August 23, 2006

Jesus without miracles and without divinity

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Thomas Jefferson believed that the ethics of Jesus were the best in the world, but he did not believe Jesus was God or divine.

He wrote, "I am a Christian, in the only sense he [Jesus] 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."

Jefferson believed that the New Testament was written by unlearned apostles who often misunderstood Jesus and misrepresented his teaching.

The Smithsonian Museum is adding to its American history exhibit Thomas Jefferson’s “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted Textually from the Gospels in Greek, Latin, French and English.”

The Unites States of America's third president, Thomas Jefferson, taking the view of a rationalist, personally compiled this work.

He simply rearranged the Gospels, while cutting out the miracles, the references to the divinity of Jesus, and the repetitions between the Gospel writers.

Jefferson added a table of contents and parallel translations in three other languages beside the English.

The text is online.
Click HERE for it.

2 Comments:

Blogger Dean said...

"Jefferson believed that the New Testament was written by unlearned apostles who often misunderstood Jesus and misrepresented his teaching."

If this is the case, how could he say that Jesus' ethics were the best in the world? If they were mistinterpreted his teaching, who's to say that what they even wrote were really his words? That doesn't make much sense.

How can you admire someones teachings, when you don't even trust the way in which they were recorded?

If Jesus' etchics were the reason why he was great, why does the west base their calender around his birth, and not other great moralists like Socrates or Plato?

9:41 AM  
Blogger dilexitprior said...

I remember reading about this in a "Christian History - Post-Reformation" course I took last semester. Another instance of "Thanks be to God I'm Catholic."

9:52 AM  

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