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Five things Bill O’Reilly flubs in 'Killing Jesus'
October 4th, 2013
07:09 PM ET

Five things Bill O’Reilly flubs in 'Killing Jesus'

Opinion by Candida Moss, Special to CNN

(CNN)--Bill O’Reilly’s "Killing Jesus: A History" is the best-selling book in the world right now. But it’s far from flawless.

The Holy Spirit may have inspired "Killing Jesus," but he didn’t fact-check it.

Here are five ways it shows: 

1. Not everything Roman historians tell you is true

Of the first 80 or so pages of "Killing Jesus," only 15 are about Jesus himself. The rest is history, biography, and politics of the ancient Mediterranean. Much of this is gleaned from Roman and Jewish historians like the imperial biographer Suetonius and the Jewish general Josephus.

These are authors that O’Reilly trusts implicitly. Maybe it’s because Suetonius reads like the National Enquirer, maybe it’s because the Romans loved eagles, but whatever the reason, O’Reilly gives them too much credit.

The Romans were fantastic record-keepers but had different standards for their history writing. O’Reilly refers to the acta diurna – a sort of proto-newspaper recording political events, marriages, and divorces that was read aloud in public – as evidence for accuracy in Roman record-keeping.

But he is wrong to see these as transparent statements of fact.

They were propagandistic: the Roman orator Cicero complains that he is misrepresented in the daily reports, and the Roman governor Pliny retells a story he had heard in which a dog jumped in the river after his deceased owner. It’s a little more Buzzfeed than Wall Street Journal.

2. Paul was not a Christian

According to O’Reilly, Paul was “a former Pharisee who became a convert to Christianity.” Paul was not a Christian; he was a Jew who moved from one branch of Judaism to another.

He never uses the word Christian. It seems that the early members of the Jesus movement referred to themselves as followers of “the Way.”

The word Christian wasn’t used until the end of the first century C.E. The first generation of Jesus' followers lived and died as Jews.

3. The Pharisees were not self-righteous bloviators.

The same old caricature of Pharisees as “arrogant,” “haughty,” and legalistic pervades the book. There is biblical support for this view from the Gospels, but O’Reilly and Dugard claim to be writing history and separating ”myth” from “fiction.”

For the past 30 years, scholarship on the Pharisees has shown that the Pharisees were not hyper-legalistic hypocrites. To make things worse, the authors seem to think that John the Baptist told the Pharisees either to burn or be condemned to hell (a rather peculiar reading of Luke 3:17).

The irony here is that our modern stereotypes of the Pharisees are grounded in Protestant critiques of Catholicism. Protestant Reformers saw Catholics as just like the biblical Pharisees, championing faith through works, and lumped the two groups together as legalizers and hypocrites. O’Reilly and Dugard, being Catholic, are actually stereotyping themselves.

4. Jesus was/wasn’t political

Any follower of Internet memes knows that Jesus can be made to say anything. O’Reilly has vacillated between saying (on his television show "The O’Reilly Factor") that Jesus was not political and arguing in his book that Jesus died to interrupt the revenue stream from the Temple and Rome and that "Jews everywhere long for the coming of a messiah ... [because] Rome will be defeated and their lives will be free of taxation and want."

Even though there’s no evidence for a direct financial link between the Temple and Rome, there’s no doubt that Jesus advocated for the poor. But O’Reilly needs to make up his mind. Is Jesus the man of the people seeking to liberate the oppressed from a heavy tax burden, or is he a peaceful man of God just trying to make a difference?

5. History isn’t just a word, it’s a discipline

O’Reilly acknowledges (correctly) that it’s difficult to look past the agendas of his sources and separate the myth from the history.

Historians prefer early sources and events that are documented in multiple (preferably independent) sources. O’Reilly puts all of this aside and cherry-picks episodes from whichever Gospel version he seems to prefer.

He will sometimes omit stories if they seem historically implausible, but he doesn’t do this consistently. He omits Jesus' words, from the Gospel of Luke, as he is being crucified: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  In his CBS interview he explained that it was impossible for people to speak audibly while they were crucified. Fair enough; but then why does he include Jesus’s final words from the Gospel of John: “It is finished”? Is there something about the word “forgiveness” that sticks in the throat?

Apart from the methodological problems, the entire book is written in the style of a novel, not a history book. We hear the thoughts of Herod as he orders the execution of the male children of Bethlehem, for instance. It’s entertaining, but it’s historical fan fiction, not history.

Editor’s Note: Candida Moss is a professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame and author of The Myth of Persecution.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Jesus • Opinion • TV

soundoff (2,100 Responses)
  1. Think again

    The Pharisees were not self-righteous bloviators? I take it you must be a follower of the Torah? The Pharisees sat under the teachings of a rabbi named Shammai, who founded his school shortly before Jesus was born which were not based on writing but oral interpretation. They were ultra-conservative religious fundamentalists with a pathological devotion to obeying man-made traditions and commandments not commanded by God, which suited their desire for power and wealth.

    October 8, 2013 at 12:44 am |
  2. Matt

    O'Reilly doesn't care about history or accuracy. Who's shocked?

    October 8, 2013 at 12:43 am |
  3. doug

    This is amazing. All of you should start writing books because you are all smarter than one of the most successful writers of our times. You are more educated than a Harvard Grad who has the best cable news show fir about 12 years. You are more knowledgeable than his team of historians. Why don't you all just say I did not read the book but hate it because Bill Orielly wroteit?

    October 8, 2013 at 12:40 am |
  4. JCS

    ADULTS WITH IMAGINARY FRIENDS ARE STUPID.
    .
    .
    .
    O'Reilly is one more instance of proof.

    October 8, 2013 at 12:28 am |
  5. Krhodes

    Yeah-yeah-yeah and i bet if you asked Moss if Jesus was the son of God she would say no. I guarantee she does not believe the bible to be true...so on and so forth. We have heard it a million times from those who claim to be Christians but don't actually believe the Bible or the basic tenants of Christianity. Maybe she should see the article on Scalia.

    October 8, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • Webby

      Maybe you should see a dictionary to find out what "tenants" are...

      October 8, 2013 at 1:07 am |
      • krhodes

        Why thank you for the correction. Although i did notice that is all you had to critique me for...thanks again.

        October 8, 2013 at 2:49 am |
  6. Zac

    "They were propagandistic: the Roman orator Cicero complains that he is misrepresented in the daily reports, and the Roman governor Pliny retells a story he had heard in which a dog jumped in the river after his deceased owner. It’s a little more Buzzfeed than Wall Street Journal."

    Meanwhile, on CNN...

    October 8, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • Observer

      You can always go to FOX News. Those dimbulbs reported that President Obama is personally funding a Muslim museum.

      So much for fact-checking at Faux News.

      October 8, 2013 at 12:25 am |
  7. Scott K

    "The word Christian wasn’t used until the end of the first century C.E. The first generation of Jesus' followers lived and died as Jews." That will come as a quite a shock to Luke, the writer of the book of Acts who recorded in Acts 11:25-26 "25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." The book of Acts was written well before AD 70 and the events recorded in the book even earlier.

    October 7, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Nope

      Not true at all. The Acts were not composed until the end of the first century at the earliest.

      October 8, 2013 at 12:11 am |
      • Yuck

        Acts is widely believed to be written by Luke, a continuation of his first write up, the gospel according to luke.

        October 8, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • SB

      Half true: The term Christian was used during the time of the Apostles, but it was used as a derogatory term by Jews who did not believe that Jesus was the Christ. The Apostles did not call themselves Christians, they called themselves followers of the Way. The article is correct. It may say Christian in your Bible, depending on what version you have. The early church were Jews; plain and simple. They just found the Messiah. They observed all the Jewish traditions, as they were supposed to. Jesus Himself never strayed from Judaism and never told the church to. Matt 5:17. The division came later. That's why Christianity is such a mess; it's lost its root structure.

      October 8, 2013 at 12:29 am |
  8. David Camden

    Candida Moss....get a rope, find a tree & deal with it.... get over yourself...your not about anything.

    October 7, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Reality Check

      Just as Jesus would have spoken, I'm sure.

      October 8, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • James R Ruston

      Spoken like a true Christian.

      October 8, 2013 at 12:59 am |
  9. Reality # 2

    From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

    "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

    “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

    “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

    “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

    I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

    See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

    Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

    Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

    There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

    See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

    From ask.com,

    "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

    Then there are these scriptural references:

    Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

    Added suggested readings:

    o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

    30-60 CE Passion Narrative
    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
    50-60 1 Thessalonians
    50-60 Philippians
    50-60 Galatians
    50-60 1 Corinthians
    50-60 2 Corinthians
    50-60 Romans
    50-60 Philemon
    50-80 Colossians
    50-90 Signs Gospel
    50-95 Book of Hebrews
    50-120 Didache
    50-140 Gospel of Thomas
    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
    65-80 Gospel of Mark
    70-100 Epistle of James
    70-120 Egerton Gospel
    70-160 Gospel of Peter
    70-160 Secret Mark
    70-200 Fayyum Fragment
    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
    80-100 2 Thessalonians
    80-100 Ephesians
    80-100 Gospel of Matthew
    80-110 1 Peter
    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
    80-130 Gospel of Luke
    80-130 Acts of the Apostles
    80-140 1 Clement
    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
    80-250 Christian Sibyllines
    90-95 Apocalypse of John
    90-120 Gospel of John
    90-120 1 John
    90-120 2 John
    90-120 3 John
    90-120 Epistle of Jude
    93 Flavius Josephus
    100-150 1 Timothy
    100-150 2 Timothy
    100-150 T-itus
    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
    100-150 Secret Book of James
    100-150 Preaching of Peter
    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
    100-160 2 Peter

     4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
    5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
    6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
    7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
    8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
    9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
    (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
    by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
    10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
    Presented on March 18, 1994
    ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
    11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
    wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
    12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
    faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html
    13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
    mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
    13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
    14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
    15. D-iseases in the Bible:
    http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

    16. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
    theologians, ethics, etc.
    religion-online.o-rg/

     17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
    18. Writing the New Testament- e-xisting copies, o-ral tradition etc.
    ntgateway.com/
    19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
    http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory
    20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
    21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
    in-fidels.o-rg/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
    22. NT and beyond time line:
    pbs.o-rg/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/
    23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
    harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
    24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
    25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
    27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
    28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
    29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

    And from these references, the following summary:

    There was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    October 7, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Pilgrim

      God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

      Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

      We just can't TALK our way out of His decisions. We just need to seek him and find out what He wants; not what we think.

      October 8, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • James R Ruston

        Strange, however, that so often what Jesus wants and what we think turn out to be the same thing. Or another way of saying it is that when we listen to God he just happens to tell us what we want in the first place.

        October 8, 2013 at 1:09 am |
  10. gran

    I knew this book would turn out to be a mess, and would somehow seek to serve a right-wing agenda. His take on taxation sounds like "states' rights", get the government out of my backyard. good enough idea, but does he deal with Jesus as the fulfillment of Hebrew scriptures, proof of God's unending love for us? What about the commandment to love one another above all else? I would expect a whole different spin from O'Reilly. He is a moron, after all.

    October 7, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
  11. Luke1019

    God so loved the world He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from hell. Those who have accepted Him as Savior and Lord know and love Him. Bill and Candida need to read "The Case For Christ," by investigative journalist (and former athiest) Lee Strobel, and personally experience His love, forgiveness and divinity, and forget about His supposed tax agenda.

    October 7, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      And now for some rational, 21st century conclusions:

      (from Professor Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies......"

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      October 7, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
      • Pilgrim

        Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
        Isaiah 55:7-9

        October 8, 2013 at 12:28 am |
      • B33tle

        Ah, "Professor" Crosson! That should be spelled "croissant" - flaky and full of hot air.

        October 8, 2013 at 1:45 am |
        • Reality # 2

          For a review of Professor JD Crossan's studies, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dominic_Crossan.

          Some of his publications/reviews:

          •Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts (Harper San Francisco 2001)
          •The Birth of Christianity (Harper San Francisco 1999)
          •The Jesus Controversy : Perspectives in Conflict (Trinity Pr Intl 1999)
          •Who Is Jesus? (Westminster John Knox 1999)
          •The Essential Jesus (Book Sales 1998)
          •Who Killed Jesus? (Harper San Francisco 1996)
          •Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (Harper San Francisco 1995)
          •In Parables : The Challenge of the Historical Jesus (Polebridge Press 1994)
          •The Historical Jesus (Harper San Francisco 1993)
          •An Inventory of the Jesus Tradition by Chronological Stratification (online)
          •An Inventory of the Jesus Tradition by Independent Attestation (online)
          •Common Sayings Tradition in Gospel of Thomas and Q Gospel (online) Who Killed Jesus?: Buy at amazon.com!
          •Seminar: HJ Materials & Methodology (online)
          •A Closer Look at the Mustard Seed (online)
          •Was Jesus Buried? (online)
          •Alchemy and Accuracy (online)
          •A Review of John Dominic Crossan's The Birth of Christianity (Harvard Theological Review 2001, reproduced online)
          •Danny Yee's Book Reviews: The Historical Jesus (online)
          •Simple Choices? A Response to John Dominic Crossan
          In Search of Paul (with JL Reed), (Harper, 2004)

          October 8, 2013 at 8:13 am |
  12. Jon

    Haha this author is so angry with Bill as a person. Wow. When you are on top, people take shots at you.

    October 7, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Kevin

      you could do 10 minutes of research and see that it is true, but that would require you to think.

      October 7, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
  13. Caritas

    Without getting into the same tiresome exchange of retorts between the committed Christians and committed atheists and without any particular bias in favor of Mr. O'Reillys book, if you look up Ms. Moss's book, one can see that she brings a lot of bias to this topic. As much or more than the writer she is reviewing.

    CNN, this is like asking a Boston Red Sox fan to review the Yankees! Sheesh – just starting trouble to promote activity on your blog.

    October 7, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Putting O'Reilly and Professor Moss into the 21st century:

      Only for the new visitors–

      The Apostles' / Agnostics’ Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      October 7, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
  14. Topher

    But why on earth would anyone actually want to read a "book" penned by this psychopath??

    October 7, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      There you go again – attacking a fellow delusional believer.

      October 7, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
  15. Steve

    "Paul was not a Christian; he was a Jew who moved from one branch of Judaism to another." Does an author who says such things expect to be taken seriously? If Paul's faith was not what we would rightly describe as "Christian" but rather was simply a "branch of Judaism", then we might just as well describe the pope as the leader of the world's largest Banch of
    Judaism...

    Seriously?

    October 7, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • tom hartman

      Yes Paul was a Christian...he doesn't use the word Christian ....and the word "BIBLE" is not in the Bible either lol

      October 7, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
  16. vinster76

    Bill: I haven't read the book, but I have read Killing Lincoln, and Killing Kennedy. Both were average books, nothing spectacular, in fact, there was very, very little in the Kennedy book I didn't already know......But in Killing Jesus, you miss the main point, and the main point is this: Jesus came to seek and save the lost....His death provides a way for all who trust in His salvation to be with HIM for eternity....If you are reading this and want to scoff, have at it........I am in good company....they scoffed at Jesus also.......

    October 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      If that's the main point then it's worse than I thought. But you're right about his other books – very light weight.

      October 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Marsha malone

      Trust in his salvation? You mean believe in the myth. Jesus is a myth, no different than Santa Claus. god is a figment of man's imagination, derived from the need to control or at least, explain the unknown. Jesus just explains or rationalizes one of the great unknowns – death. The Old Testament rationalizes the other – where did we come from.

      October 7, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Scroll up to the comments posted at 11:42 PM.

        October 7, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
      • tom hartman

        We are all people of faith...you have faith that someday science will be able to explain how we all got here, and believers have faith that we already know.

        October 7, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
        • Pastapharian

          Tom, science has nothing to do with faith. As much as you try to equate science and religion, this is a fallacy of false equivalence.

          October 8, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • Clint

      You'll understand why people are scoffing when your about to die and realize your mistake. I almost wish I could be there to see it in your eyes.

      October 8, 2013 at 12:01 am |
      • Pastapharian

        Lol. Ridiculous.

        October 8, 2013 at 12:04 am |
      • Cassandra

        Ah, how Christian of you! And I mean that sincerely.

        October 8, 2013 at 1:13 am |
      • James R Ruston

        So you think that just before the actual moment of death, a sudden revelation about Jesus occurs and the eyes light up with understanding? Don't think so.

        October 8, 2013 at 1:15 am |
  17. sybaris

    O'Reilly should have Prefaced his book with, "Patriotism is NOT the same as christianity, and christianity is NOT the same as republicanism."

    October 7, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  18. vinster76

    I like Bill, but he could have done much for the faithful if he would have focused on the MAJOR reason Jesus came to earth: His sacrificial death and resurrection to provide a way of escape for all mankind, even liberals, LOL

    October 7, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Pastapharian

      *yawn*

      October 8, 2013 at 12:05 am |
  19. Daniel

    Wow, some bad refutations here. Let's see.

    1. Not everything Roman historians tell you is true:

    This is a true statement, but you are using it as a blanket statement. Your logic follows that since some Roman historians recounted some fanciful tales, we must not take their other histories seriously. That's just bad logic. We can cross-reference many things like the crucifixion of Jesus and Christians early belief in the diety of Christ. So its foolish to follow your line of reasoning here. If that were true, there are plenty of scholarly works based on Roman writings that shouldn't be trusted.

    2. Paul was not a Christian:
    You're arguing here, just for the sake of doing so. Of course Paul was a Christian. Whether early Christians used that label is irrelevant. A Christian is a follower and believer in the diety of Christ. Paul was certainly this.

    3. The Pharisees were not self-righteous bloviators.:

    If you want to ignore the texts then sure, you could go with this. But the texts state that most of the pharisees (there were exceptions like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethea) were self-righteous. If they weren't then Jesus was not speaking the truth, etc. etc.

    4. Jesus was/wasn’t political:

    Jesus was not here for politics. The scriptures make that clear. I agree with the author that this shouldn't be muddied. The disciples expected him to be a political and military leader to overthrow the Romans. He was the polar opposite. He came to set people free spiritually, not from the socio-political situations.

    5. History isn’t just a word, it’s a discipline:

    I haven't read the book, so I can't really comment on the accuracy of his book. I do know that there is plenty of evidence for the historiocity of the Gospels and very little time between the events and writing them down for myth to pervade. There are plenty of things in the accounts that dispel this, such as the notion of Jesus' resurrection from the dead (the Jews didn't hold to this, expect on the day of judgement) and the women reporting Jesus had risen (women's testimony was invalid during this time). Both quick examples of what a Jew during this time wouldn't incorporate into a lie/myth.

    October 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
  20. Lindalou

    Doesn't really matter if it's factual or not. His fans will believe whatever drivel he puts down on paper. I can't figure out why the man keeps getting airtime. He comes on, I change the channel. He nauseates me.

    October 7, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.