By Dave Bohon. Christian Bible and book publisher Thomas Nelson announced that it has pulled a book by noted conservative historian David Barton on Founding Father Thomas Jefferson for what it claimed were factual issues with the text. According to the Nashville Tennessean newspaper, Barton’s book, The Jefferson Lies, “claims to expose liberal myths about Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the nation’s third president.”
The publisher began getting cold feet about the book when some historical scholars challenged its factual authenticity, and “a group of ministers from Cincinnati called on Nelson to cancel the book,” reported the Tennessean.
Casey Francis Harrell, Thomas Nelson’s director of corporate communications for Thomas Nelson, said that after reviewing a number of complaints about the book, the publisher decided to cancel publication. “Because of these deficiencies, we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to cease its publication and distribution,” said Harrell.
When Thomas Nelson first published The Jefferson Lies, it promoted the book as Barton’s attempt to counter revisionist history and tell the truth about Jefferson. “History books routinely teach that Jefferson was an anti-Christian secularist, rewriting the Bible to his liking, fathering a child with one of his slaves, and little more than another racist, bigoted colonist — but none of those claims are actually true,” declared a Thomas Nelson press release about the book.
One of Barton’s chief antagonists appears to be Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, who is more recognizable as a onetime proponent of reparative therapy for homosexuals, but who took time enough to publish a book attacking Barton’s take on Jefferson. Throckmorton claimed to have closely checked Barton’s work on Jefferson and found that what he wrote didn’t match the available research. “We checked all the footnotes [from Barton's book] and we found they didn’t support what he wrote,” Throckmorton told the Tennessean. Read more from this story HERE.
Barton’s Response to the Accuracy of “Jefferson Lies”
By Billy Hallowell. Barton seemed anything but shaken by the controversy when he spoke via telephone with TheBlaze. He freely answered questions about the controversy and explained that he’s prepared to respond to some of the critiques, while dismissing what he believes is an “elevated level of hostility that’s not really rational in many ways.”
While he stands by his central arguments about Jefferson, Barton isn’t pretending to be immune from error. The historian said that the book has already gone through three or four printings and that there have been word and text changes based on spelling or grammar errors along the way. Also, he addressed a willingness to amend historical items, should they be pointed out and proven wrong by other academics.
“Our policy from day one on every book we’ve done [is] that if someone shows us valid things to change, we’ll change them,” Barton said.
He went on to explain that if only one percent of the 5,000 facts that were included in his book are incorrect, that would mean that 50 facts could be viably challenged. But he maintained that he and his research staff work hard to verify and back up each and every tidbit he writes and speaks.
While Barton is perfectly willing to fix errors, he believes that many of the items being raised by Throckmorton, among others, are simply overblown and — also — wrongheaded. He says that the next edition of “The Jefferson Lies” will have changes and additions: many of them will include more sourcing to corroborate his claims in the book (and disprove some of Throckmorton’s views). Read more from this story HERE.