Thomas Jefferson's views have led many to conclude that he was an atheist, as recently as in the work of Christopher Hitchens. But the third President has also been labeled a deist, a Unitarian, and a Christian. Philosopher and theologian Stephen Vicchio takes on the challenge of analyzing Jefferson's writings in detail to see if any of these appellations is fitting. The author finds that Jefferson's two volumes on the New Testament Gospels (A Syllabus of an Estimate of the Merit of the Doctrines of Jesus and The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth) reveal a great deal concerning the theological perspective of this famous American statesman.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Stephen J. Vicchio, a much honored teacher, prolific essayist, and most recently the author of a monumental study of the reception of the biblical Job in the West, turns in 'Jefferson's Religion' to another iconic figure whose presence has haunted the Republic since its inception. With admirable economy and clarity, Vicchio addresses the often debated issue of the precise nature of our third President's thoughts on religion and their role in his political philosophy. The book considers five basic questions emerging from this issue, drawing judiciously from Jefferson's vast correspondence, his reading, and the body of his public utterances. Professor Vicchio then presents a summary balance between what Jefferson did and did not believe, giving the reader a timely guide to how his moral and religious convictions inform his enduring legacy." -- Richard Macksey, Humanities Center, Johns Hopkins University
Stephen J. Vicchio
Stephen Vicchio is Professor of Philosophy at the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. He is the author or editor of two dozen books, including The Image of the Biblical Job, Biblical Figures in the Islamic Faith, and Jefferson's Religion, all published by Wipf & Stock.