Bible Heritage Collection

Jefferson Bible


Jefferson Bible



Document Type

Photographic reproduction


Bible, Jefferson Bible

Brief Description

The Centennial Library copy of the Jefferson "Bible" is a photographic reproduction of the original cut-and-paste version created by Jefferson. It was first published by an act of the United States Congress in 1904. For many years copies of this publication were given to incoming members of Congress.


This work, whose official title is The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, was the attempt of Thomas Jefferson to accurately reflect the true teachings of Jesus as he saw them. Jefferson did not believe in the divinity of Christ nor that He performed miracles; he saw Jesus as a great reformer and moral leader. Toward the end of his life, using multiple language extracts of the four Gospels, Jefferson cut and pasted together his own version. His goal was to eliminate what he felt were distortions in the Gospels by unlearned apostles who often misunderstood the teachings of Jesus. Thus he removed all the supernatural aspects, including miracles, as well as misinterpretations he perceived had been added by the Gospel writers. The result, he felt, best expressed the moral code of the teachings of Jesus. This work was never published during the lifetime of Jefferson, and in fact a printed version was not published until 1895 by the National Museum.

Country or Place of Origin

United States



Publication Date of the Original


Publisher of the Reproduction

Government Printing Office


Washington, DC



Jefferson Bible