Killing Jesus

  • by Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard
  • Narrated by Bill O'Reilly
  • 6 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Millions of people have thrilled to best-selling authors Bill O'Reilly and historian Martin Dugard's Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln, works of nonfiction that have changed the way we view history. Now the anchor of The O'Reilly Factor details the events leading up to the murder of the most influential man in history: Jesus of Nazareth. Nearly 2,000 years after this beloved and controversial young revolutionary was brutally killed by Roman soldiers, more than 2.2 billion human beings attempt to follow his teachings and believe he is God. Killing Jesus will take listeners inside Jesus' life, recounting the seismic political and historical events that made his death inevitable and changed the world forever.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Jesus story in context

Where does Killing Jesus rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

If you are searching for a different take on the Jesus story... You won't find it here. (While NOT a religious book, the book follows the gospels.) Where it excels, is placing the events in historical and cultural context. By freeing the main character (Jesus) from the restraints of strictly gospel and putting him amid the political chaos, cultures, and religious traditions of the time; the story of Jesus simultaneously become more complex and yet amazingly simple. Most Christians are aware of the life and death of Jesus. Most are NOT aware of the politics and religious traditions of the day that led to the series of events chronicled in the gospels.A book aimed at the history buff more than the religious zealot.

What other book might you compare Killing Jesus to and why?

Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy
Why: We know how it ends.

Which character – as performed by Bill O'Reilly – was your favorite?

It was more about how all the characters work together to form the context of the death of Jesus that is most compelling.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

Don't get the book to be inspired to believe nor to find some amazing nugget of faith. Get the book to better understand historical context; Jewish law, tradition, and historical politics; and how those things worked together to ensure the sacrifice.

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- Kimberly


Bill O'Reilly claims to be writing history here, but he really isn't. What he presents is an awkwardly harmonized (and often lightly fictionalized) retelling of the Gospel story, decked out with tidbits gleaned from history and archaeology (for example, the kind of sandals that would have been worn by the Syrian mercenaries who carried out Herod's slaughter of the innocents).

The scholarship on display here is shallow at best. One key example is O'Reilly's discussion of the authorship of the Gospels. Matthew was written by the tax collector, he says; Mark by John Mark, Luke by the physician Luke, and John by the "beloved disciple," the brother of James son of Zebedee. O'Reilly claims that there is "growing agreement" among scholars as to these attributions. But he couldn't be more wrong, and you needn't go any further than the discussion of the same subject in the notes to the recent revision of the (Catholic) New American Bible to see how wrong he is.

As a harmonizer of the Gospels, O'Reilly leaves something to be desired. A prime example here is the cleansing of the Temple. In three Gospels, it appears at the end of Jesus' ministry, and helps precipitate the final crisis; in John, the last to be written, it appears at the beginning, and seems to be Jesus' way of launching his challenge. The solution, for O'Reilly? Jesus cleanses the Temple twice. This unlikely version of events is a direct result of his insistence on taking John not as a spiritual meditation on the meaning of Jesus, but as a literally true account by an eyewitness who, in O'Reilly's view, should be given "the last word" about chronology. This flies in the face of virtually every scholar who has written on the historicity of the Gospel of John in the last hundred years.

Some of his historical digressions are baffling. One of the longer sections in the book is an account of the reigns of Julius, Augustus, and Tiberius Caesar. O'Reilly is clearly in his element here, and relishes the stories of the financial, political, and sexual corruption of Rome. As fascinating as this material is, it feels like padding: really, in a book about Jesus, the point could have been made in a couple of paragraphs.

As a narrator, O'Reilly is brisk and engaging. He uses his years of experience hectoring people on TV to good purpose. But does he deliver what he claims to deliver in this book? Not by a long shot. He seems blissfully unaware of the massive amounts of scholarship that have focused on how to use the Gospels as historical sources - some of it by eminent Catholic scholars like the Jesuit priest John Meier - and chooses instead to take the Gospels at face value as historical accounts.

(I know that many people of faith will take issue with my opinion on this. But I think what I've said fairly characterizes recent scholarship on the Gospels. For an authoritative account, check out Bart Ehrman's lectures on "The Historical Jesus" in the Great Courses lecture series.)

If O'Reilly admitted that he was writing a faith-based account, I wouldn't argue with his approach. But he doesn't; he claims to be following the scholarship, and he isn't.

Someone once said to Alexander Pope, regarding his translation of The Iliad: "It is very pretty, Mr Pope, but you must not call it Homer." This is very pretty, Mr O'Reilly, but you must not call it history.
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- Tad Davis

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-24-2013
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio