Source: Revised GRE PDF 1st Ed. Section 4: Verbal; #2 (p. 60)


Far from viewing Jefferson as a skeptical

Far from viewing Jefferson as a skeptical but enlightened intellectual, historians of the 1960s portrayed him as ____________ thinker, eager to fill the young with his political orthodoxy while censoring ideas he did not like. Blank: an adventurous, a doctrinaire, an eclectic, a judicious, a cynical

5 Explanations


Kavya Nayaka

Why can't eclectic be the answer, because Jefferson censors ideas he did not like?

Jul 3, 2018 • Comment

Sam Kinsman

Hi Muthi!

We need a word that would describe someone who is "eager to fill the young with his political orthodoxy while censoring ideas he did not like." That's what we're looking for.

The word "eclectic" describes someone who "selects a mixture of what appears to be best of various doctrines, methods or styles." This doesn't necessarily contradict the fact that Jefferson censored ideas he did not like, but it also doesn't really explain why he did so.

"Doctrinaire" is a person who is "inflexibly attached to a practice or theory." So this would explain why Jefferson censors ideas he does not like, so it's the best answer :)

Jul 5, 2018 • Reply


Anna Roberts

Sorry I read the explanations above but I still dont understand. What does Far from viewing Jefferson as a skeptical but enlightened intellectual mean???
Does it mean that the historians do not portray him as either skeptical or enlightened intellectual? Or they view view him as enlightened but not skeptical? Can you please explain.

I figured out the answer of this sentence based on the last part after comma eager to fil etc. But just based on the far from being skeptical but enlightened, I am not able to understand what the answer could be.

Nov 23, 2017 • Comment


Hi Radhika,

"Far from viewing Jefferson as a skeptical but enlightened intellectual, historians..." means that historians did not view him as skeptical but enlightened = skeptical and enlightened. Historians viewed him as neither skeptical nor enlightened.

The phrase "skeptical but enlightened" = "enlightened even though he was also skeptical."

Nov 24, 2017 • Reply

Anna Roberts

Okay so just confirming... historians viewed him as enlightened and NOT skeptical. Correct? Sorry if I misunderstood.

Nov 24, 2017 • Reply


Hi Radhika,

It's okay! No, historians viewed him as not enlightened and not skeptical (this is what I meant when I wrote "Historians viewed him as neither skeptical nor enlightened").

Nov 24, 2017 • Reply


vaishali shetty

Why can't it be cynical since he was imposing his likes and dislikes?

Jul 25, 2016 • Comment

Cydney Seigerman, Magoosh Tutor

Happy to help :)

The word cynical is used to describe someone who believes the worst of human nature and motives. With that in mind, we would not expect a cynical person to be eager or excited to influence youth with their political ideas. Rather a cynical person would believe that regardless of they did, people in general would not change.

Hope this helps :)

Aug 2, 2016 • Reply


dash sha

I haven't understand the sentence structure "Far from viewing Jefferson as a skeptical but enlightened intellectual"

It seems to me as Jefferson not at all viewed as skeptical but viewed as enlightened in...
plz somebody explain me.

May 16, 2014 • Comment

Lucas Fink, Magoosh Tutor

Notice the placement of the "a." The phrase is "a skeptical but enlightened intellectual." Both "skeptical" and "enlightened" modify "intellectual." The "but" makes a contrast between them, but the larger structure is "Far from viewing Jefferson as a ___ intellectual,..."

If you wanted to contrast "skeptical" and "enlightened" using the "far from" structure, you would need to make them parts of separate clauses (here they are both part of the same modifying phrase). "Far from" contrasts two parts of the sentence in separate clauses.

May 22, 2014 • Reply


Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Sep 25, 2012 • Comment


What does "skeptical but enlightened" mean ? What role does "skeptical" play in this sentence? It seems like the key to getting this question correct is not to pay any attention to the word "skeptical".

Oct 28, 2017 • Reply



Skeptical contrasts with "doctrinaire." Someone who is doctrinaire is entirely sure of their viewpoint; someone who is skeptical is unsure that any particular view can be 100% correct.

Nov 9, 2017 • Reply

Amir Behani

I'd appreciate it if you could answer my question.
What does this part of the sentence mean: " Far from viewing Jefferson as a skeptical but enlightened intellectual"
Actually my question is more about the role of the word " BUT"

Dec 16, 2020 • Reply

Adam Lyons, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Amir,
To call Jefferson an "enlightened" intellectual is a positive, thing, basically just saying that he was smart and informed. To be skeptical is to have doubts and not be easily convinced. So we are really only saying here that Jefferson was smart but not easily convinced. The only thing we need from the first part of the sentence is that it is positive. So far from viewing him as positive, historians have portrayed him as something negative. "Doctrinaire" is negative, so it fits.
Hope that helps!

Dec 19, 2020 • Reply

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