Having just finished Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, my review is now in process. Stay tuned.
Rather than citing scholarly literature directly, this book leaves the reader to guess where the authors have gathered their data. Not every book needs detailed footnotes and a bibliography, but this book might have been helped by a bit more attention to source material. I read this book with a perpetual stinkface (considering the deficits of my default face, my stinkface is really not pretty), often curious where and how Dugard and O’Reilly got their information. Here are ten of the more curious statements in Killing Jesus.
“Jesus was executed. But the incredible story behind the lethal struggle between good and evil has not been fully told. Until now. At least, that is the goal of this book.” p. 4.
“Soon will come the Passover feast, bringing with it tens of thousands of Hebrew pilgrims from all around Herod’s kingdom, eager to pay good money to purchase those sheep for a sacrificial slaughter in the great Temple. In many ways, the slaughter of the babies in Bethlehem is no different. They are being sacrificed for the good of Herod’s rule—which is the same as saying that they are being murdered in the name of the Roman Empire.” pp. 19-20
“With a dark beard covering the tip of his chin and a thin mustache wreathing his mouth, Antipas resembles a true villain.” p. 88
“Julia was a great beauty, which made it easier for her to indulge her base instincts.” p. 113
“Holy men such as the Pharisees have filled that void by strictly interpreting the laws of Moses. They gained respect from the Jewish people by adding hundreds of new commandments and prohibitions to Moses’ original list of ten, then passing them on through an oral history known as the Tradition of the Elders. Few ever question these laws, especially not the uneducated peasants of Galilee.” p. 157
“But Jesus would be a fool to ride a donkey into Jerusalem. That would be a death sentence. For while the prophets have been very specific about the way the king of the Jews would be born and live his life, they are just as clear about how he will die. He will be falsely accused of crimes he did not commit. He will be beaten. He will be spat upon. He will be stripped, and soldiers will throw dice to bid for his clothing. He will be crucified, with nails driven through his hands and feet—yet not a single one of his bones will be broken. And those who love him will look on in mourning, unable to do anything to stop the agony.” [fn. “In order, these prophecies are: Psalms 27:12 and 35:11; Micah 5:1; Isaiah 50:6; Psalms 22:18; Psalms 22:16; Zechariah 12:10, and Deuteronomy 21:33; Numbers 9:12; Psalms 34:20, and Exodus 12:46; and Zechariah 12:10."] p. 177
“In the village of Jericho, two blind men call out to Jesus, referring to him as ‘Lord, Son of David,’ a designation that could be applied only to the Christ.” p. 184
“Once again the group walks into Jerusalem and straight to the Temple. It has been three years since Jesus turned over the money changers’ tables, but now he plans to do it again. Only this time he has no whip, and he is no longer an unknown figure.” p. 192
“They are soon replaced by the Sadducees, a wealthy and more liberal Temple sect who count Caiaphas among their number.” pp. 204-205
“Under the teachings of the Pharisees, there are 613 religious statutes. Even though each carries a designation marking it as either great or little, the fact remains that each must be followed. Asking Jesus to select one is a clever way of pushing him into a corner, making him defend his choice. But Jesus does not choose from one of the established laws. Instead, he articulates a new one: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” [fn. “Taken from Deuteronomy 6:5, which immediately follow Deuteronomy 6:4, the Shema and cornerstone of Judaism.”] p. 205
Aside from these ten, there are some real problems with this book. I’ll save these for my formal review.