[Ads-l] Bogus Lincoln quote?

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Fri Sep 4 13:06:00 UTC 2015

Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Nicolay and Hay 1902 vol. 2 p. 574:
"In regard to his great book [a Bible given to him, Sept. 7, 1864], I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man."

Stephen Goranson

From: American Dialect Society ... on behalf of Jonathan Lighter ...
Sent: Friday, September 4, 2015 7:31 AM
Subject: [ADS-L] Bogus Lincoln quote?

Someone opposing the issuance of gay-marriage licenses in Kentucky was seen
on CNN holding up a sign that said, "God's best gift to man is the Bible.

The assertion was made more authoritative for being accompanied by a
portrait of Lincoln like that on a five-dollar bill.

Google Books doesn't support the claim that Lincoln ever wrote or said
these words, though of course they may be some kind of paraphrase.

The quotation surfaces (in GB) in 1896, when the free-thinker Robert J.
Ingersoll denied its genuineness in a letter to a Mr. Seip, who had
presented it.

According to the _Encyclopedia of American Religious Experience_, Lincoln
uttered the words in September, 1864, when some African-American citizens
of Baltimore presented him with a Bible.

The quote has  been repeated mostly in  Christian publications - but
seemingly not by Lincoln editors or biographers.

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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