This author is confused concerning the biblical vs. the historical record of the gospels. The most fundamental error is that O'Reilly assumes the Gospel of Matthew was the first written. He is misled because modern bibles begin with Matthew because the Gospel of Matthew begins with the Virgin Birth. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Every history book in the world is consistent as to when the gospels were written: Mark = no earlier than 70AD; Matthew = no earlier than 85AD; Luke = no earlier than 85AD; John = no earlier than 95AD.
Though we don't know when the gospels were written, we know they could not have been written before these times as each of the gospels mentions historical events which had not happened until these dates. For example, the Gospel of Mark could not possibly--barring the paranormal--been written before 70AD because it speaks of the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in past tense, an event which occurred in 70AD.
That O'Reilly claims to be an authority on the history of the gospels and does not know the order in which they were written tells one he has only read the gospels. He has never read the history books.
There are scores of this kind of historical vs. biblical inaccuracies in `Killing Jesus'. O'Reilly claims the Gospel of John was written by the disciple John who walked by Christ's side. According to the gospel he is correct. John describes himself in the first line of his gospel as `the disciple who Jesus loved.' Yet, as a matter of fact, O'Reilly is wrong.
The gospels place Jesus' death prox 30AD (his ministry beginning in the 14th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar or 28AD). If the disciple John wrote the Gospel of John he would be a hundred years old at a time average life expectancy was short of forty. Even if he wrote the gospel at such a remarkable age one would question why he waited three-quarters of century to write of this remarkable man? John lies in the first line of his gospel. Why would one believe anything else he has to say? It follows, why would one believe anything else O'Reilly has to say?
No history book in the world claims the disciple John wrote the Gospel of John. Mark, Matthew and Luke by their own testimony admit not one of them witnessed any part of Christ's life let alone His ministry. What's more, none of them claim to have gathered their information from anyone who witnessed any part of Christ's life. The historical record is clear. None of those who wrote of Christ's life witnessed any part of Christ's life or ministry.
Concerning Christ's lifespan O'Reilly comes a bit closer. According to the gospels Christ was born during Herod's reign. Herod died in 4BC. Allowing 2 years for the killing of the newborns, Christ was born in 6BC but only if Herod died in the year Christ was born. Not known. Christ was likely born before that time. We don't know how long Christ lived but we know he lived at least 36 years (6BC-30AD) and most likely longer.
Too, O'Reilly misses the boat concerning the virgin birth: Christ was conceived in 7BC or earlier - a century before Mathew and Luke came up with the Virgin Birth. They added the virgin birth because Mark - who wrote the first gospel - speaks of Christ as `Son of David' and three times Mark denies Christ is God. `Virgin Birth' defines Christ's divinity: `Son of God.' A century after the conception of Christ, Matthew and Luke suddenly discover God in the form of a ghost - the Holy Ghost - had impregnated Mary. The idea of a virgin birth was first conceived in Greek Mythology (British Museum 2045BC tablet) in the story of Dionysius `Son of the God Zeus' born free of sexual intercourse. From there it migrated into Greek folklore - e.g. Alexander the Great and other prominent Greeks were believed to have born of virgins (Sons of God) and from there into the Book of Isaiah and from there to Matthew and Luke.
This is the kind of analysis I had hoped this book would bring to me. Yet, there is not a hint of this anywhere in 'Killing Jesus'. Instead of materializing Jesus, O'Reilly reduces Jesus to sheer myth.
The most comprehensive book I have found analyzing the historical vs. biblical gospels is a bio of John Paul I The Vatican Murders: The Life and Death of John Paul I a pope who wanted to be honest with his people and educated them on these differences. Those I mention above are just a few of scores of much more striking historical vs. biblical disparities discussed in this biography about a pope who spent his life struggling for equal human rights and dignity for women, homosexuals and the poor. No wonder they killed him.
`Killing Jesus' is pulling the wool over the eyes. `Killing a Pope is something else!
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