Friday, August 24, 2012

New Kidd Article on Barton-Jefferson

Here.  A taste:
Meanwhile, let's look at one of the key points in contention. Most historians prior to Barton described Thomas Jefferson as a life-long religious skeptic, but Barton writes in The Jefferson Lies that there "never was a time when [Jefferson] was anti-Jesus or when he rejected Christianity." Barton states that for much of Jefferson's adult life his faith was "nothing less than orthodox."

The Jefferson Lies commends Daniel Dreisbach, an American University professor, calling him one of the few Jefferson scholars who employs a "sound historical approach," so I asked Dreisbach whether he agreed with Barton. Dreisbach replied that he has a "very hard time" accepting the notion that Jefferson was ever an orthodox Christian, or that Jefferson ever embraced Christianity's "transcendent claims."

Barton told me that he does not necessarily disagree with Dreisbach. The Jefferson Lies states that by 1813, when Jefferson was 70, he had rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. Barton said he mainly wants to emphasize that Jefferson was no atheist or secularist.


Phil Johnson said...

I don't see the problem. I have never read anything from Jefferson that gives me the impression that he rejected Jesus. I think he accepted Jesus. It's just that he doesn't swallow the so-called orthodox dogmatisms.
Depending on which side of that you find yourself, you see that as a thing of much importance. So, he didn't believe in the Trinity. A lot of people didn't believe in the Trinity then. Are not Unitarians people who accept Jesus?

Joe Winpisinger said...


He overstates his case, gets nailed doing it, and then instead of admitting error says his larger point still stands. Which it does but the point loses credibility because the person making it is flawed. That is why we need to set the personalities aside and look at the merit or not of the ideas. No?