The second part of the book Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly details with the bulk of Jesus earthly ministry. Part I deals with Jesus birth and childhood and Part III deals with Holy Week, so Part II is what happens in between, beginning at His baptism up to the raising of Lazarus from the dead.
It is in this section that a couple of issues come to the forefront that previously were not an issue. We have very limited accounts of Jesus birth and His childhood; so when O’Reilly writes on these things, he is limited to the account before him, whether it is in St. Matthew’s or St. Luke’s Gospel. But when it comes to other accounts, such as the baptism of Jesus, or the feeding of the 5000, or any interaction with the disciples, where the account is found in more than one Gospel, and the details differ ever so slightly, O’Reilly is at a loss.
Since he has already denied inspiration, and he asserts that at the very least St. Matthew and St. Mark copied off of each other, he now tries to tell the Biblical accounts, using all of the Gospels, ending up in a very confusing text, that often times it is hard to tell what O’Reilly is even talking about.
For example, the cleansing of the temple; he follows the St. John text that it happens early, but does St. John even have it early in Jesus ministry? And then what of the other Gospels that have it later? O’Reilly does not seem to know what to do with this.
This leads to the issue of the disciples: where are they? O’Reilly acknowledges that they are present; but other than an excursion on Judas using suspect evidence, the rest seem to just be random extras in the story. It is somewhat surprising that in the account of Jesus asking the disciples ‘who do people say that I am?’; O’Reilly includes Peter’s response and Jesus praise, but leaves out the rebuke of Peter to Jesus and then Jesus to Peter that follows.
The best part of the book again is his treatment of the political and religious leaders. As Christians we tend to downplay their evil intentions and their murderous intentions, imploring that they were misguided and that some were actually good people. O’Reilly gives great details on the heinous crimes of Pilate, as well as the lucrative life style of Caiaphas.
But there again, the amount of time devoted to the religious leaders and Pilate and the Caesars is overwhelming; so much so that in a book called Killing Jesus, O’Reilly has done the remarkable and made Jesus into a minor character!
For O’Reilly Jesus is always traveling from one place to another, and while we hear that He does things such as raise Lazarus, and feed 5000 people, and preach and teach huge crowds, we never actually see Him do any of this. Jesus is always traveling from one place to another after He has done a miracle. Reading this book, I can tell you more about the roads going into and out of Jerusalem then I can about what Jesus actually confessed.
Curiously, O’Reilly includes no accounts of Jesus telling parables; other than to say the disciples traditionally asked Jesus questions privately after He had told a parable.
Where does this leave us? Jesus is about to head into Jerusalem on a donkey. What O’Reilly has said on The O’Reilly Factor about what he has ‘discovered’ about Holy Week proves that this should be an interesting section.