Book review: Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing of Jesus” should be renamed “God is dead”

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Bill O’Reilly’s book is patently a disaster, when evaluated for Biblical or historical research.  His claim to Roman Catholicism is exaggerated, for his Christian testimony is nowhere to be found.  His work reads like the effort of a high school sophomore.  It is riddled with hyperboles, and personal beliefs that present themselves as manufactured history.

The book is such a distortion, that I couldn’t get past page 103, yet opted for the ending which didn’t disappoint me at all, for a book written by an apostate.  Any English teacher would realize that he combined his personal beliefs with distorted facts of history, and threw a few dollars at a ghost writer to shape the book up for sales.  It reads like the rambling memoirs of an Alzheimer’s patient.

On page 2 of his prodigious work, he states confidently, that “We do not address Jesus as the Messiah, only as man…” 

From a Christian perspective, that would be like writing a book about God and addressing him as the man-upstairs.  The whole of the Gospels make the seminal point that Jesus Christ is the Divine Son of God, as Peter understood – by way of revelation of the Father [Mt.16:16].  Anyone who claims Christianity can never again address Jesus only as: a man; or a teacher; or a rabbi; or a prophet.  John the Apostle wrote that any person who denies that the Christ came in the flesh is an antichrist [2Jn.7].

Further, Bill’s claim to preparation involves reading much Roman history, by secular writers, and a whole paragraph dedicated to a Roman periodical that was lost to antiquity.  Beyond that he makes claims to a large compendium of source writers, including C.S.Lewis, thank God, who authored “Mere Christianity.”  It is noteworthy that Lewis’ authoritative work was mentioned at the end of O’Reilly’s list, with the notation that the book was “insightful and dense.”  Apparently Lewis’ world renown made little import with O’Reilly – suggesting that something else was dense beside Lewis’ work.  Sadly missing from his implied resources, were Young’s or Strong’s Analytical Concordance, erudite comparative commentaries, by modern authors such as, Hendricksen, Bruce, Morris, or Gaebellei, and as well, the works of Eusibeus Pamphilus, and Philip Schaff’s monumental work, History of the Christian Church.  But then again this suggests Bill was dabbling in history.

On citations, the whole book is lacking.

If these were O’Reilly’s only errors, I could chalk it up to ignorance, but he establishes more miscreant objectives as a Theosophical change agent. O’Reilly’s attempt at a fairy tale can only be described as: “pinnacullum ab pinna caput!”

On page 66 Bill conflates Josephus’ history with Luke 2:41-52, making the family of Joseph and Mary eyewitnesses to a “bloodbath firsthand,” by Herod Archelaus.  The problem is Bill’s reading memory and his math.  Effectively, Jesus was born about 4BC, due to a calendar error by Bede [672-735AD], which made Jesus eleven years old, not twelve at 7BC. Additionally, the Gospel recounts a story of a peaceful trip to Jerusalem. O’Reilly also has the family witnessing other royal and Roman tirades firsthand [pages 66 and 82].  Historically, the family lived in Nazareth, which was 65 miles from Jerusalem that traverses a three day journey.  Now poor people didn’t hang around the Capital in those days to view flagellations and crucifixions, because there was no welfare, and they had to work.

He also authoritatively claims [page 90] that all the common people of Israel [Palestine Proper], were starving, when in fact the Sea of Galilee was awash with fish including the prolific Tilapia, which is there to this day.  As an agricultural region, it was full of fruit trees and olive trees.  There was a reason God call it the land of milk and honey.  Additionally, the Romans were agriculturalist who would have saved fruit trees while burning houses, especially if they would camp in the area.  I’ve been to Haiti where ignorance abounds, and they would never destroy a fruit tree.

O’Reilly, even suggests that Jesus couldn’t wait to learn “oral history” as if Jews had no written history.  Bill further espouses that Jesus, “…feels a keen desire to debate its [oral tradition’s] nuances and legends,” as if Jesus just loved the traditions of men and pharisaical legends of their fall.

Every time I read the Gospels, I find Jesus rebuking the Pharisees for their man made traditions that culminate into Christ’s emphatic rebuke, found in Matthew chapter 23.

Shall I go on? O’Reilly has a notation concerning the non-miracle of the dove descending upon Jesus [page 103].  Since Bill is only reviewing Jesus as a man, naturally the dove becomes a pidgin [“bird”] that happens to perch on the forehead of Jesus, as if an unwanted boil.  If O’Reilly wants to go humanist, at least he could discuss that the Judean royal seal, of which we have many, has the striking resemblance of a dove – but I doubt he has spent any time researching Biblical artifacts, let alone any time researching a pew within a church.

He cites authoritatively [page 91], that Joseph, the step father of Jesus, was dead sometime between the Lord’s thirteenth and thirtieth birthdays.  However the Greek text has the Jewish leadership talking in the present tense concerning Joseph [Lk.4:22; Jn.6:42], who was probably 60 to 70 years old during the ministry of Jesus.

He tries unsuccessfully to discuss the cross of Christ by using the Latin word ‘patabulum,’ but fails to recognize that the New Testament received text was written in Konia Greek, and the words used for the cross are stauros and xulon – hence, upright pole and wood palate [tree or dried wood].

My O’Reilly has demonstrated to the world that he cares little for historical analysis, and less for truth.  His treatise that the Romans were frightened that Jesus might inspire an insurrection, is an absurd hypothesis – given the words of Pilot and his effort to free Christ.  O’Reilly’s cover was his hypothesis – his real strategy was to propagandize the Commonwealth of Nation’s theosophical Jesus – “a good man like so many others.”  As a New World Order change agent he misses the mark of British subtlety.

The fact that his book has no Table of Contents is an indicator that it has no content.

O’Reilly ends the twentieth chapter with the words, “She clearly sees the linen shroud in which the body was wrapped.  But there is nothing there.  To this day, the body of Jesus of Nazareth has never been found.”  His “Afterwards” repeats a Gnostic idea that one must have blind faith to believe this story of resurrection, as if there were no historical evidence of Christ’s resurrection.

The final judgment of this book and of Bill O’Reilly is that his work has been completed in the style of Gnosticism closely resembling the achievements of the ancient nemesis of Christianity, Simon the Magician.  In specific, O’Reilly’s work is classical Docetism, which teaches “that the body of Christ was not real flesh and blood, but merely a deceptive, transient phantom, and consequently he did not really suffer and die and rise again” [History of the Christian Church, Philip Schaff, Bk.II, S. 134].

It will be a hard choice for Archbishop Murphy of the Rockville Centre diocese to decide excommunicating O’Reilly, or convening a papal authorized exorcism.

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