip.
The left don't like their version of history being challenged.
Today, the facts about "The Jefferson Bible" might seem like an impossible obstacle to anyone who wants to fashion Jefferson as a hero for right-leaning Christians and America as a "Christian nation." Instead, the book has been distorted to fit the religious right's agenda.
The author of this article has some major issues with David Barton and organized religion in general ...
He didn’t hold two views on the Book of Revealations. He held one consistent view on that part of the Bible, and it’s not one the fundamentalists will appreciate.
I find it difficult to see why Tom would go to all this trouble.
If the “non-rational” parts of the Gospels are untrue, what reason is there to believe the remaining parts bear any relationship to what actually happened?
I’ve read several bios of Tom, and there’s little doubt he was not either an atheist or a Christian in the traditional sense.
He was quite devout in the Church of Tom, where Tom decided what was true and what wasn’t. A kind of megalomania, IMO.
It is entirely appropriate to have major issues with David Barton.
As for Barton, he has a habit of having to take back things he said. Google his name and “unconfirmed quotations”.
Better than ebonics!
First off, there is no book of "RevelationS". Second, there is no generally accepted view of eschatology held among conservative Protestant Christians. (I have no idea what the word "fundamentalists" means in the context of your post.)
Given that Jefferson rejected the divinity of Christ, the Resurrection, the virgin birth, etc, etc I'm sure there are plenty of Christians who have issues with Jefferson.
I'm SURE you're one of the exceptions./s
"In a sense, we each form our own canon of acceptable ideas; we each have our own "apocrypha" of marginal thoughts, and our own collection of ideas which we discard into the void, dismissing them from our canon of thought entirely." "One man saw another sitting at the table with a Bible, pen in hand. He was using the pen to make a series of horizontal lines in the Bible's text.
"Underlining your favorite verses?" the first man asked cheerfully.
"Nope," the man with the pen replied. "I'm crossing out the parts that don't apply to me!"
".....The basic claims of Christianity are still there, canon or no canon.
The anecdote above, indeed, reveals the pointlessness of arguing about the canon. The tendency towards syncretism, and the application of personally-preferred truths to the minimization of those found less comfortable, is inescapable, especially in our modern, post-modern environment. Whether God had a hand in the selection and forming of the canon, or whether it was just a random assortment thrown together by the winds of history, the result will be the same: There will always be those, believer and non-believer alike, who will take mental pen in hand and "cross out" the parts of the Bible (or any set of ideas, for that matter) that they find uncomfortable, or add on things that will personally give them a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. ...."
Exactly. Jefferson was no Christian. He was a Deist. And his views on the “separation of church and state” have confused and complicated many away from the true intent of our Constitution.
His “Bible” is representative of his political views as well.
False and incomplete.
I do not understand why “ fundamenalists” or whatever people feel the need to believe enrything literally.
As TJ pointed out the basic message of Jesus and Christianity are remarkable enough.
I enjoyed the article and I think Jefferson was closer to Christian than atheist.
I quite agree.
However I personally try to adapt my opinions to what I perceive the Bible as teaching, rather than the other way around.
No doubt I fail to fully implement this, and deceive myself that I’m doing so when I’m not.
OTOH, I’ve never sat down and cut out parts of the Bible that I dislike.
Possibly Tom was just more honest with himself than I am. But I don’t think so.
Tom was a very interesting guy, and had many more unpleasant aspects to his character than is the common perception among Americans.
Doris Kearns Goodwin has risen above that bar and rehabilitated herself. Oh, yes. That was just plagiarism she was found guilty of -- not wholesale invention.