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'Lost confidence'

Publisher Thomas Nelson decides to pull David Barton's controversial book on Thomas Jefferson's faith

'Lost confidence'

The Thomas Nelson publishing company has decided to cease publication and distribution of David Barton's controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson, saying it has "lost confidence in the book's details." (See "The David Barton controversy," Aug. 8.)

Casey Francis Harrell, Thomas Nelson's director of corporate communications, told me the publishing house "was contacted by a number of people expressing concerns about [The Jefferson Lies]." The company began to evaluate the criticisms, Harrell said, and "in the course of our review learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported. Because of these deficiencies we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to stop the publication and distribution."

The Jefferson Lies no longer appears in searches on Thomas Nelson's website. Barton's own WallBuilders Press published most of his earlier books.

Barton told me that he regards Thomas Nelson's decision as a "strange scenario." He added that the press has not tried to engage him about the ostensible problems in the book, and that Thomas Nelson officials simply notified him by email that they were stopping publication.

Thomas Nelson describes itself as "the world's largest Christian publisher and one of the largest trade publishers in the United States." (Last month, HarperCollins Publishers closed a deal to acquire Thomas Nelson.) Some Cincinnati-area pastors had announced on Aug. 1 that they were boycotting Thomas Nelson for publishing The Jefferson Lies.

See "A message to WORLD readers on the David Barton controversy," by Marvin Olasky, Aug. 16.

And "Doubting Thomas: Scholars call Jefferson a skeptic as David Barton finds a new publisher for his controversial book," by Thomas Kidd, WORLD Magazine, Sept. 8 issue.

Thomas S. Kidd Thomas is a distinguished professor of history and associate director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He is a former WORLD religion correspondent.

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