Things keep popping up. Like Jefferson’s bible. I mean, who knew? 5,010,000 web sites according to Google. This fourth decade of college has been wasted money. Google everything. Human contact be damned.
Anyway, Jefferson’s bible. (Thanks, Mark.) In the wake of the July yimmer yammering about our Christian forefathers, 4th of July, Great Experiment, ordained by God, bring democracy to the underprivileged, go team, blah, blah, blah, I find out Thomas Jefferson is cutting up his bible. Just excising the supernatural stuff like the miracles of Jesus, the virgin birth...
No big deal – except for the poetry and the beauty of it all. I mean, it moves me, all those images. The Gospel of John starts out, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” Damn. And when the Word becomes flesh, oh my God! Chills run down my spine. And Jefferson cuts it all out. The morals and ethical teachings remain, but the poetry is all gone.
I blame the bible literalists for the scissor incident: Jesus can turn the water into wine – but you sure as hell better not drink it. I could go further with this, but I don’t get invited to that many dinner parties as it is. Of course, there’s no wine at many of those dinner parties anyway.
Despite cutting out the poetry, I admire Jefferson for his courage. No one would accuse you of being a Christian if you did that today. I wonder how many dinner parties Jefferson got invited to, but he probably didn’t really care. He was busy farming grapes and hemp and a few other things. Meanwhile, on the fringes of polite society, the poets keep turning water into wine. But no one notices.