If you thought Jefferson was hard on Calvin, wait to you see how hard he was on St. John.
No man on earth has less taste or talent for criticism than myself, and least and last of all should I undertake to criticize works on the Apocalypse. It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it, and I then considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams. I was, therefore, well pleased to see, in your first proof sheet, that it was said to be not the production of St. John, but of Cerinthus, a century after the death of that apostle. Yet the change of the author's name does not lessen the extravagances of the composition ; and come they from whomsoever they may, I cannot so far respect them as to consider them as an allegorical narrative of events, past or subsequent. There is not coherence enough in them to countenance any suite of rational ideas. You will judge, therefore, from this how impossible I think it that either your explanation, or that of any man in "the heavens above, or on the earth beneath," can be a correct one. What has no meaning admits no explanation ; and pardon me if I say, with the candor of friendship, that I think your time too valuable, and your understanding of too high an order, to be wasted on these paralogisms. You will perceive, I hope, also, that I do not consider them as revelations of the Supreme Being, whom I would not so far blaspheme as to impute to him a pretension of revelation, couched at the same time in terms which, he would know, were never to be understood by those to whom they were addressed.
-- Thomas Jefferson to Alexander Smyth, January 17, 1825.