S. Martin Shelton

Retired U.S.Navy Captain, Novelist

Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard Book Review

Killing Jesus is a history book that details Roman and Israel history of the time—around 44 BC to 30 AD. It is not a religious book.

Of particular interest is the insight into the Roman revolution where Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon with his army, overthrows the republican Senate, and assume dictatorial power. After Caesar returns from Egypt and his tryst with Cleopatra, Junius Brutus Albinus and sixty of his “Liberators” assassinated him on the “Ides of March.” Following is a brutal civil war and a string of incompetent and brutal dictators that do not tolerate any form of rebellion, no matter how slight. Even one word uttered against the rule of Rome could lead to death by crucifixion.

The history of Jesus is compelling. For once, I’ve understood the sequence of events that lead to his death, the culture of the Jews in Roman occupied Galilee and other nearby provinces, and the strict religious rules of the priest in the Temple in Jerusalem The authors use the old Testament, the four bible stories of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John and many other sources to ferret the details of Jesus life. What’s critical is the authors pruning and cross checking of many historical resources to form a consensus of what actually happened. The major fault I find with this book is that much of the detail must be conjecture. Clearly no scribe was about to chronicle the many detailed points the authors relate. That’s OK. Most are irrelevant, yet they add coherence to the story.

I recommend Killing Jesus as must read book. Caution, however. Chilling are the scenes that describing the gory details of the tortures and the agonizing slow death of a crucifixion.

Interview with Bill O’Reilly.


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