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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (637 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Thomas Jefferson Narrator: Mel Foster Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2010 ISBN: 9781452670812
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In the early nineteenth century, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, conceived the idea of extracting a gospel purified of what he saw as extraneous philosophical, mythological, and theological elements. To do so, he took verses from the four canonical gospels and arranged them into a single narrative, focusing on the actual words of Jesus.

This work was never published during Jefferson’s lifetime but was inherited by his grandson and printed for the first time in the early twentieth century. The original bound manuscript, popularly referred to as The Jefferson Bible, is held by the United States National Museum in Washington.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 laura | 2/16/2014

    " Very interesting perspective on Christ's teachings, but the ending for me was very sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Natasha Kucic | 2/9/2014

    " It was interesting to read his interpretation of the Bible. It reflects on how jeffersons morals and values were shaped around the time our country was born and its amazing to compare how then and now our country has lost it's path. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul Cato | 2/8/2014

    " More interesting than the "Jefferson Bible" (aka "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth") are the comprehensive introduction and collection of letters concerning his religious belief. Ultimately the Jefferson Bible is somewhat stale - as both a piece of literature and as a religious/philosophical work. Though an interesting exercise, and certainly a legit example of the sort of religious self-reflection he urged all people to do, any compilation of four distinct sources - each with their own styles, contexts, and messages - does not "work". Jesus also loses his power when unable to talk about the nature of God (a fact that can be accepted/agreed upon regardless of whether an individual is of faith or not) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steven | 2/4/2014

    " My sister suggested I might get something out of this, after I'd been going on about how bogus everything in the bible is. That Thomas Jefferson took out all the supernatural elements from the Jesus mythology and humanized him and his moral lessons. It's cool that Jefferson was bold enough to attempt that, but it still didn't work for me because Jesus still waxes on about a supernatural god and heaven and hell and spirits, and a lot of his moral lessons are still based around those things, so how could a practical person make sense of it? It was an interesting exercise, but it didn't mend the overall flaws with the religion for me. I sort of mark this book as one of the last steps before I wrote off Christianity as anything useful in my life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan | 2/2/2014

    " Even in his time there were those of an evangelical bent who wanted their version of God in political life. This IS NOT a political book it merely focuses the moral message of the man known as Jesus in a compact form. The "goats" of conservatism portray NONE of the moral values of Christ. This proves that supposition. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dean | 2/1/2014

    " Brilliant editing...when considered with his design for the University of Virginia grounds sheds light on TJ's careful consideration, no, critical inquiry into the spectrum of 18th c norms. Everything is in play with reason the blade that carves the irrelevant and nonsense from core truths. UVA is an architectural analog. Though it can be debated that it is less successful as a unified work because it is new, untested function from an old form (a core campus from a Roman temple and forum), it is a gathering of edited architectural pieces (pavilions) around a new social space ruled by a Temple of reason open to the physical and intellectual frontier (west). I find both the JB and UVA profoundly inspiring as an imagining and creation of a more perfect present from a critically examined past. We need more of this now! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 1/30/2014

    " I give the stars not to the Bible aspect of this book, because even without the mystical aspects it is still very hard to understand. I give the stars to the creation of this book. It is amazing that I can hold in my hand a copy of this completely personal, pet project of Thomas Jefferson. The introductory text on the history of Jefferson's Bible and its conservation were awesome. It is beautifully reproduced. Makes for a fascinating study. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 1/29/2014

    " Succinct, well written, and a powerful insight into the truth, the contradiction, and the absolutely insanity of the Bible. Thomas Jefferson was absolutely a brilliant man. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 1/16/2014

    " Actually, a rather interesting read, if one were curious about what the ethical implications (as opposed to the spiritual suppositions)of Christianity might be. Extra fun to read what Jesus' social program requires of us and then to compare to the "Christianity" of today's conservatives. The slave-holding Jefferson himself, obviously, did not live up to the ideals. Etcetera. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alane | 1/11/2014

    " I first read this almost twenty years ago. I pick it up every couple ofyears and read it again. What remains shocking to me is not that Jefferson did the redaction, but that modern people feel like they can't. Preaching on this in a week. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 laura | 1/8/2014

    " Very interesting perspective on Christ's teachings, but the ending for me was very sad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eldiablodehowies | 1/7/2014

    " anyone with the balls to re-write the bible..is balls out..ya know! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jorge | 12/12/2013

    " Genius! Yet another example of the genius and progressiveness of Jefferson. Reading this book makes pine for times long past. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl in CC NV | 12/11/2013

    " I read all the sacred text. I did not read the full introduction or afterward. Jefferson's idea is pretty cool. If you're a Christian, or are curious about the bible, and don't want to read the big one, this would be a terrific place to start. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Timothy Mallon | 12/9/2013

    " This is a good portrait of Christ--stripped of magic, mysticism, and miracles. Thomas Jefferson's vision of Jesus is much more palpable to me than the one traditionally put forth in the Gospels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eric | 12/4/2013

    " Very tough read. A modern english translation might have been easier to read/understand. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 gfguildjr | 12/1/2013

    " Cut & Paste Bible. Mr. Jefferson's gospel takes away the divinity of Jesus Christ and reduces him to a mere human teacher. Good read in that you see only a HUMAN JESUS, but not the true SON OF GOD. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jake Wegman | 10/23/2013

    " Definitely a puzzling project for Jefferson to undertake. I really didn't like how he jumps from chapter to chapter. It's not like the Bible is exactly easy to read in the first place, but Jefferson's approach to the translation of the New Testament is even more beguiling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Gray | 8/4/2013

    " An extremely important book for understanding the theology of one of this country's "founding fathers" and for dispelling the myth of this country bring a Christian nation b "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ross | 7/31/2013

    " This book Thomas Jefferson's revision of the Bible, removing all references to miracles and the supernatural. So I think its a great experiment, but man does it miss the point. And quite frankly, if I'm choosing fiction, I'd have to go with the Bible, it was much more entertaining at least. :) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Andy | 7/24/2013

    " I don't understand the purpose of removing the miracles from the Gospels. Wouldn't it be better to either accept them as they are or reject them completely? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barry Behrstock | 6/30/2013

    " A brilliant mind went through the bible in multiple languages and extracted those enlightened ideas which he felt it made sense to attribute to a great person godlike or not. There is no virgin birth or ascension after death. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alane | 5/25/2013

    " I first read this almost twenty years ago. I pick it up every couple ofyears and read it again. What remains shocking to me is not that Jefferson did the redaction, but that modern people feel like they can't. Preaching on this in a week. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 12/22/2012

    " A book all should read in this form. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian Ribeiro | 9/19/2012

    " Photographic facsimile, amazing reproduction of an amazing book, especially as book qua art object in itself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 9/8/2012

    " Succinct, well written, and a powerful insight into the truth, the contradiction, and the absolutely insanity of the Bible. Thomas Jefferson was absolutely a brilliant man. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Andy | 5/13/2012

    " I don't understand the purpose of removing the miracles from the Gospels. Wouldn't it be better to either accept them as they are or reject them completely? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John McLaughlin | 4/29/2012

    " Very impressive re-reading of the Gospels according to Thomas Jefferson - a deist's look at the life & sayings of a great teacher, clearly something that would have been deeply offensive to some voters in his day - and to this day, too. Brilliant work, good intro and affrterwords also. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deborah | 4/24/2012

    " I really believe that Thomas Jefferson was trying to merge Church and State with this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Timothy Mallon | 12/28/2011

    " This is a good portrait of Christ--stripped of magic, mysticism, and miracles. Thomas Jefferson's vision of Jesus is much more palpable to me than the one traditionally put forth in the Gospels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 gfguildjr | 12/3/2011

    " Cut & Paste Bible. Mr. Jefferson's gospel takes away the divinity of Jesus Christ and reduces him to a mere human teacher. Good read in that you see only a HUMAN JESUS, but not the true SON OF GOD. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 10/12/2011

    " A book all should read in this form. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eldiablodehowies | 7/7/2011

    " anyone with the balls to re-write the bible..is balls out..ya know! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan Denney | 1/24/2011

    " I always struggle with the language, but it was interesting to have everything boiled down to the life lessons from Jesus. "

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About the Author
Author Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), a Founding Father and primary author of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Virginia into a wealthy and socially prominent family. Considered eloquent in his writing, Jefferson took on much of the writing needed by the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress, both of which he was a member. In 1800 Jefferson was elected president in a tie vote that ironically was decided by Alexander Hamilton. In 1809, after two terms as president, Jefferson returned to his home in Monticello, where he developed, among other projects, plans for the University of Virginia. In addition, he sold his collection of books to the government to form the basis of the Library of Congress.

About the Narrator

Mel Foster is a prolific audiobook narrator, having read dozens of titles throughout his career. He is the recipient of the prestigious Audie Award, as well as the AudioFile Earphones Award. A former advertising agency executive who used to record test tracks for commercials, his narration career was born out of encouragement from his clients who would often say, “why are we hiring someone else? I like this guy.”