The Jefferson Bible - The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth

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Creative Commons, 9 sie 2013 - 178
In the early nineteenth century Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States and principal author of the Declaration of Independence, conceived the idea of extracting a gospel purified of what he saw as extraneous philosophical, mythological, and theological elements. To do so, he took verses from the four canonical gospels and arranged them into a single narrative, focusing on the actual words of Jesus. This work was never published during Jefferson's lifetime, but was inherited by his grandson and printed for the first time in the early twentieth century. The original bound manuscript, often referred to as "the Jefferson Bible," is held by the United States National Museum in Washington.

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Thomas Jefferson was born in Virginia in 1743 into a wealthy and socially prominent family. After attending the College of William and Mary, he went on to study law. At the age of twenty-six, Jefferson began building Monticello. Three years later, in 1772, he married Martha Wayles Skelton. The couple had six children, two of whom survived to adulthood. Considered elequent in his writing, although not as his speech, Jefferson took on much of the writing needed by the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress, both of which he was a member. In 1776, at the young age of 33, Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. From 1779 to 1781, Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia. Jefferson temporarily retired from public life after his term as governor, returning to public life in 1784 as a diplomat serving in France. In 1790, Jefferson was appointed Secretary of State in President Washington's Cabinet, but resigned in 1793 over a disagreement with Alexander Hamilton. As political disagreements continued to polarize the young government, Jefferson found himself leading those who sympathized with the revolutionary cause in France. In 1800, Jefferson was elected President in a tie vote that ironically was decided by Alexander Hamilton. In 1809, after two terms as President, Jefferson returned to his home in Monticello, where he developed, among other projects, plans for the University of Virginia. In addition, he sold his collection of books to the government to form the basis of the Library of Congress. Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826.

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