Thomas Jefferson was born this day in 1743 and he was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, the author of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the USA. Not only: Jefferson has been a philosopher, writer, and the founder of the University of Virginia.
He was a real thinker.
Yesterday I went to Umbertide and I stopped by in the second-hand book shop of the charity Books for Dogs.
was intrigued by a little book called: The Jefferson Bible by Thomas
Jefferson with an introduction by F.Forrester Church and an Afterword by
Jaroslav Pelikan published by Beacon Press, Boston.
his life, New Testament close to him and with various versions of it,
never satisfied from the translations he received from Greek, French
"re-wrote" Jesus Christ's gospel taking by the New Testament the best
part of it.
wasn't interested in dogmatic chapters like the virginity of Saint Mary
or the Resurrection of Jesus. As he added: "I am materialist."
wanted to let see to everyone why Jesus Christ was so important and
which were his best characteristic so that everyone could follow His
The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (Extracted
textually from the gospels in Latin, Greek, French and English) wants to
be a book of moral to everyone.
When he was younger Jefferson
and his religious' ideas close to the one of Deists, but when he
understood that there was a high probability that he could become the
third President of the United States he started to take Christianity in
great consideration, considering also the role of religion in the social
tissue of a country and strong of a common opinion: "It is in our lives
and not in our words that our religion must be read."
studied maniacally the life of Jesus Christ comparing Jesus to Socrates
and Epictetus, because He didn't write anything.
add in a letter sent to a friend: "A system of morals is presented to
us, which, if filled up in the true style and spirit of the rich
fragments He left us, would be the most perfect and sublime that has
ever been taught by man."
In a letter wrote to Rush he revealed
the sense of Christianity to him: "I am a Christian in the only sense He
wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in
preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence;
and believing He never claimed any other."
The strongest sides of
Jesus Christ according to Jefferson: "There are sublime ideas of the
Supreme Being, aphorism benevolence sanctioned by a life of humility,
innocence and simplicity of manners, neglect of riches, absence of
worldly ambition and honors, with an eloquence and persuasiveness which
have not been surpassed."
Anna Maria Polidori