This week, Clay takes a deeper look at Jefferson and religion. Jefferson considered the teachings of Jesus as having "the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man," but he felt that the pure teachings of Jesus were inaccurately appropriated by some of the early followers of Jesus which led to a Bible that had both "diamonds" of wisdom and the "dung" of ancient political agendas.
"But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
— Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia
We discuss Jefferson’s only published book, Notes on the State of Virginia. Jefferson completed his first draft of the book in 1781 and first published it anonymously in Paris in 1785. It is widely considered the most important American book published before 1800.
The psychological fallout came screaming out in Query XIV—a kind of dark racist diatribe against African-Americans, a subterranean fantasy projection of Jefferson’s guilt, anger (including self-anger), eroticism, self-protection, and what is known as casuistry—making the case for something you know is wrong.
This week, in the continuing series of Jefferson biographical shows about President Thomas Jefferson, Clay and David present part two of a discussion about Jefferson’s book, Notes on the State of Virginia, and how some of the things he wrote came back to haunt him politically.
More from the Thomas Jefferson Hour
In the continuing series of Jefferson biographical shows about President Thomas Jefferson, Clay S. Jenkinson and David Swenson present part one of a discussion about Jefferson’s published work, “Notes on the State of Virginia”, often called the greatest book written in America before 1800. In this episode, Jefferson’s positions on race are discussed at length.