Skip to comments.'The Thomas Jefferson Bible' to Be Published in Color by the Smithsonian
Posted on 09/08/2011 3:14:03 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Smithsonian Books will release Thomas Jeffersons cut-and-paste Bible in a never-before-seen color edition in November.
Formally titled 'The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth', The Jefferson Bible was an attempt by the famed founding father to separate the gold from the dross and remove and extract what he felt was most pertinent of Christs teachings from the Bible.
Using a razor, Jefferson literally cut and arranged selected verses from the books of Matthew, Luke, and John and created a single narrative, devoid of any divinity, miracles, prophecy, resurrection, and other elements he found unnecessary and misinterpreted by the Four Evangelists.
There was no mention of the virgin birth, Christs bodily resurrection, walking on water, or raising of Lazarus among a few of the unselected passages.
In extracting the pure principles which [Jesus] taught, we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms, as instruments of riches and power to themselves, he described in a letter to John Adams in 1813.
We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists, select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus... There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.
Explicitly performing the operation for his own use, Jefferson created an octavo of forty-six pages of pure and unsophisticated doctrines, where he sought to distinguish the diamonds from the dunghill.
His version of the Bible was kept hidden from most people, and was only published after his death, having been passed on from generation to generation. The most complete form was published in 1895 by the National Museum in Washington.
As the book lacked in several key tenets of Christianity, many questioned Jeffersons beliefs.
He, however, avidly described himself to be a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other, according to Beliefnet.
The the nation's third president felt that, if the doctrines had been preached always as pure as they came from [Jesus] lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian.
David Barton, evangelical Christian minister and founder of WallBuilders, defended Jeffersons faith as well.
Jeffersons own words explain that his intent for that book was not for it to be a Bible, but rather for it to be a primer for the Indians on the teachings of Christ (which is why Jefferson titled that work, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,' Barton penned on his website. What Jefferson did," he added, "was to take the red letter portions of the New Testament and publish these teachings in order to introduce the Indians to Christian morality.
Barton believed that Jefferson was using his red letter book to evangelize to the Indians, wanting them to understand the teachings of Jesus, without what he believed to be misinterpretations by the Gospel authors.
But many theologians and scholars remained skeptical regardless, asserting that without acknowledging Jesus divinity and resurrection, Christianity was baseless.
Jeffersons work, in fact, ended with Jesus death, without the resurrection.
How can you evangelize without the victory dance of the resurrection? Warren Throckmorton, associate professor of psychology at Grove City College, asked on his website. From the writings and his reduction of the New Testament, it appears that he thought Jesus was an overachiever in the moral sense, an enlightened teacher who provided his students with enduring guidance.
To Jefferson, Jesus was simply an extraordinary man, but not a holy man, according to Beliefnet. Some readers who already read Jeffersons original published work were also unconvinced of his faith.
I can appreciate Jeffersons struggle with the theology and content of the Gospels as presented in the bible, writes Stephanie Levan, on goodreads.com. I think he had good intentions he was struggling to understand his own beliefs and faith in God. So in an attempt to explain things he couldnt logically explain, such as the divinity of Jesus, he reconstructed the gospels into one new gospel that excluded any verses/passages that talked of healing miracles and being the son of God.
While I can understand this struggle, I still agree with C.S. Lewis who said that either Jesus was the son of God or insane I dont think we can truly respect his humanity without acknowledging his divinity, Levan concluded.
Another reader quoted Rebecca Manley Pippert, who said, We cannot separate His demands from His love. We cannot dissect Jesus and relate only to the parts we like.
The history behind it and the book itself are interesting, but the content is misguided and harmful, Nathan Markley noted, on Amazon. Jesus life revolved not around his teachings but his identity.
Despite the criticisms, the Smithsonian is moving ahead with its November release of the latest edition of Jeffersons work.
It will be available in hardcover and features an introduction by Smithsonian curators Barbara Clark Smith and Harry Rubenstein.
We wouldn't be talking about Christ today if he only was the Dalai Lama of the day.
To select only part of Christ teaching and leave out of the context his divinity is to deceive.
I believe Jefferson requested info on the religious teachings of the indians....but I forgot from whom...Maybe Kirkland?? or Wheeler himself??
I guess this shows that even smart people sometimes do stupid things. It sounds like a precursor to the “Jesus Seminar” crowd.
Some Rue Paul tendencies.
"And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophesy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from things which are written in this book." Revelation 22:19
"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:15 ("Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" Mark 9:44)
IMO it was Congress that decided to call it the Jefferson Bible. I do not believe Jefferson ever called it anything other than the Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth— I also agree with David Barton In letters written by Jefferson he suggested it might be used to introduce Christianity to the indians. Jefferson was hostile toward the Calvinists of his day—and against any state church—but he believed Jesus was
“more perfect, and sublime than any of the ancient philosophers.” That the system of Morals taught by Jesus was better than any other. Like most Americans his views on Christianity changed over time—but he did study the Bible perhaps more than most modern Americans, and in the French, Latin, and Greek texts.He did believe in God-and that God had given gifts to man-as suggested in his Notes on the State of Virginia (that portion memorialized in the Jefferson Memorial Washington D.C.... Jefferson likewise thought of himself as a true Christian -and even disputed with a man who said he did not believe in God.And he was a regular in the Christian worship held in the Capitol when President and even asked the Marine Corps Band to provide
instrumental accompaniment when not deployed to duty elsewhere.He made no objection to Christian worship in Government buildings and as the man in control of education in Washington D.C> schools had the Bible and Watts hymnal included in the texts used in D.C. schools. I hear there are several Preachers today in Christian churches who do not believe Jesus was part of the Trinity ,or Divine—Even Preachers who do not believe in God/ in Heaven /or Hell.
All things considered I do not know if Jefferson ever worked out his questions about Jesus with God or not - I’ve got a copy of the so called Jefferson Bible from 1940 with explanation of how the so called Jefferson bible came to be.
I do not consider it a study Bible-but a novelty- and little different than the paraphrase texts such as the Living Bible
All things considered I prefer Jefferson in his own words as opposed to anything written about him that may have its own vested interests.
Without the resurrection, Christian morality is no different than any other decent religious teaching.
Paul sums it up succinctly in 1 Cor 15:17-19
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”
There is no power in the message of Christ without the resurrection.
The bible has changed many times. If you could get your hands on a Gutenberg bible, you’d find many books not included in what you know as the bible. You’d find that Luther’s bible different from the Roman bible, which itself existed in many version. Too many changes by too many individuals and councils to list here.
You consider it be an insufficient moral code among the living? In what regard?
A lot of people have been removed from the Book of Life then, apparently.
I am glad the communists are focusing on this. Christians can use it to address Jefferson’s excerpts in context.
Are there any public, intellegent Christians out there to do it? Won’t find them in the magical money mega-churches, I am afraid.
The original hasn't. Many have edited and abridged the original to conform God's word to themselves as opposed to conforming themselves to God's word.
The Ghost Society and Cambridge Apostle occultists Westcott and Hort did some changing when they were translating though from what I can gather their translation isn’t used much...sure hope not. Then there’s the Convocation of Canterbury people...
“The original hasn’t.”
Is the goal to get to heaven? Jesus said no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. Is the goal to be good? Jesus said there is none good but God alone.
If heaven is not ones goal, then yes, the moral code contained in the words of Jesus is sufficient. Along with any other good moral code we have available to us.
The Gutenberg Bible is the Vulgate translation, which can be read online. The version here contains the Apocrypha, but otherwise it's the same Bible that most of us use today. Although the Bible has undergone many translations and may or may not include the Apocrypha, for most Christians, it has remained the same since the Third Council of Carthage in AD 397.
The bible has changed. A great example of changes that have occured in modern times is the removal of mythical creatures from the bible.
Here is what happened to the mythical creature known as the Satyr - are most commonly described in Latin literature as having the upper half of a man and the lower half of a goat
The Satyr has been reclassified twice. Once he was changed to a wild goat and in an newer version he has been changed to a shaggy goat.
But wilde beastes of the desert shall lye there, and their houses shalbe full of dolefull creatures, and owles shall dwell there, and Satyres shall daunce there.
- King James Version (1611)
But desert creatures will lie down there, And their houses will be full of owls; Ostriches also will live there, and shaggy goats will frolic there.
- New American Standard Version (1995)
But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and ostriches shall dwell there, and wild goats shall dance there.
- American Standard Version (1901)
If you do the research you’ll find that the cockatrice, and the Unicorn have also been edited out of modern versions of the Bible, so yes, the Bible has been changed many times.
Sure, there have been some minor changes. But has the substance of the Bible changed?