Paul Harvey: Review of Warren Throckmorton's and Michael Coulter's "Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President"

Paul Harvey runs the blog Religion in American History and teaches history at the University of Colorado.

When all the trees fall in David Barton’s historical forest and no one hears it, did they really fall? If we get history “right” but do so only by playing a game set by rigged rules, and engaging in debates with those whose projects are basically political and entrepreneurial rather than intellectual, do we feed the very beast we are trying to tame? 

I pondered these questions while reading Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter’s excellent, blow-by-blow refutation of David Barton’s take on Jefferson, Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President

The authors are professed evangelical Christians who teach at Grove City College, a school whose mission statement rejects “secularism and relativism” and promotes intellectual and social development “consistent with a commitment to Christian truth, morals, and freedom.” They begin with an encomium to George Marsden’s The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, one of whose principles is to seek the truth with detachment and “avoid tendentiousness.” Barton, who is obsessed with Poststructuralists and Deconstructionists, would not appear to have reason to worry about that with these reviewers, who write with a calm, measured voice and have created a website to update and fact-check their own material....

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