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Thomas Jefferson

After white supremacists descended on Charlottesville in August 2017, the Charlottesville Clergy Collective decided it would not allow the conflict that engulfed its city to define the future. […] Read More

A Baptist congregation sent President Thomas Jefferson a cheese wheel to congratulate him on his election. More interesting is the fact that it was delivered by John Leland (1754-1841) on New Year’s Day 1802. Leland was a prominent Baptist minister and a leading advocate for religious freedom who, in 1790, asserted, “The legitimate powers of […] Read More

At a dinner for Nobel Prize winners, President John F. Kennedy gave a most clever and astute introduction. He said to that distinguished crowd, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson […] Read More

The radio broadcast began with the highest of praise. “David Barton. An honorable, honorable man. A true American historian. And really honestly, I think the man who has singlehandedly saved this country from darkness,” said conservative radio host Glenn Beck. “The stuff that he has taught me I didn’t know.” The 12-minute show focused on […] Read More

Our premier historian of late colonial and early republican America, Gordon Wood, while reviewingabook on Roger Williams, warms up readers with references to Thomas Jefferson: “It’s easy to believe in the separation of church and state when one has nothing but scorn for all organized religion. That was the position of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson’s hatred […] Read More

The Smithsonian’s NationalMuseumofAmericanHistory is currently featuring a display of a project Thomas Jefferson undertook during the latter years of his life: it’s called “Jefferson’s Bible.” Being in Falls Church, Va., for a BaptistWorldAlliance meeting gave me an opportunity to visit the exhibit. I’ve had a copy of the famed “Jefferson Bible” for years, but looked […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) How would you feel about taking a razor blade to a Bible? Thomas Jefferson, apparently, didn’t have any qualms about it. In his retirement, the nation’s third president carried out a project he had contemplated for years: he literally cut and pasted passages from the four Gospels into one integrated narrative of Jesus’ […] Read More

(RNS) A Smithsonian museum is restoring the “Jefferson Bible,” a unique volume the third president cut and pasted himself—omitting lots of theology—from portions of the New Testament. Thomas Jefferson assembled the book in 1820 when he retired after two terms as president. “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth” resembles a scrapbook that puts […] Read More

Some of our current political tension is best understood within the context of Jesus versus Thomas Jefferson.   Once the Jesus-Jefferson dynamic is considered, we see that much of the vitriol – surrounding the recent health care debate, for example – is more about worldview than political preference. The debate is more about one’s philosophical […] Read More

In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” there is a scene where Alice and Humpty Dumpty are having a conversation about words.   “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty says, in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’   ‘The question is,’ says Alice, […] Read More