Saturday, February 26, 2011

John Fea Updates With Grizzard on "The Daily Sacrifice"

Dr. Fea updated his original post. I'm reproducing this because too many folks still believe "The Daily Sacrifice" is valid. It is not.

UPDATE: Several of the comments on my article have challenged my assertion that Washington did not mention Jesus Christ in his personal and public writings. These commentators appeal to the multiple references that they say Washington made to Jesus Christ in a "Prayer Journal" from 1752. Unfortunately, most reputable scholars, including Frank Grizzard Jr., a former senior editor of the George Washington Papers, believe that this journal was not written by George Washington. I would ask readers to consult Grizzard's book "The Ways of Providence: Religion and George Washington."

In that book, Grizzard writes (p. 51): "On April 21, 22, 23, 1891, there was sold at the auction rooms of Thomas Birch's sons, 1110 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, a collection of Washington relics owned by Washington descendants Lawrence Washington, Bushrod C. Washington, Thomas B. Washington, and J.R.C. Lewis. Included in the sale was 'The Daily Sacrifice,' a twenty-four page manuscript document written in a pocket memorandum book and subsequently circulated as 'Washington's Prayers,' 'Washington's Prayer Book,' or 'Washington's Prayer Journal.' The catalog of the sale was prepared by Philadelphia auctioneer Stan V. Henkels, who asserted that the manuscript was not only in Washington's own handwriting, written when the future Father of His Country was about twenty years of age, but that Washington even composed the prayers himself. Both claims are patently false. The prayer book had been among a group of papers already rejected by the Smithsonian Institute as having no value, and at the time of the sale others continued to challenge its authenticity. Tens of thousands of genuine Washington manuscripts have survived to the present, including many from the youthful Washington, and even a cursory comparison of the prayer book with a genuine Washington manuscript reveals that they are not the same handwriting. Nevertheless, the prayers continue to be disseminated under Washington's name, thanks to their publication in the early twentieth century by William Herbert Burk (1867-1933) as 'Washington's Prayers' (Norristown, PA, 1907) and later republication by William Jackson Johnston in 'George Washington: The Christian'."

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