Friday, July 27, 2012

V&V Q&A with Drs. Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter on “Getting Jefferson Right”


1 comment:

Tom Van Dyke said...

"The authors" say "The only negative comments thus far have come from Mr. Barton and those who have not read our book."

This is true. I have not read their book. I have read Dr. Throckmorton's blog, where he states some of his case against Barton. On the whole, he gets the better of Barton; however, there were a few instances where I found overstatements.

I'm glad to see Dr. Throckmorton temper his language about Jefferson's letter to Derieux, from "rejecting" the Trinity to a softer and more accurate "he began his skepticism of the Trinity before 1788."

As noted previously:

The letter plainly states Jefferson had "difficulty" with the concept of the Trinity. That comes up short of "rejected." That comes up short of unitarianism. But only David Barton exaggerates, not his critics, who parrot each other that Jefferson "rejected" the Trinity in this letter to Derieux.

"Anti-Trinitarian" [like the Jefferson of 1813, who baldly rejects Trinity] isn't the same as having "difficulties**."

But when we use hammers to fix sledgehammers, this is the type of work we get.

*Unitarians of that era believed that the Bible, even if corrupted by men, was at least partially the Word of God, divinely inspired. It's questionable whether Jefferson would agree with that.

**Ben Franklin on the Trinity, 1790:

"... I have with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his Divinity: tho' it is a Question I do not dogmatise upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble."

Franklin dies several months later, and indeed finds out whether Jesus is God with "less trouble."

But again, to call Ben Franklin anti-Trinitarian would be an overreach. [Or a unitarian.]

The ganders must be held to the same standards as the goose. Where Barton overshoots his evidence, his critics can have their own glass houses too.