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Posted May 18, 2012
"Because the portrayal of history so affects current policy, some groups have found it advantageous to their political agenda to distort historical facts intentionally. Those particularly adept at this are termed “revisionists.” - David Barton in his book, "Original Intent."
Two Christian scholars, Dr. Warren Throckmorton and Dr. Michael Coulter have written a reply to David Barton's best selling book, "The Jefferson Lies."
In their book, "Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President," they investigate and refute Barton's claims about Thomas Jefferson's religious beliefs, about the use of religious wording in certain documents mandated by treaties, and about Thomas Jefferson's literal cut and paste version of the four gospels in the New Testament. Through careful and complete reading of original documents and consultations with scholars of American religious history and of Thomas Jefferson, they show where Barton's claims are in error due to omission, misinterpretation, or portrayal to promote a political agenda.
In addition to showing where Barton's historical errors, Throckmorton and Coulter have shown how Barton misuses or misrepresents several terms such as Deconstructionism and Modernism. They also state, in the introduction, that the duty of Christian scholars is first to the truth.
Their work is important beyond the corrections to Barton's historical errors. It also shows the difference between scholarship and pseudo-scholarship. It is a shame that this book was necessary, but it is a great contribution to popular understanding of the nuanced thinker Thomas Jefferson.
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Posted July 11, 2012
Unlike the book they set out to refute, The Jefferson Lies, by David Barton, these two PhDs present solid scholarly claims to set the record straight after Barton's mischaracterization of evidence. Barton, in my opinion, has set out on a quest to repaint the author of the Virginia Declaration of Religious Freedom as the exact opposite of what the man appears to have been.
Reading and figuring out Jefferson and his religious beliefs is a long and laborious task, since the writings of the man span six decades. Jefferson's own faith and lack there-of matured over the decades of his life. Pigeonholing him, as Barton attempts to do, is dangerous. Throckmorton and Coulter have preformed admirably, and present solid scholarship to back up their research.
ANYONE who reads Barton's book, needs to immediately read this work as well, in order to see Jefferson in all of his enigmatic glory. They let the facts and the words of Jefferson speak for themselves. From the boilerplate form - with the words "in the year of our Lord Christ" - that Jefferson signed in the thousands, to sending "missionaries" among the plains Indians, these good Drs. examine the evidence that Barton claims makes Jefferson a supporter of Christianity as a lynchpin of Jefferson's governing character. I pray that anyone who is seriously interested in understanding the Sage of Monticello does their own investigation to form their own opinions. The well documented work by these authors will give you the links to do your own research and reach your own conclusions.
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Posted July 5, 2012
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