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The Jefferson Bible Hardcover – July 4, 2001
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Religion in America [gained] something unique from Jefferson. . . . His Jesus was a figure fitted for the Enlightenment, rational but not divine.—Gustav Niebuhr, New York Times
"The Founding Father's treatment of the Bible was radical. . . . Today, historians such as Yale University's Jaroslav Pelikan are struck by the project's 'sheer audacity' . . . Jefferson's Bible is a curious sidelight on an ever-intriguing figure, whose image has become more controversial in recent years."—Richard N. Ostling, Associated Press
"Gives us a preaching Jesus of distinctly human dimensions, without miracles or resurrection. [A] fascinating document, telling us a great deal about a great eighteenth-century mind and its world." —Charles S. Adams, Religious Studies Review
"These excerpts from the four Gospels are among the most interesting and compelling in all of the Scripture. They emphasize Jesus' ethical lessons of love, reverence, forbearance, reproachment, repentance, and forgiveness." —Garrett Ward Sheldon, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
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Top Customer Reviews
The Smithsonian Edition of his Bible is a true copy of the historical document that was given to our national museum by Jefferson's heirs. It includes side-by-side texts in Latin, Greek, French and the King James version of our 'Holy Bible.' This is the bible I want to turn to in my later years to 'accentuate the positive' in Christianity. This is part of the core of my daily devotions.
This edition is not only the Jefferson Bible. It begins with an historical appreciation of Jefferson's approach to a personal faith and it traces how the bible came to be assembled over time. Another chapter traces its history as an artefact and there is an essay on how it was conserved. Finally, about page 50, the document begins.
As an aside, this is also a 'book' that looks like a classic and feels like a classic. This is a Smithsonian reproduction of one of the most significant texts in American history. The paper feels wonderful. The images reproduce the idea of custom papers so dear to bibliophiles. But, the payoff is in the content.
I have read various versions of the Jefferson Bible, and this is easily the best. The book starts off with the history of the Jefferson Bible, then there is a chapter on the Smithsonian Institution's conservation of the original book. After that comes the facsimile reproduction of Jefferson's "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted Textually from the Gospels in Greek, Latin French and English".
When I say facsimile, I mean it is an exact copy, right down to the yellowish shade of paper and the obvious slight stains on many of the pages. The reproduction even goes as far as to show where the ink bled through as Jefferson numbered the pages at the top. This facsimile is so well done that the pasting of the various verses seem nearly three-dimensional. There are several places where Jefferson pasted a small verse into the margin and then finished one of the words with his own hand. One of these small pastings is actually glued into the margin and then physically folded backwards into the book itself, just as was the original.
The pages themselves are unique in that the corners are rounded off, rather than squared, and there is a substantial feel to each of the pages. The cover of the book comes with a heavy clear plastic jacket.
If you are a connoisseur of Jefferson's words, and you are open-minded enough to look at the life of Jesus from a more objective, rather than supernatural, view, this is a wonderful place to start.
As a side note, go to iTunes and search "The Thomas Jefferson Hour". Humanities scholar and author Clay Jenkinson portrays Jefferson, and his one hour shows are both entertaining and historically instructive.
I am going to purchase a few more of these books to give to open-minded friends.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you just want to know about Jefferson's Bible, there are less expensive options that should satisfy...Read more
prior to this I was not aware of Jefferson's belief that Jesus was not divine
this version shows what Jefferson left in his...Read more