164. Thomas Jefferson is considered one of the greatest men in history because of his great knowledge, intelligence, honesty and genuine love for his fellow man. “Whether regarded as a patriot, a statesman, or a scholar, he deserves to rank among the greatest men America has ever produced.” - New Standard Encyclopedia, vol. 5, 1952. “History recognizes him as one of the greatest and fairest of men ever to hold public office in the nation.” - p. 196, vol. 8, Britannica Junior, 1956. And in 1997 he was even called “the Man of the Millennium” (see USA Weekend, Feb. 14-16, 1997) - the greatest single individual to live in the last thousand years!
Quotes from The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Koch and Peden, The Modern Library (Random House, Inc.), 1944:
(1) pp. 631-632 - Ltr to John Adams [who shared Jefferson’s views about the trinity] dated Oct. 13, 1813:
“In extracting the pure principles which [Jesus] taught, we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms, as instruments of riches and power to themselves. We must dismiss the Platonists[55, 56] and Plotinists [73, 74] ... the Eclectics,[66, 67, 68, 69] the Gnostics and Scholastics, their essences [substance] [15, 105] and emanations, their Logos and Demiurgos ..., with a long train of etc., etc., etc., or shall I say at once, of nonsense. We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists .... The result is ... pure and unsophisticated doctrines, such as were professed and acted on by the unlettered Apostles, the Apostolic Fathers, and the Christians of the first century. Their Platonizing successors, indeed, in after times, in order to legitimate the corruptions which they had incorporated into the doctrines of Jesus, found it necessary to disavow the primitive Christians, who had taken their principles from the mouth of Jesus himself, of his Apostles, and the Fathers cotemporary with them. They excommunicated them as heretics....” [bold-type emphasis added by me - Jefferson’s emphasis underlined.]
(2) pp. 693-694 - Ltr to William Short [close friend], Oct. 31, 1819:
“Plato ... dealing out mysticisms incomprehensible to the human mind, has been deified by certain sects usurping the name of Christians; because in his foggy conceptions, they found a basis of inpenetrable darkness whereon to rear fabrications as delirious, of their own invention. These they fathered blasphemously on Him whom they claimed as their Founder [Jesus], but who would disclaim them with the indignation which their caricatures of His religion so justly excite. ....[Jesus has been defamed by these] artificial systems, invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by Him....
( E.g. ... [Jesus’] deification ..., His corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the trinity ..., etc.” - [This is Jefferson’s note. - Bracketed information added by me. ])
(3) pp. 703-704 - Ltr to James Smith, Dec. 8, 1822:
“No historical fact is better established, than that the doctrine of one God, pure and uncompounded, was that of the early ages of Christianity; and was among the efficacious doctrines which gave it triumph over the polytheism of the ancients, sickened by the absurdities of their own theology. Nor was the unity [one person only] of the Supreme Being ousted from the Christian creed by the force of reason, but by the sword of civil government, wielded at the will of the fanatic Athanasius. The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus [the three-headed hell hound of classical mythology], with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs....”
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