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Killing Jesus Hardcover – September 24, 2013
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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 Paperback 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
The book basically starts with the era of Julius Caesar, even though he died before Christ was born. At this point the Roman Republic had conquered most of the territory that would comprise the Roman Empire. The area known today as Israel was then part of the Roman province of Judea which contained today's Israel, Palestine, and western Jordan.
Civil war erupted in the Roman Republic in 49 BC when Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with his soldiers back into Italian territory after his victories in Gaul. Italy was considered the Roman homeland of the Roman Republic and generals were not permitted to bring their troops there. General Pompey led the opposing Roman establishment against General Caesar but was defeated. Caesar had chased the Pompey forces to Egypt and soon entered into an affair with Cleopatra, the seductive last queen of Egypt which then was a Greek Macedonian outpost. The Senate then gave Caesar the title of Permanent Ruler (aka Dictator) where Rome had been previously governed by temporary rulers. The more aristocratic senators rebelled and led by Senator Brutus assassinated Caesar in 44 BC in the Senate on the Ides of March.
A second civil war ensued with Caesar's nephew Octavian on one side and Marc Antony on the other. Cleopatra switched sides because Octavian was sickly while Antony was an experienced warrior. But Octavian had greater support and eventually won the war with a naval battle at Actium (near Greece) in 31 BC. This led to Antony and Cleopatra committing suicide. Octavian then became the first emperor but the title used was Princeps (first citizen) and Augustus (revered) not Dictator.
After explaining this tangle of events O'Reilly moves on to the birth of Jesus which apparently now is considered to have occurred in 5 BC. At that time the area was ruled by the Herod the Great, a Jewish king whose semiautonomous state comprised the Roman province of Judea and who was subordinate to the Roman governor there. Christ was born in Bethlehem when his parents were on their annual Passover pilgrimage to Jerusalem, something that was required of Jews back then. After Herod died, the Romans divided his kingdom into four provinces called Galilee (home of Nazareth), Samaria (home of the Samaritans), Judea (home of Jerusalem), and Peraea (western Jordan). The new Jewish sub-ruler of Galilee was also called Herod so it can be confusing knowing what Herod is being mentioned in history. Every one of these new provinces had a Roman governor and the one in Judea was Pontius Pilate.
The rest of the story covers the life of Jesus and, as said above, provides a great summary of the New Testament. After a life as a carpenter, Jesus became a preacher in Galilee and railed against the Jewish religious elites in Jerusalem such as the Pharisees and Sadducees who profited off the poor. The climax began in 30 AD when Jesus and his disciples entered Jerusalem on the Sunday before Passover for the celebration there. Jesus was mobbed wherever he went as he had created a large following among the poor. The religious elites started plotting to kill him but could not take the risk of arresting him in public during daylight. They were eventually able to arrest him at night when Judas betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver by revealing his location.
The religious elites sentenced Christ to death for blasphemy because he claimed he was the Son of God. But they could not have him executed without the permission of Pontius Pilate. He initially did not want to be bothered with a Jewish religious dispute but the religious elites put nonstop pressure on him. Pilate eventually agreed to the execution on the basis that Christ had committed treason against the Roman Empire by claiming he was the King of the Jews. Christ was then crucified on the Friday before Passover. The Jews never accepted him and claim he was a false prophet. The historical story ends here but O'Reilly adds a small religious version at the end.
The story of Jesus is one that occurs constantly in history. He was a religious rebel representing the underclass who challenged the Jewish religious elites. The story of Caesar was similar as he also represented the lower orders against the upper aristocracy. Both met the same fate when the elites counterattacked. The main difference is that Caesar's forces ultimately triumphed and established the Roman Empire which lasted almost 500 tears. Judea did not rise again until 1948 when the Israel was established, largely due to the influence of the United States.
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