Thomas Jefferson produced two abridgements of the Gospels with two different purposes. He envisioned his 1804 “cut to paste” abridgement (46 pages) as a mini-Bible and “Collection for the Indians.” He originally hoped to publish it as a manual in different Indian dialects as a concise summary of the moral and doctrinal precepts of the Bible for Native Americans on the frontier. However, his 1820 expanded abridgement (82 pages)---in Greek, Latin, French and English---was for his personal study.
Jefferson’s 1804 White House “wee little book” has never been found except for the Title Page, Table of Texts, and two KJV Bibles he used to clip Scriptures into a blank notebook.
Dr. Judd Patton, Professor Emeritus at Bellevue University, has re-constructed President Jefferson’s 1804 abridgement highlighting: the words of Jesus in red-letters; the moral and doctrinal precepts of Mr. Jefferson’s work; seven rare, historic facsimiles of Jefferson’s Title Page, Table of Texts and 1791 Bible; and three scholars who explain the context of Jefferson’s work for Native Americans, that calls into question the common but erroneous perceptions associated with the “Jefferson Bible.” The book is dedicated to Native Americans and is a must read for American patriots desiring to understand Thomas Jefferson’s classic work in early American religious history.
Editor: Judd W. Patton