How Thomas Jefferson’s secret Bible might have changed history – via CNN Belief Blog

(CNN) – Imagine the following scenario: A U.S. president is discovered to be spending his spare time taking a razor to the New Testament, cutting up and re-pasting those passages of the Gospels that he considered authentic and morally true and discarding all the rest.

Gone are the virgin birth, divine healings, exorcisms and the resurrection of the dead, all of which the chief executive dismissed as “superstitions, fanaticisms and fabrications.”

Such an episode occurred, although the revised version of Scripture remained unseen for nearly seven decades after its abridger’s death. Thomas Jefferson intended it that way.

During most of his two terms in the White House, from 1801 to 1809, and for more than a decade afterward, Jefferson – the third U.S. president and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence – committed himself to a radical reinterpretation of the Gospels.

With a razor and glue brush at this side, Jefferson lined up English, French, Greek and Latin editions of Scripture and proceeded to cut up and reassemble the four Gospels into an exquisitely well-crafted, multilingual chronology of Christ’s life.

Jefferson lined up different editions of Scripture.In Jefferson’s view, this revision represented a faithful record of Christ’s moral code, minus the miracles that the Enlightenment-era founder dismissed as historical mythmaking.

via My Take: How Thomas Jefferson’s secret Bible might have changed history – CNN Belief Blog – Blogs.

The Tea Party and other conservative “Originalists” maintain that our Founding Fathers were deeply religious men and intended the United States to be a Christian nation, despite the evidence of a Constitution drafted by those same Founding Fathers that says that the government shall play no role in religion, neither in choosing one for the people, nor in preventing the people from choosing any religion they want.

The wide release of the Jefferson Bible for the first time should put this idea to rest (well, if the Tea Party and their ilk were able to assimilate evidence contrary to their peculiar predilections). Instead, the Founding Fathers were deeply moral men, who believed that an individual’s ability to choose their own path was important, but so was the greater good of the nation as a whole.

(This is one of the reasons the pre-Constitutional Articles of Confederation were replaced with the Constitution itself, to turn a loose confederation of self-determined States into an actual nation with a central government. I have some additional thoughts on this for a later time.)

The Jefferson Bible strips away all the mysticism of the conservative religious dogma and preserves the moral center of the Bible that is missing from the conservative dogma.

If ever there was a display of Original Intent of (one of) the Founding Fathers, this would be it.


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