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Old 03-25-2011, 10:01 PM  
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Thomas Jefferson's Cut-and-Paste Bible

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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704425804576220612714039084.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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By STEPHEN PROTHERO

Last November, in response to protest, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery removed a video installation depicting ants crawling over a small crucifix. This coming November, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will exhibit a cut-and-paste Bible of a mere 86 pages. Were it the work of David Wojnarowicz (the artist behind the crucifix video) or Andres Serrano (of "Piss Christ" fame), this Bible would doubtless stir up a hornet's nest. But in fact, it was created by Thomas Jefferson.
During the election of 1800, Jefferson was denounced as a "howling atheist" and "a confirmed infidel" known for "vilifying the divine word, and preaching insurrection against God." But the Virginian also revered Jesus as "the first of human Sages" and was, according to one biographer, "the most self-consciously theological of all American presidents."
The book that the Smithsonian is preparing to put on display is actually one of two Jefferson Bibles. Jefferson produced the first over the course of a few days in 1804. Not long after completing the Louisiana Purchase, he sat down in the White House with two Bibles and one razor, intent on dividing the true words of Jesus from those put into his mouth by "the corruptions of schismatising followers."
The result was "The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth": a severely abridged text (now lost) that, like the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas, consisted entirely of Jesus' sayings. In this "precious morsel of ethics," as Jefferson put it, Jesus prayed to God and affirmed the afterlife, but he was not born in a manger and did not die to atone for anyone's sins.




In 1820, after retiring from public life, Jefferson produced a second scripture by subtraction?the book that is now being restored in D.C. In "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth," he again sought to excise passages "of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, or superstitions, fanaticisms, and fabrications." This time, however, he arranged his material chronologically rather than topically, and he included both the sayings and actions of Jesus. He also included passages in English, French, Latin and Greek.
To readers familiar with the New Testament, this Jefferson Bible, as it is popularly called, begins and ends abruptly. Rather than opening, as does the Gospel of John, in the beginning with the Word, Jefferson raises his curtain on a political and economic drama: Caesar's decree that all the world should be taxed. His story concludes with this hybrid verse: "There laid they Jesus, and rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed." Between these points, there are no angels, no wise men, and not a hint of the resurrection.
After completing this second micro-testament, Jefferson claimed in a letter to a friend that it demonstrated his bona fides as a Christian. "It is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus."
That, of course, has been hotly debated from the election of 1800 to today, and Jefferson has been called an infidel, a Deist and more. What is most clear is that he was not a traditional Christian. He unequivocally rejected the Nicene Creed, which has defined orthodoxy for most Christians since 381. And he was contemptuous of the doctrine of the Trinity, calling it "mere Abracadabra" and "hocus-pocus phantasm."
None of that prevented Jefferson from claiming to represent real Christianity, or from dismissing his clerical despisers as "Pseudo-Christians"?imposters peddling a counterfeit faith. Religion is about doing good, he insisted, not abstract theologizing.
Americans have long been a people of the book. John Winthrop quoted from the Bible in his "city on the hill" sermon in 1630, and American political leaders have been quoting from it ever since.
But we craft new Bibles too, from the Book of Mormon of the Latter-day Saints to the Christian Scientists' "Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures" and Elizabeth Cady Stanton's "Woman's Bible." Jefferson was out in front of all of these efforts. Here, too, he was a declarer of independence.
When the Jefferson Bible goes on display in November, Americans will have another opportunity to debate not only their third president's faith (or lack thereof) but also the religious character of the nation and the true meaning of Christianity. This seems as good a time as any to ponder whether the "sum of all religion" is, as Jefferson once put it, "fear God and love thy neighbor."
Mr. Prothero is a professor of religion at Boston University.
Thomas Jefferson's Cut-and-Paste Bible-thomas-jefferson-statue.jpg 

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Old 03-28-2011, 08:36 AM  
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If he took out that stuff and we went back over it and took out what was scientifically disproven now, how much would actually be left?
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:41 AM  
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I reject the term "Jefferson Bible" because he never called his work that and he had no intention of establishing a religion around it. It was merely his understanding, or beliefs, extracted (cut and pasted) from what the church (Which he rejected.) had historically proclaimed as truth. HIS truth was different much like the gnostics before his time.

I find it interesting, if not comforting, that Tom was confident in his faith enough to take on such a task. While he did not fully understand or appreciate grace, his "work" was still intended to glorify Christ. We all fall short in that regard. I wonder what the result be if all so called Christians attempted similar works? The term "Christian" is and has been defined differently for ages and usually reflects ones specific needs.

I say good for Tom! Apparently, he was the first member of the Jesus Seminar and didn't know it!

Jesus Seminar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:29 AM  
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I say good for Tom!
I find Jefferson on religion very compelling. The man went to the trouble of editing two bibles to reduce them to "facts". He was considered perhaps the most spiritual of our founders and yet he saw and hated the self serving drivel rather than rationalize it.

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Old 03-29-2011, 12:03 PM  
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Originally Posted by blucher View Post
I find Jefferson on religion very compelling. The man went to the trouble of editing two bibles to reduce them to "facts". He was considered perhaps the most spiritual of our founders and yet he saw and hated the self serving drivel rather than rationalize it.
Yet he publicly stated that he was a "true" Christian!!??!! Maybe he should have worked with Webster on some definitions!

Go figure...........
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:26 PM  
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Yet he publicly stated that he was a "true" Christian!!??!!
My take on that is he felt he was a truer Christian than the adherents of a very edited bible.
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:28 PM  
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He was the truest Christian in that he condensed the bible into only the moral teachings of Jesus.

All the other stuff is just filler, Christians only use the old testament when it's a verse that supports the new testament but even then the majority of the time it is contradicted or immediately followed by something that makes the person who used it look stupid.

We don't have Q. Until that time, claiming the bible to be truth although the initial source is lost would be a scholastic misstep.
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:39 PM  
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claiming the bible to be truth although the initial source is lost would be a scholastic misstep.
not to mention it's also a misstep in logic.
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:49 PM  
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Originally Posted by blucher View Post
My take on that is he felt he was a truer Christian than the adherents of a very edited bible.
Sooo, Tom's "editing" of a purported previously edited set of texts engenders truth heretofore lost?
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:21 PM  
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Originally Posted by Funetical View Post
He was the truest Christian in that he condensed the bible into only the moral teachings of Jesus. In essence, he, Tom, redefined what a Christian was...to him(self)....at that time. Sounds like relativism to me. Beyond mere semantics, to "condense", as applied here, is tantamount to rejection which then precludes his (Tom's) christian moniker

All the other stuff is just filler I'm curious. What "filler" are you referring to? I'm not disagreeing...I just don't know what to agree to. , Christians only use the old testament when it's a verse that supports the new testament but even then the majority of the time it is contradicted or immediately followed by something that makes the person who used it look stupid. Again, not disagreeing here but what are you referring to?

We don't have Q. Until that time, claiming the bible to be truth although the initial source is lost would be a scholastic misstep. This hypothesis presupposes that "Q" exist(ed). The absence of an explainable understanding surrounding a mystery of an infinite being's divine plan (so that a finite being can comprehend) does not require that truth be absent.
Yes.....message is too short.
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