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Killing Jesus: A History Paperback – September 26, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


“O'Reilly is the natural choice to narrate this work… he carries the work along and the audiobook is a good introduction to the Synoptic Gospels.” ―AudioFile Magazine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Bill O'Reilly is the anchor of The O'Reilly Factor, the highest-rated cable news show in America. He is the recipient of many journalism awards, as well as three Emmys; holds master's degrees from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and from Boston University; and is the author of several number-one bestselling books. Martin Dugard is the New York Times bestselling author of several books of history. His book Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone has been adapted into a History Channel special. He lives in Southern California with his wife and three sons.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Open market ed edition (September 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447252667
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447252665
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.9 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9,756 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

546 of 642 people found the following review helpful By Raymond H. Mullen VINE VOICE on October 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a Christian, I struggled with whether I should read this book or just stay away from it. Because of a deep interest of history in general I decided to 'give it a shot.'
I was not disappointed. This work was filled with the historical accounts of the geographical, political and human events that were going on at the time.
You must understand that the author clearly stated this was not a 'religious' book, rather an 'historical' work. I was never offended by the way Christ and his followers were portrayed. In fact, I believe this book can actually draw Christians back to the Bible as they consider certain aspects and statements found within.
As with any study of history one must rely upon the research and intellect of the writer. It seems to me the 'homework' was done.
This book must be approached with an open mind as any historical reading should be. We must be careful not to isolate ourselves from reading books such as these. My 'Heart for Christ' was in no way compromised, nor was my belief in the Bible.
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1,154 of 1,363 people found the following review helpful By Frank J. Konopka VINE VOICE on September 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a very difficult book to review, as you can imagine whenever you read and try to write a review concerning a book about a religious figure. I know that the authors say that this is not a religious book, but instead one that focuses on the humanity of Jesus Christ. They have done a good job treading the fine line between straight biography and religious writing.

Of course, the main, and possibly only, source for the life of the Nazarene (as the authors term him) are the four gospels with which most readers are familiar. Interspersed with these writings you will find chapters devoted to Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Tiberius, and other historical characters. There is a brief, but concise, history of Rome, and short biographies of some of the figures, including Pontius Pilate and the several Herods. It appears that the authors accept the gospel account of the birth in Bethlehem and the visit of the Magi, which led to the slaughter of the infants in Bethlehem at the insistence of Herod. There appears to be no historical record for these events except for the gospels, so the reader either takes it at face value or not, depending on his or her beliefs. Also, the sticky question concerning Jesus' siblings is handled somewhat offhandedly, with a note concerning the various theories about who these people were, depending on your particular religion. I do take exception to the mention of Herod's "castle", a term I don't believe existed at that time, but it's a minor quibble.

All things (particularly religious beliefs) considered, the author have done a well thought out job.
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1,615 of 1,944 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is going to be big, a near-lock for the bestseller lists. First Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard teamed up to write a book about Killing Lincoln and it sold more than a million copies. They followed it up with Killing Kennedy and it sold briskly as well. And now they turn their attention to their greatest subject: Jesus of Nazareth. Killing Jesus: A History is a short biography of Jesus, focusing on the events leading to his death.

From the outset, the authors make it clear that though they are Roman Catholics, they are not writing a religious book. Rather, they are writing a historical account of a historical figure "and are interested primarily in telling the truth about important people, not converting anyone to a spiritual cause." They necessarily rely on the four gospels for their source material and often tell their story by directly quoting the Bible.

They begin, though, by setting Jesus firmly in his historical context and skillfully telling about the rise and fall of Julius Caesar and the subsequent ascension of Caesar Augustus. They introduce a cast characters who each make an appearance in the pages of the Bible: King Herod who would hear of a potential challenger to his throne and order the slaughter of innocent children, Herod Antipas who would behead John the Baptist and later refuse to deal fairly with Jesus, and Pontius Pilate, who would cave to pressure and order the execution of an innocent man. Each of these men becomes a living and breathing character in the narrative.

As the authors begin to tell about the life of Jesus, they follow the biblical accounts quite closely. They tell his life skillfully and with all the narrative tension and interest they used to tell their compelling accounts of Lincoln and Kennedy.
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147 of 178 people found the following review helpful By J. Kovalcik on February 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Full disclosure: I read this book not because of any inclination to do so but at the request of my daughter-in-law. She wanted my thoughts. [I’m a long-time, well-studied Christian, with decades each in both Catholicism and Protestantism.] And my somewhat cynical thought prior to reading this book was … So – we have a period of nearly two thousand years where thousands upon thousands (upon more thousands!) of men and women have devoted their ENTIRE lives to studying every aspect of Jesus and the Bible, and now, after a few months of research, our dear TV host is going to shine new light on truth. Really.

Also full disclosure: I’m probably in agreement with many/most of O’Reilly’s political and life philosophies, but, after having watched his show for several years, finally got tired of the arrogance and self-aggrandizement (i.e., spin). I watch his show no more.

Bottom line, my first impression was correct. So many problems with parsed scriptural interpretations that much of the narrative borders on the ridiculous (e.g., O’Reilly doesn’t seem to understand the Bible clearly states Jesus came for the purpose of dying sacrificially for mankind). And his effort at exposing/uncovering the ‘mystery’ of how Jesus met His demise simply denies/hides that premise.

In the words of C.S. Lewis (whose words the book conveniently truncate), Jesus is “either a liar and a lunatic, or He is Lord.” There’s no middle ground. Proclaiming yourself to be God is either a tragic psychosis or an awesome truth. O’Reilly seems to want to find middle ground – and sell a tale with his personalized version of the truth. If one wants to learn about God – by definition the Author and Creator of all – does it really make sense to look to … Bill O’Reilly?
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