Thomas Jefferson: Christian or Deist?

Was Thomas Jefferson a Christian or Deist?

Consider the following from a letter to William Short, Oct. 31, 1819:

“But the greatest of all reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his Thomas Jeffersonfrom the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its luster from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man. The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent morality, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems, invented by ultra-Christian sects (The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurection and visibkle accession, his coproreal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity, original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of the hierarchy, etc.) is a most desirable object.”

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