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Jefferson’s Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth

Cover page of Jefferson's Bible

This display focused on a remarkable document from the early 19th century. Thomas Jefferson assembled a private text in 1820, using excerpts from the Four Gospels of the New Testament in Greek, Latin, French and English. His aim was to tell a chronological version of Jesus’ life, distilling his moral teachings, excluding those aspects which appeared to him “contrary to reason.” The display presented Jefferson’s The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, recently meticulously conserved, together with two English editions of the New Testament that Jefferson used to clip passages, and a copy of the 1904 U.S. Government Printing Office edition of the book. Visitors could explore each page of the bible at a special kiosk and view short videos about the bible’s history and conservation.

Thomas Jefferson's Bible is available online as an interactive document. Visit the website.