Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Bill O'Reilly's Killing Jesus
Bill O'Reilly's Killing Jesus is gonna be a bestseller.
He's the #1 talking head on TV and he's got a bunch of other bestsellers under his belt already.
I cannot relate; but I did read the book.
Three confessions before getting to the book.
1. I often agree with him.
2. I often tire of him often yelling at guests and often demeaning anyone who doesn't agree with him about almost anything.
3. I haven't read any reviews; expecting his idolaters to drool and his demonizers to ridicule.
He's sooooooo popular.
He's sooooooo unpopular.
He seems to symbolize America's ideological bipolarity.
I often like what he says.
I often dislike how he says it.
O.K., that was redundant.
Kinda like the content of the book.
Not a lotta new stuff.
Strangely, then, I'm surprised by feeling rather, uh, positive about the book.
It wasn't what he said/wrote.
It's how he said/wrote it.
I guess my reaction to him as a writer contradicts my reaction to him as a talking head.
Neither has stopped me from reading and listening.
Getting to the book more than the man, he and very much of a sidekick Martin Dugard have an engaging way of writing; obviously, everything from their noodles has outsold anything that I've ever written by a trillion to one.
It's like President Obama.
The President's critics, like O'Reilly's demonizers, gotta admit he's/he's riding high in the popularity polls...period.
It's hard to argue with sales.
The first thing that strikes me about the book is the same thing that strikes me about Mr. Bill on TV; while claiming to be fair and balanced, it ain't that hard to figure out which way he's leaning. In the book, for example, he makes this claim: "Martin...and I are both Roman Catholics who were educated in religious schools. But we are also historical investigators and are interested primarily in telling the truth about important people, not converting anyone to a spiritual cause. We brought this dedication and discipline to Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, and in these pages we will do the same with Jesus of Nazareth." But then here's how he closes the same paragraph: "By the way, both Lincoln and Kennedy believed Jesus was God."
Of course, I have no problems with that because I share that faith.
Actually, while there's nothing really new in the book when it comes to the main story, the most compelling and recommending parts of the book relate to their traditio-historical research which is laudably clear, concise, and, from what I know, accurate. They provide excellent traditio-historical context for their summary of the story; remaining remarkably in harmony with the Biblical account.
Maybe it's my current OCDishness buuuuuuut I really like how they captured Jesus' contempt for clergy in a Matthew 15 and 23 kinda way with parallels to their successors; or, in my estimate, the neo-Pharisees and neo-Sadducees of too many of today's churches.
My only notable criticism is they don't seem to share Paul's 1 Corinthians 15 insistence on Jesus' resurrection as the cause of His renown not to mention saving Lordship: "Whether or not one believes that Jesus rose from the dead, the story of his life and message achieved much greater status after his crucifixion." Buuuuuuut then, again, exposing his/their bias, which, again, I like, he says in the same afterword, "After the crucifixion, the disciples underwent a radical shift in behavior. They were quite positive that they had seen a resurrected Jesus and soon went out into the world and fearlessly preached his message." In other words, ya can take the historian out of the believer but ya can't take the believer out of the historian!
Excellent...like the book!
What I really, really, really like about the book is the renown of its primary author Bill O'Reilly.
Again, he is the most renowned/watched/read TV talking head and best-selling author of our day.
That means he just may draw the kinda attention to Him that could save...
Annnnnnnd that's not just a history lesson!
That's a fact!
Blessings and Love!