The Founding of America: Thomas Jefferson

Fifty years to the date after signing the Declaration of Independence—our third President, Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826—just hours after the death of his friend and fellow signer, John Adams.

But did you know that just six years earlier Jefferson completed an eighty-four-page manuscript he called the “Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth” gleaned from the four Gospels of the New Testament?

It was Jefferson’s private work, and remained unknown until his great-granddaughter sold the manuscript to the Smithsonian Institution in 1895.

In 2011, the Smithsonian undertook a challenging restoration project of the fragile document, and what is now known as the “Jefferson Bible” was presented on display for scholars and the general public at the Smithsonian’s Albert H. Small Documents Gallery!

Engage with the Bible in its impact over the centuries!


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