In the publishing world, the news is out that Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly is coming out with a new book. With the previous sales figures from his books about killing Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, up next is a book, written with Martin Dugard, is Killing Jesus. At this rate, by the end of the decade there will not be any famous historical figures that O’Reilly has not killed.
Besides the humor of how the layout suggests that Bill has been a time-traveling psychopath, I am getting a kick out of this because of the results from his previous books. For example, the book Killing Lincoln was so full of errors that most Lincoln-related places were unwilling to sell it, including Ford’s Theater where the president was killed. There have also been issues noted with Killing Kennedy, though I haven’t seen the backlash of fact-checkers as severely as in the first case.
So now that O’Reilly and Dugard are about to publish on Jesus, we may expect things to be problematic. For one thing, I really doubt that these two are going to be taking a critical look at the sources involved. There were lots of errors in the Lincoln book because they relied on poor secondary sources, but with the Gospels there are only poor secondary sources. I would be at least curious what sorts of modern research they will rely on. Will they be using the lunar eclipse of 33 CE in their work (which I showed to be flawed), for example? Will there be references to Raymond Brown, John Dominic Crossan, Rudolf Bultmann, and other critical voices, or is this going to be treating all the Gospels as, well, gospel truth?
Looks like we’ll see in September, which is also about the time by book on the Star of Bethlehem will come out. Perhaps O’Reilly will debate me then as he did Jon Stewart? One can only hope.