Though its author called it The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, the prominence of said author led to the inevitable informal title by which it is known today: The Jefferson Bible. American legend THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826)-author, statesman, and third president of the United States-was a deist, a believer in, at best, a watchmaker god, one who did not take a personal interest in the goings-on of humanity. But Jefferson took great comfort from the teachings of Jesus, and so, by editing and rearranging the traditional books of the Bible, Jefferson here retells the story of Jesus in chronological form, removing all supernatural elements but retaining the beauty and the wisdom of the philosophy of Jesus. Jefferson, who had no desire to preach, refused to let his Bible beyond a circle of close friends, and it remained unpublished until 1895. Today, it is one of the most astonishing-if oblique-works of cultural and theological criticism in the English language.
During his remarkable lifetime, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) served his country in many capacities — among them, as President of the United States. But ultimately, this great and talented man — an accomplished architect, naturalist, and linguist — wished to be remembered primarily as the author of the Declaration of Independence. In his autobiography, begun in 1821 at the age of 77, Jefferson presents a detailed account of his young life and the period during which he wrote the Declaration. A first draft of the document is included in this edition, as are his comments on the Articles of Confederation, his experiences as a wartime governor of Virginia, minister to France and observations during the French Revolution. Also featured here are rich remembrances and insights as Jefferson recalls his roles as Washington's secretary of state and vice president under John Adams, and his life in retirement. Fascinating as a trove of firsthand recollections by a pillar of American democracy, this highly recommended volume will be welcomed by students, scholars, and any reader interested in American history.
The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, announcing that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were no longer a part of the British Empire. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.
Were Thomas Jefferson alive to read this book, he would recognize every sentence, every elegant turn of phrase, every lofty, beautifully expressed idea. Indeed, every word in the book is his. In an astonishing feat of editing, Eric S. Petersen has culled the entirety of Thomas Jefferson’s published works to fashion thirty-four original essays on themes ranging from patriotism and liberty to hope, humility, and gratitude. The result is a lucid, inspiring distillation of the wisdom of one of America’s greatest political thinkers.
From his personal motto—“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God”—to his resounding discourse on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson defined the essential truth of the American spirit. In the essays that Petersen has crafted from letters, speeches, and public documents, Jefferson’s unique moral philosophy and vision shine through. Among the hundreds of magnificent sentences gathered in this volume, here are Jefferson’s pronouncements on
Gratitude: “I have but one system of ethics for men and for nations— to be grateful, to be faithful to all engagements and under all circumstances, to be open and generous.”
Religion: “A concern purely between our God and our consciences.”
America’s national character: “It is part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate; to surmount every difficulty with resolution and contrivance.”
Public debt: “We shall all consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves.”
War: “I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.”
In stately measured cadences, these thirty-four essays provide timeless guidance on leading a spiritually fulfilling life. Light and Liberty is a triumphant work of supreme eloquence, as uplifting today as when Jefferson first set these immortal sentences on paper.
Jefferson’s chronicle of the natural, social, and political history of Virginia is at once a scientific discourse, an attempt to define America, and a brilliant examination of the idea of freedom.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Includes some 100 observations about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness-as well as art and culture-from the author of the Declaration of Independence. The new series look features a classic portrait of the author on the front cover with his signature printed below in gold foil.
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