Catalogue


"Ye will say I am no Christian" : the Thomas Jefferson/John Adams correspondence on religion, morals, and values /
edited by Bruce Braden.
imprint
Amherst, NY : Prometheus Books, 2006.
description
258 p.
ISBN
1591023564 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Amherst, NY : Prometheus Books, 2006.
isbn
1591023564 (hardcover : alk. paper)
catalogue key
5784046
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2005-09-26:
America's founding fathers have long been revered or reviled for their praise or rejection of religion. Along with Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams probed most deeply into their own religious psyches and the cultural role of religion. Braden, a postal carrier and independent scholar, collects a portion of the pair's letters dealing with matters of morality and religion. The letters range over the usual questions for which these men have already become known: the human/divine nature of Jesus, the afterlife, moral philosophy, the place of religion in the state. The collection lacks a critical apparatus, however, and Braden provides no rationale for his choices or method of selection. Although he does provide footnotes for the letters, the notes offer nothing more than brief identifications of writers or others mentioned in the correspondence. Braden arranges the letters chronologically from 1787 to 1826 (when both men famously died on July 4), but the correspondence lacks any direction or structure. Moreover, the collection contains twice as many of Adams's letters to Jefferson as those Jefferson wrote to Adams, although Adams's epistles lack the sparkling erudition of his cohort's writings. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"If you're interested in knowing at firsthand what John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, those two wonderful letter-writers, thought about philosophy, ethics, and religion (particularly Christianity), Bruce Braden's carefully edited collection of their correspondence during the early years of the American republic is indispensable. The two men stimulated each other by their exchanges, and this compilation will stimulate you too." Paul F. Boller Jr. Emeritus Professor of History Texas Christian University "Braden renders a significant service in making available the stimulating, provocative, elegant correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on the subjects of religion and morality. We are in his debt." Edwin S. Gaustad Author of Sworn on the Altar of God: A Religious Biography of Thomas Jefferson "What a pleasure and benefit it is to have these splendid letters again in print! Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are national treasures, especially in these elegant, interesting, and profound exchanges about religion, philosophy, and morals. The warmth and trust of their friendship as revealed in these letters makes them especially rich and rewarding to read. That the writers were signers of the Declaration of Independence and then the second and third presidents of the United States makes the exchanges especially significant for all Americans." Ralph Ketchum, Professor Emeritus The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, September 2005
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Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
The ?Culture Wars? have produced a lot of talk about religion, morals, and values, with both sides often hearkening back to our Founding Fathers. Here is your chance to learn firsthand what two of the most influential pillars of the American Republic thought about these perennial topics. From 1812 to July 4, 1826?when ironically death claimed both men?Thomas Jefferson and John Adams exchanged letters touching on these still controversial issues.These little-known letters contain many surprising revelations. Listen in as these champions of liberty and freedom of religion speak out frankly on church and state, the Bible, Jesus, Christianity, morality, and virtue. Editor Bruce Braden has done us all a service by collecting this revealing and intimate historical correspondence on topics that continue to stir emotions and debate in the 21st century.
Main Description
The Culture Wars have produced a lot of talk about religion, morals, and values, with both sides often hearkening back to our Founding Fathers. Here is your chance to learn firsthand what two of the most influential pillars of the American Republic thought about these perennial topics. From 1812 to July 4, 1826-when ironically death claimed both men-Thomas Jefferson and John Adams exchanged letters touching on these still controversial issues.These little-known letters contain many surprising revelations. In the 1800 presidential election, in which the Republican Jefferson opposed the Federalist Adams, religion was a topic of hot debate, as reflected in this correspondence written many years after. What was it about Jefferson's religious beliefs that provoked such vitriol against him in the campaign? And what was there in Adam's theology that prompted certain Calvinists to label him no Christian? Though they expressed different opinions, Jefferson and Adams agreed on what they called the corruptions of Christianity. Despite their criticisms and their critics, both men considered themselves Christians, in different senses of the term.Hearing these champions of liberty and freedom of religion speak out frankly on church and state, the Bible, Jesus, Christianity, morality, and virtue, modern readers may well ask themselves whether either of these Founding Fathers could today be elected president. Editor Bruce Braden has done us all a service by collecting this revealing and intimate historical correspondence on topics that continue to stir emotions and debate in the 21st century.Bruce Braden (Carmel, IN) is a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service and the author of two books of poetry.
Main Description
The "Culture Wars" have produced a lot of talk about religion, morals, and values, with both sides often hearkening back to our Founding Fathers. Here is your chance to learn firsthand what two of the most influential pillars of the American Republic thought about these perennial topics. From 1812 to July 4, 1826 when ironically death claimed both men Thomas Jefferson and John Adams exchanged letters touching on these still controversial issues. These little-known letters contain many surprising revelations. In the 1800 presidential election, in which the Republican Jefferson opposed the Federalist Adams, religion was a topic of hot debate, as reflected in this correspondence written many years after. What was it about Jefferson's religious beliefs that provoked such vitriol against him in the campaign? And what was there in Adams's theology that prompted certain Calvinists and Trinitarians to label him "no Christian"? Though they expressed different opinions, Jefferson and Adams agreed on what they called the "corruptions of Christianity." Despite their criticisms and their critics, both men considered themselves Christians, in different senses of the term. Hearing these champions of liberty and freedom of religion speak out frankly on church and state, the Bible, Jesus, Christianity, morality, and virtue, modern readers may well ask themselves whether either of these Founding Fathers could today be elected president. Editor Bruce Braden has done us all a service by collecting this revealing and intimate historical correspondence on topics that continue to stir emotions and debate in the 21st century.
Long Description
Reveals the surprising contents of letters between these champions of liberty and freedom as they speak frankly on topics that continue to stir debate in the 21st century.
Main Description
The 'Culture Wars' have produced a lot of talk about religion, morals, and values, with both sides often hearkening back to our Founding Fathers. Here is your chance to learn firsthand what two of the most influential pillars of the American Republic thought about these perennial topics. From 1812 to July 4, 1826 -- when ironically death claimed both men -- Thomas Jefferson and John Adams exchanged letters touching on these still controversial issues. These little-known letters contain many surprising revelations. In the 1800 presidential election, in which the Republican Jefferson opposed the Federalist Adams, religion was a topic of hot debate, as reflected in this correspondence written many years after. What was it about Jefferson's religious beliefs that provoked such vitriol against him in the campaign? And what was there in Adams's theology that prompted certain Calvinists and Trinitarians to label him 'no Christian'? Though they expressed different opinions, Jefferson and Adams agreed on what they called the 'corruptions of Christianity'. Despite their criticisms and their critics, both men considered themselves Christians, in different senses of the term. Hearing these champions of liberty and freedom of religion speak out frankly on church and state, the Bible, Jesus, Christianity, morality, and virtue, modern readers may well ask themselves whether either of these Founding Fathers could today be elected president. Editor Bruce Braden has done us all a service by collecting this revealing and intimate historical correspondence on topics that continue to stir emotions and debate in the 21st century.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. 15
Introductionp. 17
The Correspondencep. 23
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (December 10, 1787): Reformationsp. 23
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (February 10, 1812): Propheciesp. 23
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (April 20, 1812): Richmond and Wabash prophetsp. 25
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (May 1, 1812): Charges of corruptionp. 27
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (May 3, 1812): Spreading delusionsp. 27
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (June 11, 1812): Indian traditionsp. 28
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 28, 1812): Indian metaphysical sciencep. 32
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (October 12, 1812): New England histories/Wollastonp. 36
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (December 28, 1812): Wollaston/Thomas Mortonp. 42
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (May 27, 1813): Death of Benjamin Rush/Indian originsp. 48
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (May 29, 1813): Unitarians/Lindsey's memoirsp. 51
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 10, 1813): Letter to Dr. Joseph Priestleyp. 53
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 11, 1813): The living and the deadp. 55
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (June 15, 1813): Enemies of reformp. 55
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 25, 1813): Spiritual tyranny beginningp. 58
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 28, 1813): Denunciations of the priesthoodp. 60
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 30, 1813): Terrorism of the dayp. 64
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (July 1813): The most lying tonguep. 68
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (July 9, 1813): Histories are annihilatedp. 70
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (July 13, 1813): Inequalities of mind and bodyp. 73
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (July 15, 1813): The progress of the human mindp. 75
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (July 16, 1813): Promise to Benjamin Rushp. 77
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (July 18, 1813): More to say on religionp. 80
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (July 22, 1813): Dr. Priestley says ...p. 83
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (August 9, 1813): Bible compared with other scripturep. 85
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (August [14?] 1813): Theognis lived 540 years before Jesusp. 86
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (August 22, 1813): The basis for my own faithp. 87
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (September 14, 1813): Ye will say I am no Christianp. 89
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (September 15, 1813): No mind, but one, can seep. 93
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (September 22, 1813): Zeno and his disciples too Christian?p. 94
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (September [or October 4], 1813): How much of Judeo-Christianity was learned from Babylon, Egypt, and Persiap. 96
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (October 12, 1813): Cutting verse by verse outp. 98
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (October 28, 1813): Natural versus artificial aristocracyp. 101
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (November 14, 1813): A second set of Ten Commandmentsp. 108
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (November 15, 1813): Aristocraciesp. 111
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (December 3, 1813): Honor the gods established by lawp. 118
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (December 25, 1813): I return to Priestleyp. 124
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (January 24, 1814): Such tricks have been playedp. 129
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (February 1814): Looking into Oriental history and Hindoo religionp. 133
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (July 5, 1814): Use of Plato to construct artificial Christianityp. 138
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (July 16, 1814): Platonic Christianity has received a mortal woundp. 140
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 19, 1815): Science, religion, government need reformp. 142
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 20, 1815): Whether priests and kings shall rule by fictional miraclesp. 144
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 22, 1815): Acts of the saints (Acta Sanctorum)p. 146
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (August 10, 1815): Acta Sanctorum: A mass of lies, a farrago of falsehoodp. 151
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (August 24, 1815): Acta Sanctorum: A most complete history of the corruption of Christianityp. 152
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (November 13, 1815): Another St. Bartholomew's Day threatenedp. 152
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (January 11, 1816): Arts and sciences soften and correct the manners and morals of menp. 154
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (February 2, 1816): The people wish to be deceivedp. 156
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (March 2, 1816): Who and what is this Fate?p. 160
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (April 8, 1816): A good world on the wholep. 163
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (May 3, 1816): If "afterlife" is fraud, we shall never know itp. 166
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (May 6, 1816): Use of grief/Grimm/Pascal/History of Jesusp. 170
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (August 1, 1816): Dreams of the future better than history of the pastp. 174
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (August 9, 1816): Van der Kemp/Quality of life/Jesuitsp. 176
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (September 3, 1816): Cross most fatal example of abuse of griefp. 178
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (September 30, 1816): Priestley on Dupuis's Origin of All Cultsp. 181
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (October 14, 1816): Essence of virtue is in doing good to othersp. 182
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (November 4, 1816): Purify Christendom from corruptionsp. 185
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (November 25, 1816): Bible societiesp. 186
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (December 12, 1816): Be just and goodp. 187
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (December 16, 1816): Greatest fictions immortalized in artp. 188
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (January 11, 1817): They supposed they knew my religionp. 190
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (February 2, 1817): Passions and interests generally prevailp. 191
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (April 19, 1817): I never can be a misanthropep. 192
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (May 5, 1817): Resurrection of Connecticut to lightp. 194
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (May 18, 1817): You think Protestant Popedom is annihilated in America?p. 195
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (May 26, 1817): Controversy between spiritualists and materialistsp. 197
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (July 15, 1817): I choose to laughp. 199
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (October 10, 1817): Will their religion allow it?p. 199
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (January 28, 1818): A mind too inquisitive for Connecticutp. 200
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (May 17, 1818): I am glad he is gone to Kentuckyp. 201
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (May 29, 1818): His system is founded in hope, not fearp. 202
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (July 18, 1818): Dr. Mayhewp. 202
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (October 20, 1818): The dear partner of my life lies in extremisp. 203
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (November 13, 1818): I know well and feel what you have lostp. 204
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (December 8, 1818): If I did not believe in a future statep. 204
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (January 29, 1819): How has it happened?p. 205
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (February 13, 1819): Abolish polytheismp. 205
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (March 21, 1819): Eccentricities of planetsp. 206
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (May 21, 1819): The world is deadp. 206
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (December 10, 1819): Follow truth, eschew errorp. 207
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (December 21, 1819): To render all prayer futilep. 207
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (January 20, 1820): God: An essence we know nothing ofp. 208
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (March 14, 1820): The ablest metaphysiciansp. 208
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (May 12, 1820): The cause of all is beyond conceptionp. 210
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (August 15, 1820): This heresy of immaterialismp. 211
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (January 22, 1821): We prescribe a cure for othersp. 213
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (February 3, 1821): Free government and the Roman Catholic religion can never exist togetherp. 215
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (May 19, 1821): Surrender hopep. 216
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (September 24, 1821): Hope springs eternalp. 217
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (June 1, 1822): When all our faculties are gone, is death an evil?/Warp. 217
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 11, 1822): Death is a blessing/Globe is a theater of warp. 219
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (March 10, 1823): Right and justice have hard farep. 219
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (April 11, 1823): Virgin birth of Jesus classed with fablep. 220
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (August 15, 1823): Dr. Priestley came to breakfastp. 224
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (September 4, 1823): Art of printing changed the worldp. 226
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (October 12, 1823): The evening of our livesp. 226
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (January 8, 1825): Experiments on the nervous system/Soul?p. 227
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (January 22, 1825): This awful blasphemyp. 229
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (January 23, 1825): Liberty of conscience, right of free inquiryp. 230
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (February 25, 1825): I like him much for his curiosityp. 231
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (December 1, 1825): Rather go forward, meet what is to comep. 231
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (December 18, 1825): In favor of treading the ground over againp. 232
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (January 14, 1826): Death: A transformation or an end?p. 232
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (March 25, 1826): What he has heard and learnt of the Heroic Agep. 233
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (April 17, 1826): More personal abuse than there used to bep. 233
Addendum: A Sampling of Jefferson and Adams Writing to Others on Religion, Philosophy, and Moralsp. 235
Indexp. 245
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