The Jefferson Bible

Peter Manseau, The Jefferson Bible: A Biography. Lives of Great Religious Books; Princeton and London: Princeton University Press, 2020. 236 pp. $24.95 / £20.00. ISBN 9780691205694.

The unusual artifact entitled the Jefferson Bible deserves a detailed bio-graphy. This enterprise was undertaken by Peter Manseau and delivered to the reader through the Princeton University Press’s series of Lives of Great Religious Books.

What is the Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, known as Jefferson Bible? A cultural artifact? It is an experiment? It is a book? It is all these and more. We know that was handcrafted, a cut & paste operation. (5)

Thomas Jefferson gathered passages, reordered, repurposed those passages according to ‘his own intuition and sensibilities.’ For Manseau, Jefferson’s enterprise resemble a dadaist découpé, a cut-up, a music sampling, a music remix, and simultaneously ‘it is many books.’ (7-8)

This hypercreative item contains its time(s) and remains a witness of what ‘new’ and ‘intriguing’ would be read in the future.

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