Nonfiction

Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Bill O’Reilly has done it again!  His latest book, Killing Jesus, continues his series of books on how great historical figures were killed.  (See Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy.)  The book is co-written by historian Michael Dugard, who has contributed greatly to the research.  Ancient historians are cited, and Scripture is quoted.  The authors also traveled to Israel and read up on life during the Roman Empire.  Even though most readers probably know the basics of the story, O’Reilly covers every detail, including the back story. As a result, the books begins with Julius Caesar (including HIS assassination) and the establishment of the Roman Empire.  This was the geopolitical environment into which Jesus was born, in a country that was waiting for its Messiah to deliver the people from Roman oppression.  O’Reilly covers the first attempt to kill Jesus when he was just a toddler and continues with the plots to eliminate him that developed when he began his ministry. He also describes the death of John the Baptist at the hand of King Herod, thereby making it clear for the reader that a culture of death was prevalent throughout the Roman Empire.  All of the Roman Caesars and Israeli kings are covered, and their political relationships are delineated.  O’Reilly spends a lot of time exploring Pontius Pilate’s role in the story, as he was in the tenuous position of being a Roman citizen assigned as prefect of Galilee.  Readers of all faith traditions will be enlightened by the book.  O’Reilly concludes the narrative with the empty tomb and acknowledges the belief in the resurrection that forms the basis for Christianity.  This is a welcome addition to the book for Christian readers and sets it apart from most historical studies of Jesus.  It will be interesting to see if O’Reilly continues with this series!

Dawn

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