National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Could a man who made his own Bible get elected?

 |  NCR Today

Imagine for a minute that a media story revealed that one of the candidates for president of the United States had created his own version of the Bible, keeping those things with which he agreed and eliminating those things with which he had problems. Could such a candidate be elected? Even nominated?

Almost certainly not. But one of our most esteemed presidents actually did that, though he kept it quiet.

Thomas Jefferson took a razor and glue brush and cut and pasted the Gospels of the New Testament into his own version. He eliminated most references to the supernatural, including the virgin birth, miracles and even the resurrection of Jesus. He kept what he considered the moral philosophy of Jesus -- parts like the beatitudes, most parables and the Lord's Prayer.

Jefferson once said, "I am a sect by myself, as far as I know." That's certainly true. We may not agree with his biblical choices, but we can only respect the honest wrestling of a man dealing with his faith.

The result is called the Jefferson Bible, and it's currently on display at the American History Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

07-04-2014.jpgThere's more to NCR than what you read online. Subscribe today!

This week on Interfaith Voices, I interviewed the editor of the most recent release of the Jefferson Bible, Mitch Horowitz.

After the Jefferson Bible, you can hear about a new nationwide poll of Mormons by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and a conversation with Frank Schaeffer, formerly of the religious right, talking about his new book, Sex, Mom, & God.

Next week: the ethics of using drones in warfare. Stay tuned!

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

July 4-17, 2014

07-04-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.