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Killing Jesus Hardcover – September 24, 2013
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Mass Market Paperback
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“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 the country. He is the author of many number-one bestselling books, including Killing Lincoln, Killing Patton, Killing Kennedy, Killing Reagan, and Killing the Rising Sun.
Martin Dugard is the New York Times bestselling author of several books of history. He and his wife live in Southern California with their three sons.
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Top Customer Reviews
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. There is no writing concerning the actual miracles attributed to Jesus, but they are mentioned in the text as news of them spread into the surrounding area, so the authors appear to make no claim to any authenticity. Also, the narrative ends with the crucifixion and burial, and then the discovery of the empty tomb three days later. After that, it's once again news of post death appearances spread by supposed eyewitnesses, with no attempt to state any author belief in whether or not these events actually occurred.
Lest I be accused of being some type of sceptic or unbeliever, let me state that, like the authors, I am a practicing Roman Catholic and truly believe that Jesus is who he said he is and that, if I do what is right, he will greet me when I die. Just because I have some doubts about parts of the gospels doesn't mean that my faith is weak. 17 years of Catholic education has kept me strong and will, I trust, lead me to the reward Jesus promised.
One last thing. I know that there are many people out there who do not like O'Reilly for his political views and will allow that mind set to lead them to give this book a bad review, even though many of them will not have read it. To those folks I say: read the book and if you don't believe that it's a good book, give it a bad review, but please don't let your political leanings cause you to downgrade the book because of your dislike of the author. There is no politics in this book, and so it shouldn't generate the venom that has accompanied the publication of his other historical works. Bill isn't a historian, but he and his co-author have done their best with a very touchy subject, and I salute their effort
I did not like the way the book was written. It seems to jump from place to place in a disjointed manner. The opening chapter is basically for shock and awe value alone, and I found it seriously lacking in setting or context. It is about Herod (The Great BTW, which you don't realize until later) killing the infant boys due to the rumor of a newborn King. Then we jump into Roman history.
Granted, setting the stage of the Roman Empire and the atrocities of life in that age was extremely important, and it is the basis for what later occurs to Jesus, but I found it strong on debauchery and short on basic history. Some parts that were expanded upon seemed menial to the story but proved an expanded moral platform for commentary. Other parts that I assumed were more important historically were glossed over. I found a majority of the book confounding because of this alone. The flow of the story telling was maddening at times, for example, Julius Caesar's assassination.
The entire book is told that way, including the crucifixion and events leading up to it. Many points are glossed over so that we can read about the cruelty of the punishment. I know for a fact...the author did NOT know how Jesus FELT, so as a "fact based book", I say pshaw.
I do extend praise to the note section, which I read after the novel for the most part. There is a lot of knowledge there and I do appreciate learning a few things of which I was ignorant, so I am actually rating the two stars for the research...not the writing.
If you have not thought about Jesus, Lincoln, Patton (Gen. George C.), or Kennedy, namesakes many we have all grown up with, then you are in for a treat.
I claim to be an agnostic, yet my early years were full of Christian tales and beliefs that were supposed to convince me of what? ... and therein lies the dilemma, "Of what?".
I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated this work. Time, and many technology advances in archeology, seem to have given insight into the man we today call Jesus, who changed the world.
I found this to be an engrossing read, and hope you might also.