While Harvey is skeptical that our book will change many minds of those committed to Barton’s faux history, I see it differently. I am encouraged that exposure of these issues will make some difference.
Salon today posted my article on David Barton and a brief look at the falsehoods in Barton’s book, The Jefferson Lies.
One claim I haven’t spent much time on until lately is Barton’s claim that Thomas Jefferson could not emancipate his slaves due to restrictions in VA law. Barton says in The Jefferson Lies that Jefferson could not have emancipated his slaves and blamed Virginia law. As I point out in the article and we point out in the book, that is a false claim.
Thanks to John Fea at Messiah College for the comments and blog post I cited.
Columnist Katherine Stewart wrote:
Barton recently came out with another piece of propaganda, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson. To their credit, a pair of professors who identify themselves as conservative Christians, Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter, have stepped forward to debunk Barton’s latest exercise in their book, Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President. But that hasn’t stopped Barton’s book from becoming a bestseller.
Got your copy yet?
Late last week, David Barton appeared on Bryan Fischer’s American Family Association radio program Focal Point. One topic of conversation was the contents of Thomas Jefferson extractions from the Gospels, aka known as the Jefferson Bible. More properly, the Jefferson Bible is considered to be the Life and Morals of Jesus which Jefferson put together sometime during or after 1820. The first time Jefferson cut and pasted portions of the Gospels was in 1804 when he did it at the White House in a few nights work.
On Fischer’s show, Barton said Jefferson included miracles of healing and feeding the multitude in the 1804 version. In his book, Barton claims that three miracles in Matthew 9 (the raising of Jairus daughter in Mt. 9:1; healing a bleeding woman in Mt. 9:18-26 and the healing two blind men in Mt. 9:27-34) were included by Jefferson in The Philosophy of Jesus. However, a review of Jefferson’s table of texts as found in Henry Randall’s 1858 biography of Jefferson and Dickinson Adams’ definitive work demonstrates that these texts were not included in either of Jefferson’s abridgments.
The fourth false text Barton uses is Matthew 11:4-6 which reads:
4Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Again, a review of the table of texts comes up empty for this passage. Jefferson did not include it in either his 1804 or his 1820 versions. Continue reading “What Did Thomas Jefferson Include in His Edited Gospels”
I will have more to say about this next week, but I never cease to be amazed by Barton’s ability to say with confidence things that can be proven false with ease. In this clip, he says Jefferson included healings and feeding the multitudes in his 1804 version of the Jefferson Bible. Truly stunning.
I will soon have from the University of Virginia digital copies of the table of texts Jefferson extracted from the Gospels. I will publish these for all to see.
GROVE CITY, Penn., May 9, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — In their new book, Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President, Christian college professors Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter challenge claims about Thomas Jefferson made in the New York Times Best Selling book, “The Jefferson Lies” by David Barton.
In “The Jefferson Lies” and his talks about it, Barton claims that Thomas Jefferson
- included all the words of Jesus and miracles from the gospel of Matthew in what is often called the Jefferson Bible,
- personally helped finance the printing of the first “hot-pressed” Bible in America,
- did not question the Trinity until after he left the presidency,
- chose to include Christian language in his presidential documents by signing them “in the year of our Lord Christ,”
- increased the number of divinity professors at the University of Virginia which he founded as a “transdenominational” school.
It might seem like a small point, but for David Barton, Jefferson’s religious beliefs are worth an entire chapter in his book The Jefferson Lies. In that book, Barton claims Jefferson did not question the Trinity until 1813. However, we find abundant evidence to the contrary. Here is an excerpt from our book, Getting Jefferson Right.
In The Jefferson Lies, David Barton claims that Jefferson came under the influence of groups in Virginia Barton labels as Primitivists and Restorationists. Specifically, Barton claims:
In fact, it was during his affiliation with Christian Primitivism that he first expressed anti-Trinitarian views in a letter to John Adams in 1813.
As we have seen, this claim is clearly false. Jefferson, in 1788, refused to sponsor a friend’s child as a godfather because he would have to affirm his belief in the Trinity. He told his friend, Derieux, that he held that belief [rejecting the Trinity] from early in his life. Jefferson also confided to a Unitarian friend that he attended Priestley’s Unitarian church before 1800, while he was Vice President. In Jefferson’s 1803 Syllabus, he laid out his belief that Jesus was not part of the Godhead. Barton’s attempt to make Jefferson seem orthodox during the active part of his political engagement is contradicted by Jefferson’ own words.
In Getting Jefferson Right, we go into great detail about Barton’s claims on Jefferson’s religious views. Barton tries to explain Jefferson’s religious statements later in life by an appeal to religious movements in central Virginia (Primitivism and the Restoration movement). However, we debunk that effort and let Jefferson speak for himself about his religious influences and beliefs.
Take the Jefferson Quiz.
This review by Hrafnkell Haraldsson at Politicusa compares our book, Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President with David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies.
As you will see, Haraldsson highly recommends our book.
One way we are getting the word out about the book is The Jefferson Quiz. Go check it out and test your Jefferson knowledge. You can see the answers and the results of others who have taken it after you are done.
Read the book on any digital device or computer you own. Click here to see how to do it.
If you have any questions about the book, leave them in the comments section here or at the site designed to support the book – Getting Jefferson Right.
About the book, Messiah College chair of history, John Fea, said:
*Getting Jefferson Right* is an intellectual and historical take down of David Barton’s pseudo-history of Thomas Jefferson by two Christian professors who teach at a conservative Christian college. Michael Coulter and Warren Throckmorton have done their homework. Anyone who reads this book must come to grips with the untruths and suspect historical interpretations that Barton regularly peddles in his books, speaking engagements, and on his radio program. I have yet to read a more thorough refutation of Barton’s claims.
–John Fea, Chair of the History Department, Messiah College and author of *Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction*
(Earlier I had mentioned a problem with images in the book. Those are now resolved. Anyone who bought the book without the images will get an email from Amazon with instructions on how to get their copy updated. People buying the book now should be fine.)