The Jefferson Bible (The Life & Morals of Jesus of Nazareth)

Thomas Jefferson
1819
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Done with his official work for the day, Thomas Jefferson sat in the new presidential mansion in Washington in 1803 and opened his Bible--not to pray, but to cut. He scoured the text for Jesus' greatest teachings, sliced out his favorite portions, and glued them into an empty volume. He called it "The Philosophy of Jesus." That book was lost to history.

In 1819, he started over and created a new version called "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth," commonly referred to now as the Jefferson Bible. This volume was kept largely secret and passed among Jefferson's relatives until 1895, when it was discovered by the librarian at the Smithsonian. In 1904, it was published by Congress.

What follows is, for the first time online, the complete Jefferson Bible--plus links to many of his key deletions. You'll see that Jefferson cut out miracles and signs or declarations of Jesus' divinity. As you read through the Jefferson Bible, click on the little scissors icons and you'll see what Jefferson deleted.

Click here for more on the origins of the Jefferson Bible or on the controversial religious views of Jefferson. To discuss Jefferson or the Jefferson Bible, click here.



The Life and Morals of
Jesus of Nazareth
Extracted Textually from the Gospels
Greek, Latin, French, and
English



Christ's Birth through The Twelve Apostles


Luke 2
The Roman empire taxed.
1: And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2: (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3: And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4: And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5: To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6: And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7: And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  

21: And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS.
39: And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
40: And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
42: And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, after the custom of the feast.
43: And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44: But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances.
45: And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46: And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47: And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48: And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.  
51: And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.
52: And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature.


Luke 3
1: Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,
2: Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests,

Mark 1
4: John did baptize in the wilderness.

Matthew 3
4: And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
5: Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
6: And were baptized of him in Jordan.  
13: Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

Luke 3
23: And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age.  

John 2 
12: After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.
13: And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14: And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
16: And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

John 3
 
22: After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

Matthew 4
12: Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;

Mark 6
17: For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her.
18: For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.
19: Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
20: For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
21: And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;
22: And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
23: And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.

24: And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
25: And she came in immediately with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.
26: And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
27: And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
28: And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.

Mark 1
21: And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
22: And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.


Matthew 12
1: At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.
2: But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
3: But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
4: How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
5: Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?  
9: And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
10: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
11: And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
12: How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

Mark 2
27: And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.

Matthew 12
14: Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
15: But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him.

Luke 6
12: And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
13: And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
14: Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
15: Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zealotes,
16: And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
17: And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him.
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