Thomas Jefferson didn’t like the Bible as it was written. He thought Jesus was a good moral teacher, but those miracles were bullshit.
In a letter to William Short in 1820, Jefferson wrote:
Among the sayings and discourses imputed to [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence: and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I separate therefore the gold from the dross; restore to him the former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, and roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus. These palpable interpolations and falsifications of his doctrines led me to try to sift them apart.
Jefferson made good on his promise by taking a razor to his Bible and cutting out any reference to angels, prophecy, the Trinity, Jesus’ divinity, Resurrection, and miracles. He called the resulting text The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (a.k.a. The Jefferson Bible).
In November, a restored edition of the book will be published by the Smithsonian. It’s called The Jefferson Bible, Smithsonian Edition: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth:
After completion of The Life and Morals, about 1820, Jefferson shared it with a number of friends, but he never allowed it to be published during his lifetime. The most complete form Jefferson produced was inherited by his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, and was published in 1895 by the National Museum in Washington.
Once published in black-and-white facsimile by the Government Printing Office in 1900 as a gift for new members of Congress, the Jefferson Bible has never before been published in color in its complete form. The Jefferson Bible, Smithsonian Edition is an exact facsimile reproduction based on the original copy in the Smithsonian collections. The Jefferson Bible, Smithsonian Edition is as beautiful an object as was so painstakingly crafted by Thomas Jefferson himself.
A book for atheist history buffs — nice 🙂