The American Humanist Association delivered this week electronic and paperback copies of a new version of the “Jefferson Bible” to members of congress and President Obama. The AHA’s edition contains not only Thomas Jefferson’s original redaction – which the Founding Father completed around 1804, removing supernatural content from the Gospels with a razor — but also the AHA’s own picks for “best and worst” biblical content, as well as additions of maxims from other religious texts, celebrating the diversity of American religiosity through a curated, secular lens. “The Humanist Manifesto” rounds out its final chapter.
While Jefferson never referred to his text as a “Bible” and scholars debate whether Jefferson intended its public dissemination, Kimberly Winston of Religion News Service reports that this is hardly the first time that the “Jefferson Bible” was distributed on Capitol Hill. The United States government funded its presentation to each incoming member of congress from 1901 through the 1950s.