Introduction to the Jefferson Bible

In 1895, Cyrus Adler, the librarian of the Smithsonian, became aware of the existence of the Jefferson when he became aware of the bible when he came across the mutilated English Bibles Jefferson had used. He purchased it from a family member for $400. In 1904, Congress printed the text. Adler wrote the following introduction.

The so-called Jefferson Bible, more accurately "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth," is now the property of the United States National Museum at Washington, having been obtained by purchase in 1895. The following is a description of the volume:

Measurements: Height, 8 1/4 inches; width, 4 15/16 inches; thickness at back, 1 1/4 inches; in middle, 1 5/8 inches; at edge points, 1 inch.

Binding: Full red leather with gilt tooling. The back divided in five (5) panels; in second (2d) panel from top title in gold: "Morals of Jesus."

The margin of the covers of all four sides on the outside, and on the three outer ones on the inside, as well as on the edges, are tooled in gold. Inside of the upper cover is on the left side top a label containing the words: "Bound by Fred A. Mayo, Richmond, Va."

The cover inside as well as the fly-leaves are covered with gray paper in marble designs.

Order: Upper cover; two (2) manuscript leaves in the handwriting of Jefferson, containing on the first two and a half pages the table of texts; the rest is blank; fly-leaf; three (3) blank leaves; title ?page in manuscript in Jefferson's handwriting, reading

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"THE
LIFE AND MORALS
OF
JESUS OF NAZARETH
EXTRACTED TEXTUALLY
FROM THE GOSPELS
IN
GREEK, LATIN
FRENCH & ENGLISH;"

folded printed maps of Palestine and Asia Minor, taken out from a book; that of Palestine has on top in print: "page 1," and that of Asia Minor "page 414;" blank page excepting for a black line in its middle, running from top to bottom. Then come, on numbered leaves, begin ning on the left side of the first (the reverse of the page just described), and closing on the right side of the last, the extracts arranged in two columns, separated by a black line, on each page, in the following order: On the left hand page Greek and Latin, on the right, French and English. The sources are indicated in the margin in Jefferson's handwriting. The numbers of the leaves, which run from 1 to 83, are on the left side top of the left hand pages. Leaf 83 has extracts on the right hand page, the left hand page has only the black line; it is, followed by three (3) other blank leaves, the first of which has the black line on both sides; then come the fly-leaf and the cover. Between each of the leaves, with the exception of the blank ones, there are alternately one and two narrow strips of paper bound in.

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