Questions were asked in comments to my previous post entitled "General Beliefs Of Our Founding Fathers" as to "what about The Jefferson Bible?" ... the following is an article written by Louis Sahagun of the LA Times ... it is strictly his personal opinion used here for informational purposes only ... you must decide whether or not you agree with that opinion, or with The Jefferson Bible, for that is the right of every individual ...
[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. "I have performed the operation for my own use," he continued, "by cutting verse by verse out of the printed book, and arranging the matter, which is evidently his and which is as easily distinguished as diamonds in a dunghill."
In Jefferson's version of the Gospels, for example, Jesus is still wrapped in swaddling clothes after his birth in Bethlehem. But there's no angel telling shepherds watching their flocks by night that a savior has been born. Jefferson retains Jesus' crucifixion but ends the text with his burial, not with the resurrection. Stripping miracles from the story of Jesus was among the ambitious projects of a man with a famously restless mind. At 71, he read Plato's "Republic" in the original Greek and found it lackluster.
Ever the scientist, he inoculated his wife, children and many of his slaves against smallpox with fresh pus drawn from infected domestic farm animals, according to Robert C. Ritchie, W.M. Keck Foundation director of research at the Huntington Library. "For a lot of people, taking scissors to the Bible would be such an act of desecration they wouldn't do it," Ritchie said. "Yet, it gives a reading into Jefferson's take on the Bible, which was not as divine word put into print, but as a book that can be cut up."
Discussions and letters between Jefferson and another friend, Philadelphia physician Benjamin Rush, led Jefferson to compile his "wee little book." In a letter to Rush on April 21, 1803, Jefferson said his editing experiment aimed to see whether the ethical teachings of Jesus could be separated from elements he believed were attached to Christianity over the centuries. "To the corruption of Christianity I am indeed opposed," he wrote to Rush, "but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself." Therefore, Ritchie said, "for Jefferson, the Bible was a book that could be made and unmade."
The Jefferson Bible remained largely unknown beyond a close circle of relatives and friends until 1904, when its publication was ordered by Congress. About 9,000 copies were issued and distributed in the Senate and the House. Today several editions of the Jefferson Bible are available through booksellers ... "Say nothing of my religion," Jefferson once said. "It is known to myself and my God alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life; if that has been honest and dutiful to society, the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.]
"Jefferson compiled a Bible without miracles that ended with Jesus' burial instead of resurrection." -- Louis Sahagun, LA Times Staff Writer