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Professors Discover Meaning Behind Inscription on UVA Statue - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Professors Discover Meaning Behind Inscription on UVA Statue

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Of all the statues at the University of Virginia, one holds some hidden secrets.

The famous Thomas Jefferson statue on the north side of the university's Rotunda has been hiding one that even some of UVA's longtime history professors never knew about. A tablet in the hands of one of the statue's spirits has many names for God inscribed on it - Jehovah, Allah, Zeus, Brahma, Ra, Atma - all serving as a testament to Jefferson's vision for religious freedom.

Since its unveiling in 1910, no one noticed or knew why the names were there. But after a bit of research, professors unearthed letters from the sculptor, Moses Ezekiel, that explained the meaning behind the message.

"Jefferson meant a lot to him, in particular the Jefferson authorship of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom and that's what that particular part of the statue is representing,” said UVA professor Scott Harrop.

The tablet, titled "Religious Freedom, 1786" is a tribute to the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, one of three legacies carved on Jefferson's tombstone. The statue currently sits behind the Rotunda's construction fence, but its inscriptions are visible if you look closely enough.

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