- Hardcover: 245 pages
- Publisher: Univ Pr of Kentucky; 1st edition (January 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0813120179
- ISBN-13: 978-0813120171
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,659,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jefferson's Declaration of Independence: Origins, Philosophy and Theology 1st Edition
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"Jaynes Jefferson is right on the mark." -- Isaac Kramnick, Cornell University
"Learned and clearly written." -- Ralph Ketcham, Journal of the Early Republic
"Should stand for some time as the definitive work on the philosophy of the Declaration of Independence." -- Norman K. Risjord, Journal of Southern History
A meticulously researched, cogently argued view of Jefferson. -- Christopher M. Duncan, Perspectives on Political Science
Jayne asserts persuasively that theology was as important as philosophy in the eclectic world view of [the Declarations] author. Stimulating. -- Louis R. Harlan, Key Reporter
Top customer reviews
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Garry Wills in his Inventing America (1978) credits the Scottish Enlightenment as Jefferson's primary source of ideas. But Allen Jayne meticulously shows that Jefferson was much more "eclectic," building from Henry St. John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke; John Locke; Henry Home, Lord Kames; and Thomas Reid. Furthermore, quite beyond justifying our separation from England, Jayne focuses on what he calls a "heterodox theology" in the first paragraph of the Declaration, which replaces the Judeo-Christian orthodoxy with the "laws of Nature and of Nature's God." The "laws of nature," both moral and scientific, as Jayne explains, rejects not only the doctrine of predestination and original sin, but the idea of a chosen people. Instead, "Nature's God" created mankind as a social being endowed with a "moral sense" and "reason," by which individuals are capable of discovering truth on their own, without the aide of church or revelation. As Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia Peter S. Onuf observes, it was Jefferson's "first paragraph that changed the world."
Throughout his book, Allen Jayne demonstrates that Jefferson's vision in the Declaration while not containing, in Jefferson's words, "new principles or new arguments never before thought of," is not only an engaging and benevolent conception. It is a coherent philosophy as well.
Moreover, Jayne makes laughable the claim by Pauline Maier in her American Scripture (1997) that the various other Declarations (at least 90) issued throughout the 13 colonies (between April and July 1776), say much the same thing as Jefferson in his Declaration. Given this reasoning, the several hundred composers who lived and worked during the time of Mozart, deserve as much acclaim as Mozart.
Of the more than 6,000 titles in the Jefferson bibliography, Allen Jayne's book is a most welcome and profound work. It is a new level of scholarship on the Declaration. Nothing could be more important than for Americans to understand their founding document.
By Sydney N. Stokes, Jr.
The Jefferson Legacy Foundation