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

By Edwin S. Gaustad | Go to book overview

Preface

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) is a many-sided, much-studied American icon. His many-sidedness is a large part of his lasting appeal, since he displayed an intellectual appetite and engaging virtuosity that flabbergasts an age given over more to specialization, method, and technique. From architecture and archaeology through classical languages and literature into history, law, and politics, on to music, rhetoric, and science — his quest seemed boundless. And in so much of this, his interests were far more than merely academic: in field after field, he proved to be a most highly skilled practitioner, a most remarkable contributor. To be sure, he was a patron of the arts and the sciences, but he surged far beyond patronage to a striking and enduring participation.

So many sides appear to require so many books, especially as we turn and return to Jefferson for definitions of ourselves and of what America is all about. As recently as 1993, with the celebration of the 250th anniversary of his birth, the reading and the viewing public witnessed another burst of

-xii-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xii
  • 1: The Anglican 1
  • 2: Student of the Enlightenment 16
  • 3: The Revolutionary 42
  • 4: The Statesman 77
  • 5: The Religious Reformer 111
  • 6: The Educator 147
  • 7: The Eternal Vigil 181
  • 8: A Religion for the People 210
  • A Note on the Sources 229
  • Index 241
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