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giovedì, aprile 13, 2017

The Jefferson Bible by Thomas Jefferson

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.

I 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.

Jefferson in 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.

He wasn't interested in dogmatic chapters like the virginity of Saint Mary or the Resurrection of Jesus. As he added: "I am materialist."

He wanted to let see to everyone why Jesus Christ was so important and which were his best characteristic so that everyone could  follow His teaching.

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."

Jefferson studied maniacally the life of Jesus Christ comparing Jesus to Socrates and Epictetus, because He didn't write anything.

Jefferson will 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 

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