A group blog to promote discussion, debate and insight into the history, particularly religious, of America's founding. Any observations, questions, or comments relating to the blog's theme are welcomed.
My point has never been to trust David Barton. My point has been that we should not accept the criticisms of him unconditionally either.Who watches the watchers? Sometimes they're wrong too. And like the blind squirrel, David Barton is capable of stumbling on to the truth.I liked Throckmorton quoting him directly. That's the right way to do things. In the clip, Barton tells Beck that Jefferson included lots of miracles in his 1804 effort to extract from the Gospels what Jefferson said was “evidently his [Jesus'].” Barton said, "Jefferson included verses whereJesus is raising people from the dead, he’s healing the sick, he’s casting out lepers(?), he’s taking food and multiplying for thousands. He also talks about the resurrection, heaven, hell, the second coming. It’s all there."Righteous, Dr. Throckmorton. Taking the time to transcribe what Barton said and quoting him directly, not paraphrasing. Would that all of Barton's critics were so scrupulous.If you're still with me, a list of the contents of the Jefferson Bible http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Sacred_Scripture/Sacred_Scripture_012.htmincludes "L. 21. 34-36. Mt. 25. 31-46. the day of judgment"Which has Christ's Second Coming, the Day of Judgment, heaven and hell, the whole eschatological megillah. [Anybody want to take a look at this stuff together? Crowdsource this like they did with Sarah Palin's emails? This area of Barton argument-by-factoid has never appealed to me; I don't want to be wrong here and I don't want to have to get David Barton's back on anything.] But if I read this right, there's the Son of Man coming back in all his glory, something we would not expect of the Gospels stripped down to mere moral teaching.Matthew 25:31-46 reads31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. ”
Man, I hate being David Barton's lawyer. All I get is grief and no pay. But it's pro bono, a dirty job and someone's got to do it, so I'll dump my findings in this thread.Here's a link to Barton's "Jefferson Lies' via GoogleBooks, for those playing along at home.Now then, in the Glenn Beck video in question, Barton claims Jefferson left in Jesus' healing.See Dr. Throckmorton's photos of the original Jefferson list of verses.http://wthrockmorton.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/1804table3.jpgwhich readsL. 14. 1-6. the Sabbath.Luke 14:1-6 has a healing in it, yes? A miracle?"One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child[a] or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6 And they had nothing to say."14 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child[a] or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.
Not that Barton gets a clean bill of health, mind you. In the same passage of "Jefferson Lies" where he gets the healing in Luke 14 1-6 correct, he says that Jesus gave the apostles a commission to heal the sick, cast out demons, etc. in Matthew 10.But JeffersonMt. 10. 5-6, 9-18, 23, 26-31.conspicuously leaves out verses 7-8, which read"7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give."Then Jefferson picks up at verse 9. This is what's so maddening about getting Barton a fair hearing. As surprising as the parts Barton gets right vs. the "common knowledge" of Jefferson's mashup of the Bible---the Second Coming [Matthew 25:31-46] and a healing [Luke 14:1-6] are clearly in there---he completely punts Matthew 10, where Jefferson clearly excises 2 verses that Barton attempts to use as proof for his thesis.Believe me, as lawyer Barney Greenwald says in The Caine Mutiny when agreeing to defend Maryk, he'd rather prosecute. Much easier to toejam Barton on what he gets wrong than find the diamonds in his dunghill.
Tom, at Throckmartin's place you write this:That Jefferson included the Second Coming of the Son of Man and heaven and hell and all that stuff in Matthew 25 is no small diamond. It’s a Big Deal.I haven't had a chance to read in detail all of your responses, there or here, but I have a question and a comment. What is the big deal in your estimation? And, the text of the Biblical quotes that you are using is different than the text in my copy of The Jefferson Bible (1989) with Forrest Church writing the Preface and Introduction. Might be comparing two versions.
I haven't had a chance to read in detail all of your responses, there or hereThen pls do. The problem has been the half-assing on everybody's part.
My question calls for clarification of a single point only.Pointing out that the biblical text that you are using is different than that in my copy of the book is largely informational. I have no idea if it reflects on what you're saying and for that I would have to read more carefully.
TVD – “The problem has been the half-assing on everybody's part.”I would hope that you’d give me at least credit for three quarter-assing, so I'll try a little harder.TVD – “That Jefferson included the Second Coming of the Son of Man and heaven and hell and all that stuff in Matthew 25 is no small diamond. It’s a Big Deal.”Followed directly by...“This is no mere “deism” on Jefferson’s part, or Jesus cast as a mere moral teacher, which frankly, was “common knowledge” about Jefferson I had no reason to doubt until I looked this all up for myself this morning.”As to “This is no mere “deism” on Jefferson’s part,” to the best of my knowledge Jefferson never spoke of himself as a deist and even spoke somewhat less than flatteringly of deists. Conceded. He was no mere deist. He was a far more complex thinker. And then “This is no[t]…Jesus [being] cast as a mere moral teacher.” Accurate paraphrase? Are you contending/inferring that Jefferson’s intent was to cast Jesus as divine; as the son of God or even God in the sense of the Trinity? Or that Jefferson believed in the supernatural and in miracles?
My point remains the same, that it's unfair to gloss over the parts Barton got right, in this case, the Second Coming, heaven and hell, and [arguably] a healing in Luke 14.There are also parts he gets wrong, and completely wrong, like Mt 9 and Mt 10. Reading his book, it looks like he accepted second-hand research. Unforgivably sloppy, but not evil. [He credits 3 other authors, but I didn't follow the footnotes.]Of course you can have 3/4 of a point for good will and good looks alone. In answer to yr text question, I used the NIV instead of the King James just for readability's sake---I don't intend to litigate every word.As for Jefferson's private beliefs, that's never been an area of my concern. I find him a pretentious boor. He certainly rejected the Trinity, but him leaving in Christ as the Judge of the World is interesting to say the least. A belief in "resurrection of the body" at the end of time is also not inconsistent with his canon, in other words, a belief in some sort of religious metaphysics.So yes, it's significant that this eschatological stuff is in there, because most often he uses some formulation of Jesus a smoral teacher like "there never was a more pure and sublime system of morality delivered to man than is to be found in the four evangelists."I'm glad you agree he wasn't, but "Jefferson was a deist" is common knowledge all over the internet---the irony being that I often see it asserted in the comments sections of Barton's critics!And seldom do I see Barton's critics correcting their own fans on this point. [In fact, never, that I can recall.] So when I get this "defender of truth" self-righteousness from these people, all I can think is that they should clean their own house first if they're so concerned with truth and stuff.
When I conceded in an earlier comments that Jefferson was no mere deist I probably should have highlight mere - my reiteration of your own words. the problem with using any single term to encapsulate a persons beliefs is that it it near impossible to accomplish the task. The question should immediately be, what definition of deist are you using as a metric.Jefferson certainly had a "religious metaphysics" but beyond that it get complex. Pagans, of course, have a religious metaphysics.Jefferson, in his own words - not the invention of far-left liberal loons and pointy headed communist intellectuals, explicitly states that he is a materialist. While calling himself a Christian in the sense of having great admiration for the moral and ethical teachings of Jesus (and in the context of comparison with other philosophers), he also clearly states that he is an Epicurean. Jefferson had a number of copies of Lucretius' De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things), the most complete accounting of the Epicurean philosophy that I know of, filled with "anti-religious sentiments and materialist blasphemies," as one reviewer described it, is far more compatible with Jefferson's overall views. Yes, the Epicurean materialist view includes god or the gods too. And certainly Jefferson, in his own words, clearly and emphatically believed that Jesus was an inspired human, and he clearly, in his own words, distances himself from the supernatural and Platonic elements of the Jesus story.Overall, there is little to be culled from fragments of fragments that were included in the Jefferson Bible without placing them in a much larger context of Jefferson's own expressed beliefs on the subject. Especially, given the fact that Jefferson is not available for questioning. I believe I am calling for more exegesis and less eisegesis. So yes, some king of religious metaphysics but mixed with a materialist metaphysics. But absolutely and positively and verifiably not what Barton is selling.At least IMHO.Switching gears, you are unarguably correct on this, I am a handsome devil.
No doubt.This little expedition into Jefferson's head has been interesting. The concept of "the resurrection of the dead" is quite Christian [and sometimes Jewish]. That Jefferson may not have disbelieved in Judgement Day, etc. is interesting to me. It's my opinion that as much as the deist types thought they were reconceiving God, there was much about the Judeo-Christian one that they were still stuck on.
If you Google "Jefferson Bible Beliefnet," you will get a link to the online edition of the actual Jefferson Bible as found in the papers of Thomas Jefferson maintained by the University of Virginia. If you look at the scissor symbol on lines of the text, you can see read exactly where Jefferson deleted all references to the supernatural. There is no virgin birth, no miracles, no resurrection.Jefferson believed Jesus was the most sublime and principled person who ever lived, but this Jesus was not divine.
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