The Jefferson Bible

Presented at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bell County (Texas) on January 19, 2014,

By Bob Blair (bblair48 at

  • So, that's the story of the Jefferson Bible. What does it mean to us?

    For one thing, it confirms that our modern UU method of intellectual inquiry into spiritual things is not a recent innovation. Here we have Thomas Jefferson doing it 200 years ago.

    For another it shows us one way to seek: privately, by the application of reason to the huge overlay of dross that covers nuggets of truth.

    It also suggests that we can know and get value from a system of religious beliefs without solving, or even addressing, all its problems. In this case, we can learn about and learn from the moral teachings of Jesus without having to deal with his divinity.

    And if we buy into Jefferson's way of thinking we get a potentially valuable way of looking at the lessons of Christ:

    1. As a moral guide, with specific examples, instead of as a general doctrinal imperative.
    2. As a practical guide to conduct. If you want to know "what would Jesus do", now it's easier to find.
    3. Some times mankind makes things more complicated than they are. As Jefferson write, "The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man."