Jefferson and the Bible: A Response to David Barton on the Glenn Beck Show, Part Five

When David Barton was clearing the air on the Glenn Beck Show (8/16/12), he muddied the water regarding Jefferson and the so-called Jefferson Bible.  Here is the segment:Barton begins by sayingHe [Jefferson] cut out the passages and put them all together and he told his friends this is what we can use with the Indians, cause you can read the life of Christ here.Glenn Beck lets this claim go without challenge. However, this is an astonishing claim. We have not been able to … [Read more...]

Don’t believe David Barton, Glenn Beck or me: Read the Jefferson Bible for yourself

Sunday and earlier today, I posted about David Barton's recent appearance on the Glenn Beck Show where Barton made claims about The Jefferson Bible.Barton said that Jefferson included miracles such as feeding the multitudes and raising the dead in his 1804 extraction from the Gospels (he didn't). The best reconstruction of the 1804 extraction can be found in a 1983 book published by the Princeton University Press and edited by Dickinson Adams, titled Jefferson's Extracts from the … [Read more...]

Was the Jefferson Bible just the words of Jesus? Part 2

In the mail Saturday, I received my copy of the Smithsonian edition of the Jefferson Bible. It is a marvelous reproduction of the original on display at the Smithsonian. Here is a picture of one of the pages which is photograph of the original manuscript:You can't see the words well but Jefferson cut out the portions of the New Testament he wanted to include in Greek, French, Latin and English. Verses are arranged so that the reader can see how they are translated in each language.I am … [Read more...]

Is the Jefferson Bible just the words of Jesus?

In his American Heritage series, David Barton  told Matthew and Laurie Crouch that the Jefferson Bible was Thomas Jefferson's attempt to construct a Bible to evangelize the Indians. He said that Jefferson put together the "red letters" or the words of Christ (often written in red in King James Bibles) for this Bible so he could get across the moral teachings of Jesus. Listen to Barton's claims in this video:Regarding Jefferson and his edited Bible, Barton said:I have to stop … [Read more...]

Did Thomas Jefferson give the Jefferson Bible to missionaries?

I can't find the original quote, but Craig Fehrman wrote in the LA Times yesterday that Daivd Barton said Jefferson gave his edited Bible to missionaries to evangelize Indians.Fehrman says that is a fabrication. I wonder if Barton will answer this charge.In any case, the LA Times article is worth a read.As I have written here, if Jefferson meant for his Bible to be an evangelism tool, then he was pushing a different Christianity than the orthodox version.Here is … [Read more...]

Was the Jefferson Bible an evangelism tool?

David Barton says it was. Barton is a collector of historical documents who is a favorite of Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. On his website, Wallbuilders, Barton says:The reader, as do many others, claimed that Jefferson omitted all miraculous events of Jesus from his “Bible.” Rarely do those who make this claim let Jefferson speak for himself. Jefferson's own words explain that his intent for that book was not for it to be a “Bible,” but rather for it to be a primer for the Indians on the t … [Read more...]

Today in history: George Washington on religious freedom

To Bigotry No Sanction, to Persecution No Assistance...-George WashingtonOn August 17, 1790, President George Washington wrote a letter to Moses Seixas and the Jewish congregation of Newport, RI. Washington did so in response to a letter sent by the group when Washington visited their city. The account is on the Library of Congress website and provides important historical context for debates over freedom of religion for Muslims.On August 17, 1790, the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode … [Read more...]


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