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Sworn on the Altar of God: A Religious Biography of Thomas Jefferson

(Library of Religious Biography)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  8 reviews
This acclaimed biography explores the religious life of Thomas Jefferson and the contribution his strident commitment to religious liberty made to the formation of the nation. Renowned historian Edwin Gaustad chronicles Jefferson's intellectual growth, paying particular attention both to Jefferson's private struggle to come to grips with his own faith and to his public rol ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published January 3rd 1996 by Eerdmans
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David Saxon
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Gaustad's work is a very balanced and insightful analysis of Jefferson's religious views. Those who wish to categorize Jefferson as merely an Enlightenment thinker must come to grips with the seriousness of his religious passion. His belief in God shaped everything about his life. Nevertheless, those who wish to claim Jefferson as an evangelical will be devastated by the copious quotations Gaustad provides from Jefferson's extensive correspondence. In some ways Jefferson was no deist: he believe ...more
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very good survey of Jefferson's views on religion, especially his complete rejection of religion binding itself to government. TJ was a deist or Unitarian. He very much believed that religion was the basis of morality and believed MUCH in reason as an important determinant in evaluating religion -- even creating his own version of the gospels by literally cutting out miracles & metaphysical statements. He is spinning in his grave now.
Arthur O'dell
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent introduction both to Jefferson's own private views of religion and his influence and legacy in the public square, especially with regard to religious liberty.
G.K. Noyer
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Highly informative, this book is much more forthcoming than many about Jefferson’s real views on religion and on his battles for freedom of beliefs in American. Where the book exasperates, however, is the Christian sheen he nevertheless unflaggingly attempts to put on all that. If you’re looking for Jefferson’s views on religion, they are fairly honestly presented here. If you’re looking for his sources and influences, however, be on your guard.

For example, in “Influences,” he talks about early
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u-s-history
Despite Thomas Jefferson's pernicious religious views, this book is really good.
Jan 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Thomas Jefferson was completely for the seperation of Church and state. I have summed up the book. 200+ pages all proving the same thing. It was interesting in the very beginning, became slightly repetitious towards the middle, but the ending again became interesting. I enjoyed the book and the look at Jefferson's religious views; something he kept very private during his lifetime.
Brad Hart
May 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Not too bad of a book. If you are interested in the religion of our Founding Fathers I would probably not reccomend this book. Though Gaustad covers the topic fairly well, I believe that there are better books out there.
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Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good overview of Jefferson's religious beliefs. It is clear from this book that Jefferson was not an orthodox Christian. He leaned heavily towards Unitarianism. He did believe in traditonal morality, and respected the wisdom of the ages. Jefferson valued reason, and the belief that each person must work out their salvation
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