Jefferson's Extracts from the Gospels: The Philosophy of Jesus and The Life and Morals of Jesus

Jefferson's Extracts from the Gospels: The Philosophy of Jesus and The Life and Morals of Jesus

DICKINSON W. ADAMS EDITOR
RUTH W. LESTER ASSISTANT EDITOR
INTRODUCTION BY EUGENE R. SHERIDAN
Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 452
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zv878
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  • Book Info
    Jefferson's Extracts from the Gospels: The Philosophy of Jesus and The Life and Morals of Jesus
    Book Description:

    This volume is an important clarification of the controversial religious beliefs of one of our most unorthodox but ethically committed presidents. Printed here are the facsimile texts of Jefferson's two compilations of Jesus' words.

    Originally published in 1987.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5305-2
    Subjects: Religion, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-x)
    Charles T. Cullen

    The introduction to the first volume ofThe Papers of Thomas Jeffersonannounced that a second series would be published, containing “those materials which seem most naturally to permit a classified arrangement.” Starting in 1954, the list of abbreviations found in the front of each volume contains a reference to the Second Series, described as “the topical series to be published at the end of this edition. . . .” The decision to launch this important part of Jefferson’s papers while the chronological series progressed was made sometime in the 1960s, and work is now well under way on Jefferson’s...

  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-2)
    Dickinson W. Adams
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-42)

    “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion,” Thomas Jefferson advised one of his nephews in the course of a disquisition on religious education. “Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”¹ This critical attitude, typical of the Age of Enlightenment, characterized Jefferson’s approach to religion, as to all other problems, from his youth. But unlike many other adherents of the Enlightenment, especially those in France, Jefferson’s rationalism led him ultimately to an affirmation...

  6. THE RECONSTRUCTION OF “THE PHILOSOPHY OF JESUS”
    (pp. 45-54)

    The text of “The Philosophy of Jesus” presented in this volume is a reconstruction of the missing original copy of Jefferson’s first compilation of verses from the Evangelists. The fate of the original “Philosophy of Jesus” is wrapped in mystery. Jefferson referred or alluded to this work in six different letters, the first written in 1804 and the last in 1819—just before he began work on “The Life and Morals of Jesus.”¹ According to the testimony of his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, “The Philosophy of Jesus” was still among Jefferson’s effects at the time of his death in July...

  7. [Illustrations]
    (pp. 55-106)
  8. NOTES TO “THE PHILOSOPHY OF JESUS”
    (pp. 107-122)

    The primary purpose of the notes to “The Philosophy of Jesus” (hereafter referred to as PJ) is to enable the reader to judge the accuracy of the reconstructed text. To this end, the following kinds of information are provided:

    (1) When a verse in PJ does not appear also in “The Life and Morals of Jesus” (hereafter referred to as LJ), the notes indicate this and whether a parallel verse appears elsewhere in either document. If it is initially doubtful that a particular verse appeared in PJ, the inclusion of that verse, or a parallel, in LJ provided grounds for...

  9. “THE LIFE AND MORALS OF JESUS”: A HISTORY OF THE TEXT
    (pp. 125-126)

    The text of “The Life and Morals of Jesus” presented in this volume is a newly made photoreproduction of the original compilation, which is now in the custody of the Smithsonian Institution. As was mentioned in the Introduction, Jefferson probably completed “The Life and Morals of Jesus” in the summer of 1820 and definitely kept its existence a secret from everyone but Frederick A. Mayo, who bound it. After his death in 1826, Jefferson’s family discovered it, and it remained with them until almost the end of the nineteenth century. His only surviving child, Martha Jefferson Randolph, apparently took personal...

  10. [Illustrations]
    (pp. 127-298)
  11. NOTES TO “THE LIFE AND MORALS OF JESUS”
    (pp. 299-314)
  12. APPENDIX
    (pp. 315-416)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 417-426)
  14. TABLE OF NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES
    (pp. 427-438)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 439-439)