Sometimes O’Reilly includes two versions of the same story so that Jesus repeats the same action or says the same thing twice. In this book, Jesus overturned the moneychanger tables twice, for example. He really doesn’t like bureaucrats. On other occasions O’Reilly picks one particular Gospel (usually the longest version, rather than the earliest) and we never find out why.
Chapter 12 begins with the promise Jesus has but 6 days to live, appearing to use Luke as the primary source here, as the disciples pick only one colt, unlike the number of authors of this book. It is possible they are using C.S. Lewis (which brings to mind that maybe the source of this book is not the Canon, but the Narnia tales) and his problematic dilemma about the mental state of Jesus.
Our 13th chapter begins with Jewish and Roman leaders looking for potential problems during Passover (I swear, I think I’ve seen this movie before). The intent is to capture Jesus, alone. Thus far, the authors, like the canonical authors before them, have failed to give any convincing reason why Jesus was as popular as he was and why, if his mission was peace, he was perceived as a threat to the Roman and Jewish leadership. There is some lip-service given to challenging religious authority; however, since the Pharisees were hardly in league with Rome, this is not the answer we are looking for.
As passively as they were before, the authors are now coming close to saying Jesus cleansed the Temple twice, ignoring scholarly thought regarding Mark 11.15–7 and it’s post-70 placement in the story of Jesus. This is as expected, as it it seems the authors have yet to make use of any scholarly material beyond that of Josephus.
Finally, at the close of the chapter, the authors give us something about Jesus to prove his death was political. He was a political revolutionary raising an army. They write, “He (Jesus) is not a lone man but a revolutionary with a band of disciples and a growing legion of followers.” Further, this Jesus is manipulating the crowds to prevent arrest.
Chapter 14 returns us again to John’s Gospel, this time sitting for the second time as Jesus gets his feet cleaned. They make sure to note, however, that Mary and Martha are common names. Again, this is their license, to set the rules on what name represents what person they desire to use. Unsuspecting readers, or rather those readers who refuse to question what they read, are unlikely to question their erratic stances on historical personas.
Arriving at Matthew 22.15–22, they skip over this (what I would’ve thought was an) essential passage with only a remark about the longevity of the words. They suggest it marginalized Rome, but as the authors have already stated, Rome had marginalized itself from Judea. Thus, the words of Jesus, would’ve been well in line with Roman policy. They make no concerted effort to present fact, only subjective reasoning based on their desired outcome.
15 chapters in, we fully encounter the arch-Jew of Christian polemics, Judas who is repainted not as a rebel as his title suggests, but as a religious follower only wanted Jesus to be Messiah and the Jewish leaders to surrender to him. Further, the betrayal is meant to show “Jesus is God.” This is their conclusion to this chapter, that Judas only wants to show Jesus is really and truly God.
Jesus “must at least define his life to the disciples” is a line at the beginning of chapter 16. Thus, a nice meal is organized, like a Jesus-coming-out party. This is the passover. Note, as the authors do, the Synoptics and John disagree on the date. The discrepancy is dealt with in the most inhumane way possible. That’s not the only thing ‘literalized.’ When Jesus begins to sweat drops of blood, the authors assign this to the medical condition known as hematidrosis. In other words, there is nothing in the Gospels worth exploring — accept everything at face value.
Chapter 17 begins with a slight against what the authors call “class warfare.” Thus far, all resistance to Rome is pictured in heroic terms; however, since the murdered was wealthy, this is class warfare. And of course, they use Josephus. Further, they use (much) later sources to identify that the civil rights of Jesus were broken with his trials.
Chapters 18 through 21 are little more than (overly) dramatized versions of the Passion narrative, ending much like the Gospel of Mark does.
I have not fracking clue why I read this book. It says nothing new and what it does say is either dramatized or wrong.