ME: in Times Lit Supp

jesus wasn't a christian

published October 2, 2020
The Jefferson Bible

Nick Spencer tells us, in his review of The Jefferson Bible by Peter Manseau (In Brief, September 18), that Jefferson admired Jesus and that he said his teachings were “a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man”. He also tells us that Jefferson wanted to rescue Jesus’s teaching from what he (Jefferson) called the “dross of his biographers” and their “irrational and incredible tale of divinity and resurrection”. Spencer then asks, curiously, “is The Jefferson Bible evidence that the Founding Fathers engaged positively and creatively with Christian Scripture?” Spencer, I’m afraid, is confusing Jesus’s teachings with Christianity, the very thing that Jefferson seemed to want to get away from. Jesus wasn’t a Christian.

F. W. Nunneley
Beckley, East Sussex