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THE JEFFERSON BIBLE What Thomas Jefferson Selected as The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Kindle Edition

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Length: 147 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was America’s third president and the author of the Declaration of Independence.

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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Norman Strojny on January 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
"The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth; The Jefferson Bible" is Thomas Jefferson's Unitarian idea of what Jesus said and believed. Jefferson's idea was simple, but deeply meaningful. Unitarians believe there is one God and that the notion of a 'Trinity' is mistaken. As a Unitarian, Jefferson had the idea of taking the four Gospels, as they were, and cutting out all mention of miracles or of Jesus being God. Jeferson bought two copies of the four Gospels and cut out and pasted together only those passages that quoted Jesus and showed his life and he discarded any direct mention of Jesus as God or anything about miracles. There was no mention of virgin birth or of resurection. Jefferson rearranged the passages, keeping similar themes together, in a logical fashion. What emerged was a book of sayings from a man, who was a philosopher and a teacher and who spoke to everyone about belief in God and moral behavior.

If one reads this short book, one finds, as Jefferson did, the teachings of Jesus, stripped of most of the ideas of others. Jefferson's idea had been very simple. However, the book is a wonderful teaching tool, that focuses on Jesus, separate from all that was not important to Jesus, the philosopher and teacher.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in what Jesus taught, rather than what the various Christian churches teach, today. If you are a Trinitarian Christian (Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, or Protestant), I believe that this book will not discourage your own faith, but will help you to understand Jesus and his own teachings.
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778 of 887 people found the following review helpful By Rob Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Thomas Jefferson was no Christian. Like many of the most famous of the founding fathers, he was a Deist, and counted himself a Unitarian, but he often said he was the sole member of a sect including no one but himself. He had confidence in his own reason and conscience. He did admire Jesus, saying, "Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being." It was Jefferson's view that he himself could sort the truth from the imposture, for he felt that the real words applicable to Jesus were "as distinguishable as diamonds in a dunghill." He thought about the process of doing so for many years, did a quick job around 1800 and did a thorough one in 1820. His purpose was to make his own version of the gospels, an extraction that would summarize Jesus's life and morals, for "I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man. I adhere to the principles of the first age; and consider all subsequent innovations as corruptions of his religion, having no foundation in what came from him."
It was not enough for the polyglot Jefferson to make such a distillation from the King James Version; he also bought a couple of Greek, French, and Latin versions to use, two volumes of each, for his plan was to cut and paste the parts that he found useful into one volume, but using all four languages.
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222 of 253 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Crocker on April 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Did you ever wonder what the Gospels would be like without all that supernatural stuff? Thomas Jefferson did, and he found out [in around 1820] by using multiple copies of the Bible and a razor blade. The result was The Life and Morals Of Jesus of Nazareth in four languages. The Jefferson Bible reprints the english version of The Life And Morals along with an excellent introductory essay by Forrest Church, Unitarian minister and son of Senator Frank Church, and a decent closing essay by Jaroslav Pelikan. I have known about the Jefferson Bible for years, but finally read it this year on Easter [it seemed like a good thing for an atheist and rationalist to do]. Jesus said some pretty cool things [and some pretty spacey things], and the force of the teachings come out more when divorced from everything else that appears with them in the New Testament. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the teachings of Jesus, or the mind and the religion of the writer of the Declaration of Independence. And if your neighbor starts telling you that the public schools should start teaching the religion of the Founding Fathers, you can give them a copy of the Jefferson Bible.
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155 of 176 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
How many of us have read the Bible in its entirety? I dare say, not many of us. Imagine how serious a thinker Jefferson must have been for him to make the effort to do that. On the other hand, imagine how objective a thinker he must have been to fashion, straight from the Bible, the world's first ever bible of morals, ethics, and character. That is one of his little known, most important contributions to humanity. No less than that, my dear fellow Americans, is the true enormity of his Biblical analysis and editing. The only other book I have ever found that recognizes Jefferson as the first to "write" a book on morals, ethics, and character, and in that sense a pioneer itself, is "West Point" by Norman Thomas Remick. To gain more insight into the religious/philosophical side of Jefferson, I recommend you go on to reading that book after reading the "Jefferson Bible".
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