Jesus, Bill O’Reilly, and the Romans

February 26, 2013 2:17 am 7 comments

A depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus. Photo: wiki commons.

The question of who killed Jesus or who was primarily responsible for the crucifixion has been debated by scholars, biblical experts and ordinary people for 2000 years. For my part, I hoped to put the issue to rest in my recent article, “God Killed Jesus: That’s What the Gospels Say.” I pointed to definitive citations in the Gospels and other parts of the New Testament that unequivocally state that the crucifixion of Jesus was commanded by God, Jesus’ father, as part of God’s plan for the salvation and redemption of mankind. And as I argued in the article, and more extensively in my book, Jesus Uncensored: Restoring the Authentic Jew, if the crucifixion was God’s plan, then accusing anyone else is the greatest of blasphemies against God and Christianity. It denies God’s will, God’s power, and God’s plan. From this Christian perspective all the other players were props in a divinely orchestrated plan.

So it’s no wonder that I was surprised when I opened my New York Times (2-21-13) to a full-page ad announcing the forthcoming publication of Killing Jesus, by Bill O’Reilly, and hailing it as “this Year’s Most Anticipated Book.” The ad gave no hint about the book’s contents. But given Bill’s celebrity and his success with two other “killing” books (Lincoln and Kennedy), the media was all over the announcement, and the Internet buzzed with commentary. Although O’Reilly is keeping tight-lipped, he leaked one revelation on his T.V. show: “We’ve uncovered some interesting things about the execution of Jesus of Nazareth,” he said, “and how it all ties into Roman power.” This disclosure suggests that he’ll be weighing in on the “who did it” debate — and perhaps offering new evidence that the Romans were the primary culprits. His publisher, Henry Holt, confirmed that in a press release.

If so, O’Reilly will be in good company of others who blame the Romans: Professor John Dominic Crossan, author of Who Killed Jesus?; Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of Kosher Jesus, to name just two.

But will new evidence make a difference in popular perceptions? I doubt it, since despite divided opinions about culpability, Jews have historically been the ones blamed, and, significantly, only Jews have been persecuted for the crucifixion. Moreover, blaming the Romans is problematic for Christians–and possibly for Bill O’Reilly, a practicing Catholic. If the Romans initiated and pressed for Jesus’ crucifixion, it would have been for one and only one reason: that Jesus was an armed insurrectionist and a “Rambo” like rebellion leader who was a threat to Roman authority — not the Lamb of God or the Prince of Peace and Love as Christians maintain.

According to the Gospels, the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of Judaism, charged Jesus with blasphemy against Judaism — the only realm (Jewish affairs) that the Sanhedrin had authority over. Blasphemy against Judaism was a charge that the Roman’s couldn’t give a hoot about. From the Jewish perspective, the Roman pagan temples and gods were blasphemies against Judaism. The Romans were in the picture because they were the only ones who could carry out the execution if Jesus were convicted by the Sanhedrin. But if the Romans initiated the action it’s an entirely different story — and not a Christian one.

So for me, the New York Times ad is correct: Bill O’Reilly’s book is “most anticipated.” I hope you have a good story, Bill!

Bernard Starr is a psychologist, journalist, and college professor. He is author of Jesus Uncensored: Restoring the Authentic Jew, which is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major outlets.

7 Comments

  • The scriptures say that Jesus laid his life down of his own volition. It was the Father in him leading him to make that sacrifice for all mankind. The purpose is for the Reconciliation that he has accomplished and is no longer imputing sin. We can all come to him by his grace to receive freely of his life in his name. 2 Cor 5:17-21 is a short exposition on this reconciliation (restoration) that has already been done.

  • SARA K.: WHY? IT DEPENDS ON WHAT ISLAND YOU LIVE ON.
    If you live on a deserted island youre right, you dont need to know anything. If you live with other nations then you shld know who the potential threats come from.
    Take xtian missiopnaries in Israel who converted 20,000 Jews who also thoughth they lived on AN ISLAND AND DIDNT BOTHER TO LEARN TORAH WHICH IS THE ONLY ANTIDOTE AGAINST THESE THEIVES OF JEWISH SOULS.
    tAKE bROOKLYN NY where they open churches disquised as shuls with hebrew writings on the building tricking island dwellers to enter and get their brainwash to ”accept jesux” who by the way brought wars and destructions to the world and not peace.

    SARA ARE YOU SO COMFORTABLE ON THAT ISLAND OF IGNORANCE OR DO YOU THINK YOU MAY LEAVE SOON AND JOIN A TORAH ORTHODOX WOMANS CLASS TO LEARN ABOUT THE ANTIDOTE AGAINST THESE EVILS?
    SARA,I didnt intend to be diplomatic. I did intend to hit you with facts in your face. you are old enough.

    i am rude arent I…hmmm well sara baby..tough,its time you wake up.

    • Rosario Osorio

      Is there something wrong with your computer keyboard? I can hardly discern what you’re talking about in the middle of all rant and raving. Thank you.

  • I would like to know why this story happens to be in a Jewish paper.

    • Why shouldn’t it be in a newspaper that focuses on Jewish issues. The Charge “Christ Killers” has been lethal for Jews for two thousand years–and still reverberates today. My position, based on explicit documentation in the Gospels, is that God Killed Jesus and that, therefore, the historic charge indicting Jews is not only absurd but should be condemned by the Church as extreme blasphemy against Christianity. Bill O’Reilly’s book will apparently indict the Romans, which, if so, resurrects the age old debate–this may inadvertently place Jews back in the lineup as potential perpetrators of the crucifixion. Looking the other way on this issue has never benefitted Jews

      • Rosario Osorio

        I agree.The whole thing about assigning blame is pointless. We don’t even know if all of this really happened! The Gospels say the Jews instigated the Romans to crucify Jesus, but as you point out the Romans and Jews were the instruments to carry out what was already written. By the way, I don’t think the charge “Christ Killers” has been the only lethal issue for Jews for 2,000 years.

  • IF YOU MR AUTHOR USE SCHMUELY BOTEACH AS A REFERENCE SOURCE, THEN YOU WOULDN’T BE SO CREDIBLE EITHER

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Book Reviews The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    Romirowsky and Joffe’s book Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief is an important volume for those interested in truly understanding the origins of the Palestinian refugee issue. Utilizing a treasure trove of newly released documents, the authors link UNRWA’s (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine) origins to the Quakers/American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). For those readers who thought they knew most of the Middle East story, Romirowsky and Joffe’s version provides another twist. The authors meticulously [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    The Israel National soccer team could be facing a World Cup ban, and other soccer sanctions, unless it alleviates travel restrictions and increases field access for Palestinian players and coaches. The head of the Palestinian Football Association is pushing for international soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to issue a ban on Israel competing internationally, claiming Israel’s restrictive travel for Palestinians is equivalent to a form of oppression. “It’s not only the athletes,” Jibril Rajoub explains. [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    JNS.org – While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on past the recent March 31 sign-up deadline, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care,” Fuhrman says in an interview. “To make [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.