Nation's third president compiled the four Gospels into a single text without miracles that ends with Jesus' burial rather than the resurrection.
By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer July 5, 2008
Making good on a promise to a friend to summarize his views on Christianity, Thomas Jefferson set to work with scissors, snipping out every miracle and inconsistency he could find in the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.Then, relying on a cut-and-paste technique, he reassembled the excerpts into what he believed was a more coherent narrative and pasted them onto blank paper -- alongside translations in French, Greek and Latin.
In a letter sent from Monticello to John Adams in 1813, Jefferson said his "wee little book" of 46 pages was based on a lifetime of inquiry and reflection and contained "the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man."
He called the book "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth." Friends dubbed it the Jefferson Bible. It remains perhaps the most comprehensive expression of what the nation's third president and principal author of the Declaration of Independence found ethically interesting about the Gospels and their depiction of Jesus.
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Here are some of my thoughts:
- This is a perfect example of one's existing paradigm trumping God's revelation.
- If you have a Bible like Jefferson's, the Word of God will never change you.
- It's a perfect example of the view of Christianity as nothing more than moralitic teachings of Jesus.
- Take the Gospel out and you have "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth" by Thomas Jefferson.
- People do it now all the time mentally.