Thomas Jefferson’s Bible, “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” which is undergoing conservation, is set to return to public display Nov. 11 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
The text, which Jefferson finished in 1820 and intended to remain private, includes excerpts from the four Gospels of the New Testament in Greek, Latin, French and English. Jefferson’s goal was to create a book that would tell a chronological story of the life of Jesus, highlighting moral teachings, but deleting mentions of miracles and the Resurrection, which Jefferson said he found “contrary to reason,” according to the Smithsonian.
The Bible resembles a scrapbook, containing clippings that Jefferson pasted onto blank pages. In March, the Smithsonian began treatment of the text to ensure its preservation. The private Bible will be displayed with two English editions of the New Testament from which Jefferson cut excerpts. Visitors to the museum will be able to view each page, as well as videos about the Bible’s meticulous conservation.
Starting Nov. 11, a companion Web site will be available: www.americanhistory.si.edu/jeffersonbible.
Nov. 11 through May 28 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Ave. NW, 202-633-3129