Books News: Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly and Easter new releases
As the calendar approaches Easter, there will no doubt be the usual flurry of new Jesus books released and discussed but ironically the timing of O'Reilly's new title is aimed at the biggest bookselling season of them all, Christmas.
And while O'Reilly as an author is relatively unknown outside North America, as are his books, he still ranks as the world's sixth richest author grossing $24 million last year.
But Killing Jesus may well gain him a broader, global audience and no doubt that is part of his motivation in writing the book.
His now tried and true formula is to allow co-author Martin Dugard to do the pain-staking work of research around the killing of a famous historical figure while he comes on board to write history in a self-confessed, 'populist way. No pinheaded stuff, just roar it through!' he told USA Today.
The events surrounding the death of Jesus Christ of Nazareth have probably been written about more than other person in history and so it may be a tall-order to find any new revelations.
But perhaps that's not the point for O'Reilly, who presents history as a fast-paced thriller, as he is targeting people who may not have read any previous book on the 'deaths' in his books.
And, as a practicing Catholic, his motivation may be more intrinsically personal. A media release from his publishers quoted O'Reilly as saying:
'Jesus Christ has not walked among us physically for more than two thousand years, yet his presence today is felt the world over and his spirit is worshipped by more than 2.2 billion people. His teachings, his legacy, his life as a flesh-and-blood man, and his death created the world in which we live.'And, coming back to this Easter season, what other new Jesus books are on offer:
Cread is reading Christian Beginnings by Geza Vermes, worth buying just for its timeless cover - it's like handling an ancient papyrus. It's a bout as far removed from Killing Jesus as you could get, providing a deeply intelligent and challenging review of the beginnings of the faith inspired by Christ. It will be almost certainly beyond us to review Christian Beginnings as well as Rowan Williams in The Guardian.
Justin Bieber has endorsed Judah Smith's book Jesus is:___ Find A New Way to be Human and this has no doubt helped the book to number one of Christian books on Amazon.
The Childhood of Jesus by JM Coetzee, Nobel Prize winner, has been described, in part, as a kind of 'Kafkaesque version of the nativity story, with refugees playing the holy family in an uncaring host country.' However the 'difficult to decode' novel may have nothing at all to do with any kind of Jesus allegory - we'll tell you when we've read more than the first chapter.
And where would be in the lead up to Easter without at least one book claiming to have discovered the 'real' truth about Jesus. In Jesus - King of Edessa, 'Ralph Ellis has discovered that Jesus was a prince of Edessa in northern Syria.' He says he's found a statue and coins in this prince of king's name.
Perhaps you've heard of a few others? Let us know and have a happy Easter.