'The Jefferson Bible,' Jefferson's Personal Bible On Display At A Smithsonian Exhibit





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' life -- minus the miracles and supernatural events.

The result, he said, was "the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man." Judging by the wear and tear on the book, it appears Jefferson read it regularly.

Known as "The Jefferson Bible," the 84-page patchwork book is on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History here through May 28, 2012. Smithsonian Books has released a commemorative full-color edition, and Tarcher/Penguin is publishing a pocket-size version in January....



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