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The story of the "Jefferson "Bible"

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Published on Apr 19, 2012

For Jefferson, "it all goes back to god," Barton said. This statement prompted the story of the "Jefferson Bible" and rumors that Jefferson was, in some way, anti-religious. Barton brushed off this idea as nonsense and went on to explain how history has been twisted.

The legend had it that Jefferson cut the Bible into pieces, sewing together the portions with which he agreed and discarding the rest. As it turns out, Jefferson had a long history working with missionaries and, in particular, bringing Christianity to the Native Americans. At one point Jefferson gleaned an idea to produce an abbreviated version of the Bible that only focused on the moral teachings of Jesus Christ with a view toward creating a more digestible, comprehensive volume for the Native Americans he and other missionaries were teaching. Jefferson did so and, at the beginning of the 20th century, his abridged bible was Congressionally re-printed and given to members of Congress upon taking office. The tradition lasted some some 50 years.

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