Sunday, October 20, 2013

On Bill O'Reilly's Book

I am a regular watcher of The O'Reilly factor.  He has been on about his book for weeks, so I read it.  It was interesting, although I found it to be pretty much like reading a Sunday School manual.  His nasty anti Roman bias was painful for me, but I suppose that is just my bias.  I did find what I considered to be errors in his History.  I sent him a letter.  I don't imagine he will have time or inclination to read it.  In hopes someone might - I will post it at the Agora.
Historical Errors in Killing Jesus

Dear Mr. O’Reilly,

I enjoyed reading your book, Killing Jesus.  Here are some errors in the History presented which I hope you and Mr. Dugard might deal with if you ever republish you work.  

1.  pg. 14:  The footnote claims that the Kingdom of Israel, “northern portion” fell in 722 to the Philistines.   In reality, history uniformly supports the position that Israel fell to the Assyrians; who, by the way, also conquered the Philistines.

2. pg. 37: In relation to Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon – It was the Senate that violated the constitution, when they not only ignored the veto of the Tribunes of the People to the Senate’s call to strip Caesar of his governorship but actually drove the Tribunes out of Rome.  The Tribunes fled for safety and justice to the camp of Julius Caesar.  It was Pompey’s army which marched out to destroy the Constitution. 

3. pg. 43: The claim that the war between Caesar and Pompey was the first world war in history seems odd when one considers that it followed the two Persian wars by 400 years, the conquests of Alexander by almost 200 years, and came a generation after the end of the Three Punic Wars, all of which involved far more countries and greater territories than those engaged in the dust up between Caesar and Pompey.

4. pg. 85: The claim that Judas of Gamala would have his legs broken to “make the torturous process even more ghastly”, contradicts the true purpose of breaking the legs – hastening death and the end of misery.  This claim is actually contradicted in Killing Jesus on pg. 250 where it states that the Romans would break Jesus’s bones to end his suffering; quote: “If necessary, they will break his legs to hasten his demise.”

5. pgs. 117-118: The claim that any incident in the first century BC is part of the decline of Rome seems odd in light of the fact that Rome will last nearly 500 more years – well over twice the time the U. S. has been around.  And Rome’s best days were still ahead.  To quote Henry Fielding: “Mankind have never been so happy, as when the greatest part of the then known world was under the dominion of a single master; [Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, and the two Antonini) known as the “five good emperors,” they ruled Rome from A. D. 96 to 180 (the last three are Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius). ]  This was the true era of the golden age, and the only golden age which ever had any existence, unless in the warm imaginations of the poets, from the expulsion from Eden down to this day.” (Tom Jones, Henry Fielding, p. 545)

6. pg. 266: The false claim that anything relating to the policies of the first few emperors of Rome would eventually lead to its down fall is repeated here.  It is rather ironic that in the next sentence the text indicates that Rome lasted until 476 BC, demonstrating that this supposed collapse took a time period over twice the length of time that the United States of America has been a country.  I reiterate that at the time of the death of Jesus, Rome’s best days were still ahead.  Claiming that the “ruinous policies that eventually led to the downfall of Rome” had anything to do with Claudius and Nero is like claiming that the eventual fall of the United States will be precipitated by Shay’s Rebellion.

7. pg. 272: The claim that: “In the history of mankind, no one has achieved worldwide fame with no outside resources whatsoever”; seems silly when one considers the enormous impacts of Socrates, Buddha, and Confucius; all of whom did just that.

There is one other thing that seems odd to me in O’Reilly’s book.  There is quite a lengthy section on John the Baptist.  The scene which shows Jesus coming to Jordan for baptism is carefully portrayed.  O’Reilly has the dove coming down before the baptism not after, and he makes it appear as if John was waiting for a sign to show him the Christ.  He also makes it appear as if John was seeing Jesus for the first time – and recognizing him as the son of God for the first time at that meeting.  Strange when one considers that Jesus and John were cousins, had known each other as children, and that John had recognized Jesus’s special nature before either of them was born.

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