David Barton spins the Jefferson Lies on Glenn Beck, Part 2

Sunday, I posted video of David Barton telling Glenn Beck that Jefferson’s 1804 extraction of verses from the Gospels contained miracles. Here again is the video and then the relevant transcription follows:


In the clip, Barton tells Beck that Jefferson included lots of miracles in his 1804 effort to extract from the Gospels what Jefferson said was “evidently his [Jesus’].” Barton said Jefferson included verses where

Jesus is raising people from the dead, he’s healing the sick, he’s casting out lepers(?), he’s taking food and multiplying for thousands. He also talks about the resurrection, heaven, hell, the second coming. It’s all there.

Jefferson believed in an afterlife and so the verses about people being judged on the basis of their works are not in dispute. We take up the nuances of Jefferson’s beliefs about the afterlife in our book, Getting Jefferson Right.

We also examine in great detail Barton’s claims in The Jefferson Lies that Jefferson included miracles in the 1804 version. For now, I want to provide images of the verses that Jefferson used to guide his work for his 1804 extraction. The original “wee little book” has not been preserved and so there are some verses that are disputed but we can say for sure that Matthew 9 (raising Jairus’ daughter, and healings) are not in the 1804 version as Barton claims in The Jefferson Lies. Also, the feedings of the 5,000 and 4,000 are not in Jefferson’s Gospel extraction (neither 1804 nor 1820) as he claims here. I have no idea where Barton gets these claims.

Here are the tables (click on them to enlarge):

It takes work to go through all of these, but I can save you some time. Jesus is not raising people from the dead or feeding thousands in either one of Jefferson’s extractions.

Glenn Beck’s slogan for his show is: The Truth Lives Here. During this episode, the truth visited somewhere else.

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  • Jim Guinnessey

    Glenn Back and David Barton are like termites in your house. Once you think you have got ridden of them they are back! To many urban dwellers and sophisticated Americans , persons such as David Barton and Glenn Beck may seem to be has-beens with little or no relevancy. But to the great majority of rural American evangelicals who believe in an apocalyptic America and even to those who just hate government Beck and Barton and their ilk are very much alive and persuasive on the air waves and the lecture circuits.

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ Tom Van Dyke

    Barton: “[Jesus] also talks about the resurrection, heaven, hell, the second coming. It’s all there.”

    Dr. T, a look at Table 2 indicates

    “L. 21. 34-36. Mt. 25. 31-46. the day of judgment”

    Which has Christ’s Second Coming, the Day of Judgment, heaven and hell, the whole eschatological megillah. If I read this right, there’s the Son of Man coming back in all his glory, something we would not expect of the Gospels stripped down to mere moral teaching.

    Thank you for your principled work on David Barton.

    Matthew 25:31-46 reads

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. ”

  • stephen


  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ Tom Van Dyke

    You see the problem, Warren. People just want to choose sides; few are interested in the truth of the matter. The Second Coming passage is in Jefferson’s notes, [as is Luke 14:1-6, which includes a healing miracle].

    L. 14. 1-6. the Sabbath.

    [Bold face = Jefferson’s notes, see photos infra the OP]

    “One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.

    5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child[a] or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.”

    On the other hand, Barton’s completely wrong about Matthew 10, because Jefferson conspicuously omits verses 7-8

    “7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”

    Jefferson kept verses 5-6, then picked up at verse 9.

    Mt. 10. 5-6, 9-18, 23, 26-31.

    Thank you, Dr. T. I trust you’ll keep the torches and pitchforks at bay.

  • http://johnbenneth.wordpress.com John Benneth

    I inadvertently Iistened to an interview of Barton by Beck today (4/29/12) as Mittney’s Clear Channel had pre-empted libtalk radio with yet another fumbling baseball game (how miserable it is that Bain corporate fascism gets away with it) and found the Barton interview to be surprisingly fascinating, and got a little bit of a diffent take on it from what I’ve yet to hear via Hartmann et al, Warren, which Barton I think leans. I have often thought that Christianity would be much improved if the Matthew 5,6 and 7 were torn from it and the rest burned or flushed down the toilet, with a few related fragments as possible exceptions, such as Luke 6:20-43 and Acts 4:32. The psychokinetic miracles of Christianity are but chafe to its primary one, its doctrine, its teaching of human relationships, and it seems from Barton’;s view, Jefferson would agree.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      John – Has Barton changed his view of Jefferson all of a sudden? Last week he told Beck that Jefferson left in the miracles of healing, feeding the multitudes and raising the dead. Did he recant on those claims?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Tom – The Luke passage is a disputed one because Jefferson clipped out the healing in the 1820 version. He may have done so in the 1804 version. Since all we have is a reconstruction we don’t know what he did with verse 4 in the 1804 version. Jefferson clearly wanted to get across that the Sabbath was not so sacred that good could not be done on it, but because of his handling of this passage in 1820, we cannot conclude that he included the healing in the earlier version.

    For comparison, see the Life and Morals of Jesus use of Luke 14 here.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    Not only has Jewish teaching always allowed the saving of a life on Shabbat (or “healing,” if you will) – it has COMMANDED it. This was true before Jesus and after it until today. For God gave us the mitzvot that we should live and fulfill them, not die in obsessive and meaningless observance.

    I suppose there aren’t many passages in the Christian scriptures that demonstrate this; just Jesus chastising the perfidious jews for attempting to scold him. I can see and appreciate Jefferson’s conundrum.

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ Tom Van Dyke

    Warren, my point isn’t what Jefferson believed, only that it’s not unreasonable for Barton to include that healing passage in Luke 14.

    And do you allow that Jefferson’s notes put in the Second Coming from Matthew 25:31-46?

    That’s far more important and interesting than Barton blowing Matthew 10, which he did.

    Barton lazily accepted second-hand research instead of doing it for himself, but that’s the whole damn problem on all sides. Me, I think there are a lot of professional scholars out there who never did the spadework on Jefferson’s bible stuff, and so are too embarrassed to enter the fray as well.

    I’m tired of the culture war where Barton ignores half the truth but then his critics ignore the other half. I’ve admired the thoroughness of your work and hope that the people without an agenda can find the diamonds in Barton’s dunghill, so to speak.

    That Jefferson included the Second Coming of the Son of Man and heaven and hell and all that stuff in Matthew 25 is no small diamond. It’s a Big Deal.

    This is no mere “deism” on Jefferson’s part, or Jesus cast as a mere moral teacher, which frankly, was “common knowledge” about Jefferson I had no reason to doubt until I looked this all up for myself this morning.

    And you’re also correct about Barton astoundingly citing several miracles in Matthew 9: I can’t find Mt 9 in Jefferson’s notes atall. Nor the loaves and the fishes: I searched for each of the 4 accounts of that but they’re not in Jefferson’s notes. I spent the afternoon on this, doing my homework to hold up my end of this colloquy. I’m not here to fight.

    Neither do I think the private Jefferson necessarily believed the the Biblical account of the Second Coming. I’d bet he didn’t. But the public Jefferson put it out there and that matters, perhaps more than the private Jefferson does.

    Thank you for your time and good faith, Warren. I’d like us all to put our flags and banners away and to take this stuff out of the hands of the haters, if we can.

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ Tom Van Dyke

    The psychokinetic miracles of Christianity are but chafe to its primary one, its doctrine, its teaching of human relationships, and it seems from Barton’s view, Jefferson would agree.

    In reply to John Benneth, if I may, both John Adams and John Locke allow exactly that, that performing miracles was necessary so that the people would believe that Jesus’ message carried divine authority.

    [Not that Jesus was God, mind you, but that he was empowered by God. Adams repudiated the Trinity and Locke is suspect on it.]

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ Tom Van Dyke

    Warren, thank you for your exc work on Jefferson clipping verse 5 from Luke 14 in the 1720 version, where Jesus heals the man “with dropsy.”


    Which shows own Jefferson’s dishonesty and absurdity, of course—the passage as a whole makes no sense unless Jesus heals the man on the Sabbath, that he draws the ox out of the pit.

    And all I can say in Barton’s defense is that this level of thoroughness of your research is beyond him. This level of understanding that Jefferson himself was a sophistic SOB is beyond David Barton’s understanding. Jefferson’s excision of Luke 14:5 is inexcusable, since it renders the passage meaningless.

    David Barton has always been a babe in the woods with this stuff. That’s what got him started in the first place. Sophisticated types think he’s as clever and malicious as they are. They’re wrong on both counts.

    He’s not half as clever or malicious as they are.

  • http://johnbenneth.wordpress.com John Benneth

    Warren Throckmorton: “Has Barton changed his view of Jefferson all of a sudden? Last week he told Beck that Jefferson left in the miracles of healing, feeding the multitudes and raising the dead. Did he recant on those claims?”

    Dear Warren- I did not hear David Barton issue any retractions or recantations. But he did say something that has made me change my mind on the putative belief that Thomas Jefferson edited out the thaumaturgy from the Gospel because of his disbelief in it, as I was formerly led to believe.

    Mr. Barton said that Jefferson cut up two Bibles to give omplete NT passages to a printer for publishing an abridged version of Christianity to the Indians that included the thaumaturgy . . in 1804.

    I followed your instruction to investigate the Jefferson Bibe for myself and found no specific condemnation of anything, but simply what appeared to be a cut and paste job. Whereas it is evident that Jefferson left out references to angels, Jesus’ genealogy, His prophecy, miracles by Him and His followers, His divinity and resurrection, I found nothing to support his disbelief of these things or secularism.

    In Jefferson’s commentary he complains of interpolation by priests. . but I have yet to see any refutation of any specific thaumaturgical event. What I did read was that he felt Christ’s dicta was used by theologians for their own means, and I have seen nothing in today’s churches and theology to suggest anything has changed.

    However, I think it is quite clear Jefferson was insane to think he could rectify Christianity by excluding from it what didn’t suit him, when in fact it demands its followers divest themselves of all material possessions and live as communists (Acts 4:32).

    The “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth” referred to as the “Jefferson Bible” looks like nothing more than notes for a project similar to the 1804 project Barton speaks of featuring the miracles of Christ.

    The “Jefferson Bible” was done in 1820, almost two decades after he lazily ordered the work be done in octavo by philogistonist Joseph Priestly in 1803, saying he “didn’t have the time” to do it himself. It came out later as a limited edition from Priestley’s dying hands, published in 1804, just in time to be taken West with Lewis and Clark.

    At Jefferson’s urging, Priestly had also cut up two Bibles for the passages of the 52 miracles, translated into Chinook. The poor man died moaning that he would go to Hell for it.


    What modern “Christian” teaching fails to explicitly do is reconcile this division between thaumaturgist and humanitarian, show cause and effect, that such paranormal phenomena regarded as “miracles” cannot be worked without first accepting the humanitarian doctrine of anti-materialism and love, left out of modern “Christianity” per force. What we are left with is Iscariotism.

    Unfortunately neither does Jefferson appear to make this point in his cut “Bible,” but it was quite clear in Priestley’s earlier 1804 project, entitled “Skookum Tamanawis” i.e. “powerful magic” that tells the story of “Tacoma” the pre-Colombian white prophet who, accompanied by two golden wolves, evangelized among the Northwest tribes with demonstrations of supernatural powers of healing, telepathy, tele-transport and psychokinesis.

    Evangelism . . this is what Lewis and Clark’s true mission from President Jefferson was, to convert the Indians to True Christianity, Primitive Christianity.

    And who knows? Maybe Jefferson changed his beliefs. He also used up his latter years excoriating the press, which he had extolled in the earlier. In any event, the grand effect o Jeffersonian Christian Evangelism was to finally pacify the Indians and allow for their easy extermination.

    So really, why should I care? My experience regarding Christian thaumaturgy shapes my beliefs, not Jefferson or anyone else.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/DeistReality?feature=mhee DeistReality

    So much to say about the moral mischief of these kinds of people. If they can turn a man into a god they certainly can turn our founding fathers into anything they want them to be. I’ve done some video’s on the matter with more to come. Great post! Nice to know there’s others who smell the bull!

  • http://am-perspectives.blogspot.com/ James Ferguson

    Barton conflates the two editions into one. At times, he is referring to the intent of the 1804 edition, referencing the preface, at other times brandishing what he claims to be an early Congressional publication of the 1820 edition, which wasn’t published until 1905.

    Obviously, the surviving Jefferson Bible doesn’t suit his arguments, as it is cross-referenced in four languages, which was obviously never intended to be spread among the Indians. Nor, does Barton pause to think that by “Indians” Jefferson may have been referring to the Federalists, who he was at odds with. The only thing we have is a preface that mentions “Indians,” as he always referred to this undertaking for his own personal use in his letters to Priestley, Adams and others.

  • http://am-perspectives.blogspot.com/ James Ferguson

    I always assumed that his reason Jefferson bought two Bibles is so that he could continue a passage that went from one side of a page to the other. I’ve never seen anything other than references to the 1804 edition and sales records of the two Bibles he bought. From what I have read, Jefferson sought to demystify Jesus, so it certainly wouldn’t have served his purposes to present miracles in his condensed New Testament. Jefferson seemed taken more by the teachings of Jesus, not that he acted as the hand of God on earth.

    It also doesn’t seem that Jefferson had the least interest in presenting his views to the public, much less proselytize to the Indians. This was a time in between the two “Great Awakenings” when religious fervor was at its ebb. It wouldn’t peak again until the 1830s and then largely over abolition, not converting natives.

    BTW, very good introduction by Harry Rubenstein to the recent reprint of the Smithsonian edition of the Jefferson Bible

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    James – We cover all of this thoroughly in Getting Jefferson Right. You are correct on all counts. I will add that Jefferson had in mind doing the extraction in 4 languages by 1805 when he ordered a French Bible to round out the other three languages. He didn’t complete this until after 1820. In his correspondence, Jefferson did not differentiate these efforts. He said he did the 1804 version in haste, but would return to it. This he did sometime in or after 1820 but most likely before 1824.

  • http://am-perspectives.blogspot.com/ James Ferguson

    I look forward to reading your book.. I was really appalled by Barton’s book , and the way he dodged all questions from Jon Stewart in his most recent appearance on The Daily Show. I assume this book is politically motivated, since it doesn’t seem to offer any insights into Jefferson’s faith, which has eluded most historians. I assume Jefferson adopted the “long view” when it came to religion, seeing Christianity as one of many paths to enlightenment. What really got me was Barton’s “dissertation” on UVA in Lie #2, especially the way he tried to dismiss Unitarianism, which ultimately is what Jefferson subscribed to.

    I really hadn’t paid much attention to the Jefferson Bible before but am now curious, having read various essays on the subject. It is certainly a topic worth exploring in greater depth but I guess there isn’t enough material to draw any definitive conclusions on Jefferson’s intents, as he kept his views on the subject pretty close to his sleeve.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    James – You may know this, but for other readers, I can point you to Amazon or Barnes and Noble for the eBook, which can be read on any computer connected to the Internet.

  • http://am-perspectives.blogspot.com/ James Ferguson

    I saw the title. Can it be downloaded on computer as well? Very quick response to Barton’s book. I’ve been following Chis Rodda’s comments on her website.

    I’m a little puzzled by John Bennett’s comments regarding the L&C expedition. I can only assume he is being facetious, as I’ve read quite a bit on this journey of discovery and never once did I read that their intention was to “evangelize” the Northwest tribes. There was one incident I recall where they made a traditional sauna and temporarily “cured” an old chief of his arthritis, but I don’t imagine it lasted long.

    aim had been to establish a “Northwest passage,” and Jefferson hoped that he could ally the Northwest tribes against the British and France, so as not to have another French and Indian War. This was one reason he offered to make everything above the 33rd parallel an autonomous Indian state. Of course, the irony of this is that they Northwest tribes already saw themselves as autonomous not only from the fledgling United States but each other as well. I well imagine they were bemused by all these claims being levied against them in the Northwest territory.

    Jefferson was a dreamer. He held onto this great agrarian vision of America to the very end. I think in many ways he was a Pantheist as well. He probably would have embraced the native religions if he understood them better, as some of the early Catholic missionaries had done after living among these tribes.

  • Teresa


    As a history buff, I’ve just ordered your book; and, I’m looking forward to reading it. As you’ve worked to set the record straight regarding gender issues in the face of rebuke, slander, and outright lies; you again place yourself in the gladiator’s role of ‘correcting’ bad historical scholarship knowing full well you face being maligned from ignorant (used here in its proper definition), biased, fearful persons. Somehow, the Scripture saying “and the truth will set you free” seems to have been deleted from a good many Bibles.


    Thanks for showing up here at Warren’s blog; and, linking your own blog as well. What a joy to find persons such as yourself and Warren discussing varied important historical/political issues from such studied backgrounds.

    By the by, can we at this late historical date have much of an idea of what “original intent” meant 200+ years ago?

  • StraightGrandmother

    @ James Ferguson. If you go to Amazon they have a free App that you download onto your computer and then you can read Kindle books on it. I really like it because i have an iPod and a computer and the same book you pay once and it can be then synched up with your other device. This weeek-end I will buy Warren’s book with my main reason as really just to be able to support him and importantly write a review.

  • http://am-perspectives.blogspot.com/ James Ferguson

    Thanks Teresa. I’m an armchair historian. I too am glad to see Warren Throckmorton open a blog like this and interact with readers. My blog grew out of the closing of the old New York Times reading forums, with a few of us banding together to keep the old American History reading group forum alive.

    I read the introduction and first chapters of Warren’s and Michael Coulter’s book in the amazon preview. I too was taken aback by the way Barton characterized academia, inventing terms like “academic collectivism” and crudely transposing philosophical and literary theories on history. I too got a big kick out of how he described “Minimalism,” which sums up exactly what he is doing in “The Jefferson Lies.” I can only assume this little introduction is to marginalize historians and present himself as above such “posturing.”

    What I find curious about the interview Warren linked above is the repeated references to Joseph Ellis’ American Sphinx by Beck. Barton also mentions Ellis by name in his book, one of the few historians he actually singles out. It seems that this book may have been the genesis for Barton’s book, but he rather coyly avoids any direct references.

    Instead, Barton brandishes a parchment which he claims to be the original 1803 treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians, signed by Jefferson and Madison, as if to demonstrate to gullible viewers that he explored only first source material in his book. I thought Warren did an excellent job illustrating how this treaty came about, and what its intent actually was. Needless to say, it had nothing to with “evangelizing” the already converted Kaskaskia Indians, but rather to restore land that had been stripped from them in the wake of an earlier massacre.

    It seems incredibly important to Barton to make Jefferson into an Evangelical, holding up the flimsiest of “evidence” to support his case. This reminds me of Gavin Menzies attempt to prove the Chinese first came to the Americas in 1421, by clinging to a literal handful of “evidence,” and the making a number of wild speculations as to how the Chinese achieved this. Both seem to rely exclusively on gullible readers or faithful followers, as the case may be.

  • http://www.republicaffair.com/ Chuck

    It’s so refreshing to see so many people calling Barton out on his distorted history. I published this short essay on Barton a few weeks back: http://www.republicaffair.com/swooning-the-sheeple-pseudo-historian-david-bartons-new-jefferson-book.html The distortions in this video are truly Orwellian….

  • Montana

    “When I was a kid I lived in Utah, and the Boy Scouts was taken over by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church). This, so called religion, practices underage polygamy, they send the boy s off on missions to divide the underage sisters among the dirty old men of the clan. Now when these underage girls get pregnant, these same dirty old men, send them to the state to get their welfare checks . You should see some of the palace homes that are paid with welfare checks (not on just one of course). By the way this is the newest religion that was created right here in United States of America, I guess their also in AZ, CA, NM, TX, NV, CO, OK. When someone hides behind religion to do or say something that is wrong we should stand up and point it out (right the wrong). Someone should ask Glenn Beck about it, he seems to have all the answers.”