The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (the Jefferson Bible), by Thomas Jefferson, , at sacred-texts.com
In 1803, while "overwhelmed with other business," Mr. Jefferson cut from the evangelists such passages as he believed would best present the ethical teaching of Jesus, and "arranged them, on the pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or subject." He called it "The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth, extracted from the account of his life and doctrines, as given by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; being an abridgment of the New Testament for the use of the Indians, unembarrassed with matters of fact or faith beyond the level of their comprehension." In a letter to his friend, Mr. Charles Thompson, after describing this work, he said: "If I had time I would add to my little book the Greek, Latin and French texts in columns, side by side." Some time afterwards he carried out the design thus expressed, giving the texts in the four languages, "in a handsome morocco-bound volume, labeled on the back 'Morals of Jesus.'" This is the volume called "The Jefferson Bible," which is now owned by the Government, and the publication of which has been recently ordered by Congress. While this volume was still in the possession of Mr. Jefferson's oldest grandson, Colonel Thomas Jefferson Randolph, an accurate copy of its table of contents was made, and from that copy the English text is reproduced in the following pages. As a fit introduction to it, a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, and a comparison of the doctrines of Jesus with those of others, are published, giving, perhaps, the fullest expression of his religious views ever made by Mr. Jefferson himself.