Saturday, November 18, 2017

D. C. - Bible Museum Opened on November 18, 2017

There's a new tourist attraction in Washington D. C. It's the Museum of the Bible. You can read about it in a Washington Post article, The New Bible Museum tells a clear, powerful story. And it could change the museum business.

There's another 11/17/2017 WP article, Jefferson took a blade to his Bible: Presidents, faith, and new Bible museum, by Rachel Siegel. According to this article, "the new museum includes an exhibit on the founder's views on religion and the Bible."

Here's how the article features Jefferson:
Thomas Jefferson had a complicated relationship with the Bible.
By the time he was elected the nation’s third president in 1801, the Founding Father had become a champion of separation of church and state. His Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, a precursor to First Amendment safeguards on religious freedom in the Constitution, passed the state’s general assembly in January 1786. When campaigning for president, Jefferson was berated by his opponents for being “anti-Christian” and “an infidel.” Once in office, Jefferson hosted what is believed to be the White House’s first iftar — the sunset meal to break daily fasts during Ramadan — in 1805. 
Jefferson kept his own religious views private. But he always wrestled with the veracity of the New Testament. That’s when his penknife came in handy. 
Jefferson believed that in order to glean the most from the New Testament, Jesus’s moral teachings needed to be separated from the miracles in the Gospels that he found suspect. He ordered six volumes — in English, French, Latin and Greek — and took a blade to their thin pages, rearranging Jesus’s teachings in chronological order and cutting out what he saw as embellishments that he didn’t believe. He felt those core teachings provided “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.” 
Jefferson pasted his preserved passages on blank sheets of paper and sent the scrapbook off to a book binder. In 1820, when Jefferson was 77 years old, the small, red volume of roughly 80 pages was complete. 
Titled “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” Jefferson leaned on its lessons in the last years of his life. Harry Rubenstein, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, described the book, known as the “Jefferson Bible,” as well-worn and riddled with dog-eared pages.
Continue reading here.


Tom Van Dyke said...

Rachel Siegel's Washington Post article is somewhere between disingenuous and stupid--we read her blatherings about Thomas Jefferson's non-religious Bible edits for 7 paragraphs until we find out in the 8th that Jefferson's heavily edited Bible isn't even IN the Museum of the Bible, which the article is supposedly about.

Visitors to Washington’s new Museum of the Bible, opening Nov. 18, will have to walk over to the American History Museum to see the Jefferson Bible. But the new museum includes an exhibit on the founder’s views on religion and the Bible, which has long played in the lives of U.S. presidents.

And then finally goes on to talk about what's actually in the MOTB! But first, the author HAD to let us know about Jefferson's infidelity to orthodox Christianity. It's become such a chore to wade through "journalism" whose agenda is so thick it takes up half the article.

Ray Soller said...

Tom, I'd say that Rachel Siegel's WP article comes off on the shoddy side, because there's no way of telling just how she acquired the information for her article. This picture, The Tradition of Swearing the Presidential Oath of Office on a Bible Begins from within the MOTB is all that we have to go on.

As an example, her article says:
"At his inauguration in March 1861, Lincoln’s family Bible was still en route from Springfield, Ill., along with the rest of his belongings. So he borrowed a copy provided by a Supreme Court clerk."

That's the story, but there is no evidence that Lincoln had any need to have “borrowed a copy [of the bible],” because his "family Bible was still en route from Springfield."

The truth is that from Polk up until Grover Cleveland, it was routine for the SC clerk or the CJ himself to provide the bible that was used in the swearing-in ceremony.

From what we can tell, the standard issue bible was an 1853, Oxford University Press published HJV Bible. There's a picture of it in this article, Bible upon which U. S. President James Buchanan took the oath of office. The same Oxford published bible that was used at Lincoln's 1861 inauguration can be seen in this Jan. 28, 2017, NYT's article.

It's only with McKinley that the "Bring Your Own Bible" [BYOB] practice began.

Tom Van Dyke said...

You may find this a barometer--one source is an exec of the MOTB.

djf said...

It seems that the Wash Post thinks that Jefferson's religious opinions constitute the official religious outlook of the Founding, and those who disagree are somehow un-American. So much for pluralism.

Apparently, whether Jefferson is a hero or an arch-villain depends on which issue our instructors at the Post are haranguing us on.

It would be nice if Muslims who take an approach to Islam similar to Jefferson's approach to Christianity were not treated as nonpersons by the Progressive establishment.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Yes, Jefferson has nothing to do with the MOTB but the WaPo writer made him the lede.

This is not journalism, it's propagandizing.

BTW, the MOAB looks pretty nonreligious, bordering on skepticism.