In his retirement, Thomas Jefferson edited the New Testament with a penknife and glue, removing all mention of miracles and other supernatural events. Inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment, Jefferson hoped to reconcile Christian tradition with reason by presenting Jesus of Nazareth as a great moral teacher—not a divine one. Peter Manseau tells the story of the Jefferson Bible, exploring how each new generation has reimagined the book in its own image as readers grapple with both the legacy of the man who made it and the place of religion in American life.
Listen to Chapter 1.
About the Author
Peter Manseau is the Lilly Endowment Curator of American Religious History at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. His many books include The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost and Rag and Bone: A Journey among the World’s Holy Dead. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland.