Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an

Islam and the Founders
Narrated by: Jo Anna Perrin
Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
Categories: History, Americas
3.9 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this original and illuminating book, Denise A. Spellberg reveals a little-known but crucial dimension of the story of American religious freedom - a drama in which Islam played a surprising role. In 1765, 11 years before composing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson bought a Qur'an. This marked only the beginning of his lifelong interest in Islam, and he would go on to acquire numerous books on Middle Eastern languages, history, and travel, taking extensive notes on Islam as it relates to English common law. Jefferson sought to understand Islam notwithstanding his personal disdain for the faith, a sentiment prevalent among his Protestant contemporaries in England and America. But unlike most of them, by 1776 Jefferson could imagine Muslims as future citizens of his new country.

Based on groundbreaking research, Spellberg compellingly recounts how a handful of the Founders, Jefferson foremost among them, drew upon Enlightenment ideas about the toleration of Muslims (then deemed the ultimate outsiders in Western society) to fashion out of what had been a purely speculative debate a practical foundation for governance in America.

©2013 Denise A. Spellberg (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Fascinating.... Revelatory.... Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an breaks fresh ground." ( The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an

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Yes but

Whitewashing of the moral issues in Islam. Well written. Left leaning. Summary - founding fathers didn’t expect large Muslim population when writing first amendment, too late now.

4 people found this helpful

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Biased, cherry picked and misapplied facts

Spellberg, as a historian does a poor job at best, wandering across time and countries to try and make a nebulous point. The one point that’s made early on, is Jefferson ideas of religious liberty. If your looking for historical information on Jefferson or a true illustration of Islam, take a pass on this book.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

amazing

Amazing historical perspective on the wisdom of founding fathers to stabd firm in the face of opposition to ensure that our nation remains pluralistic. Sad rhough that centuries later we are still struggling with same ignorance. Must read!

7 people found this helpful

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An informative history of religious liberty

it's a great chapter in the history of american religious liberty beginning with John Locke. My only issues with the book is the narration seemed flat and the book wasn't better organized. still I highly recommend given the dearth of material on this topic as it pertains to Islam

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Incorrect Summary and retelling of History

Dr Spellberg attemtps to intertwine a theory and create a mew historical narrative. Her conjectures are based on a desired past not factual. Thomas Jefferson carried a Quran to understand his enemy at the time. Islam is not compatible with western culture. TJ knew this and helped build a society that could stand up to and repel its philosophy. DO NOT READ.

6 people found this helpful