Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 28:54 (Spring 2015)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Killing Jesus: A History. By Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2013. 293 pages. Hardcover, $28.00.

This book is part of the “killing” series of books written by O’Reilly and Dugard, about the deaths of famous people. Previous titles are: Killing Lincoln; Killing Kennedy; and Killing Patton. They have been extremely popular. In fact, at the time of this review Killing Jesus is being made into a movie. Many of the readers are evangelicals.

Neither O’Reilly nor Dugard are Biblical scholars. O’Reilly is a well-known cable news commentator and Dugard is a New York Times best selling author.

The book is not written as a theological treatise, and the authors make it clear that they are only trying to tell the “truth” about important people and that they are not trying to convert anybody (p. 3). The subtitle of the book supports this conclusion. They simply want to look at the life and death of Jesus from a strictly historical viewpoint.

Both authors identify as Catholic (p. 2). In addition, they do use the Scriptures throughout the book. While they seem to respect the integrity of the Gospel accounts, they would not be classified as those who believe the Scriptures are inspired and without error. For example, they say that the Gospels were first oral histories and that this may account for the discrepancies in them. In the Gospel of John, the cleaning of the Temple is at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, but in the other Gospels it is at the end. The authors, however, say that this may not be a discrepancy since there may have been two cleansings (p. 126). Another possible discrepancy is that there were two Bethlehems and that some maintain Jesus was born in the one in Galilee and not the one described in the Gospels. But the authors say they favor the traditional site (p. 8).

In the book, the authors never state that the Scriptures are in error. They follow the general outline of the Gospels. However, they are also careful not to explicitly state that miracles take place. The book ends with the death of Jesus. On the Sunday morning after the resurrection, the body of Jesus is not in the tomb and has never been found. O’Reilly

and Dugard imply that the disciples did not take the body since they were all afraid and in hiding (p. 259). The reader is left to ponder why the tomb is empty. They also state that there were “rumors” that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born and that the church has maintained that she was as well (p. 79).

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