23
May

Slow Reader Friday: Killing Jesus…

stone cross

Book Club Lovers: Go here to see the Book Club Selection for June!

Warning: Get 2 beverages first.

Because of the writing hiatus, few MIP readers will probably remember that the January MIP Book Club Selection was Bill O’ Reilly’s and Martin Dugard’s Killing JesusWritten like a reporter on the scene, Killing Jesus reads like a fast-paced, yet meticulously-detailed and intriguing tale. Unlike many Christians today, I chose not to go and see The Passion of the ChristI felt I wouldn’t be able to handle the outright gore of Jesus’ death. After reading Killing Jesusthat was the right decision to make!

I had some reservations about reading this book and in making it the January MIP Book Selection. First, both of the authors are Roman Catholics. Would they rely too heavily upon Roman Catholic tradition and books from the Apocrypha? Would they try to “convert” people to Catholicism? While I’m sure some of the Apocrypha is factual, the books were determined too unsubstantiated to be a part of the Protestant Bible by scholars well-versed in all matters of that era of human history. Second, this book would follow (on the Book Club List) another book talking extensively about Catholicism, And Then There Were NunsI feared that my readers might think this was my only area of interest! And lastly, Bill O’Reilly can make me rather uncomfortable with his obvious confrontational grandstanding and self-promotion.

I shouldn’t have worried. At the outset of the book, the authors clearly admit that they are both Roman Catholics, but they do not wish to convert anyone to some “spiritual cause”–they merely want to tell the reader as much factual truth about Jesus’ death as they can possibly find. At the end of the book, their very detailed notes about their research and sources show that they did consult multiple scholarly works both recently and in the past to make sure they were truthfully reporting what is known about his death. Yes, they do rely, rather heavily in my opinion, on Josephus’ book in the Apocrypha, but keep in mind that, unlike their previous books, Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincolnthey were unable to consult youtube.com, journals, newspapers, biographies and other more modern sources for information! I just choose to discount some of Josephus’ accounts to a small degree as a Protestant. If anything, their sources are now on my reading list, based on their own impressions of the sources! And as a kid I was raised in Indiana, so my readers will have to forgive me if I am sometimes on a “Catholic bent.” I was surrounded by Catholicism in a state that is home to Notre Dame University!

Instead of giving you quotations today, I will list some facts I learned from Killing Jesus that I didn’t previously know. And as a preacher’s kid, that is rather remarkable, in and of itself!

1. Herod suffered from lung disease, kidney problems, worms, a heart condition, sexually transmitted diseases, gout and gangrene. He was so disabled he couldn’t even leave his palace.

2. Caesar’s death was so vicious that the senators stabbed each other.

3. Marc Antony was a pedophile.

4. The roads to Jerusalem were so dangerous that the pilgrims going there for Passover traveled in huge groups to protect themselves from criminals.

5. Crucifixion was such a bad way to die that Roman citizens could not be executed this way.

6. The Roman teams of soldiers taking care of crucifixions were vigorously trained on how to make the condemned suffer the longest, most agonizing death possible.

7. As part of this torturous process, the condemned’s legs are broken and the condemned person would most likely wind up urinating and defecating in full view of those watching.

8. The taxation of Jewish citizens was so high that many citizens suffered from malnutrition.

9. Joseph’s death most likely occurred sometime between Jesus’ 13th and 30th birthdays, making him head of the household and responsible for supporting his mother and siblings.

10. Tiberias often swam with “tiddlers,” naked young boys who “nibbled” between Tiberias’ legs.

11. Pilate’s appointment to Judea was not considered a “cushy assignment.”

12. During Passover, the Temple courts would have reeked from the smell of blood from the slaughtered animals needed for the ritual sacrifices that had to be offered.

13. The 4 million Passover visitors meant big bucks to all involved in this huge industry of supplying unblemished sacrificial animals. The “industry” not only involved money changers and livestock providers, but also the Temple aristocracy and Roman leaders of the area.

14. Tiberias actually liked the Jews and scolded Pontius Pilate for behavior that invoked a riot.

15. The behaviors that actually were more troubling to the “industry” were not Jesus’ so-called blasphemous words, but his rampages through the Temple, overturning tables of coins and letting out the animals that were there to be bought for the sacrifices. And he did this twice!

16. The only reason to try and trip up Jesus as he preached was to find a way to be able to execute him without it looking as if money was the motive!

17. The people sent to trip up Jesus were considered very knowledgeable about Torah law and had so much “intel” that they often beat Jesus to his next destination.

18. Caiaphas allowed Pontius Pilate to loot the Temple funds.

19. Because of Passover, the timing of Jesus’ arrest, trial and death became a huge problem.

20. 30 silver coins was the equivalent of 4 months’ wages. Think how that might sound to a man who has been malnourished for a long time.

21. Each crucifixion death squad was composed of 5 men, including an exactor mortis who oversaw it.

22. One can actually sweat blood and Jesus did.

23. High priests were appointed for life so that the money pipeline flowed unimpaired. Thus, Annas, a high priest, was wealthy and powerful.

24. Everything about Jesus’ trial and death was illegal.

25. One member of the death squad held an abacus to count the lashes given to a prisoner.

26. In some ways Jesus’ crucifixion was much less severe than other crucifixions, yet Jesus died in a shorter amount of time than most condemned to this death.

27. Usually, a crucified person would be left on the cross for days so that wild animals can eat the deceased or so the body decomposes before everyone.

28. Deceased bodies were kept in tombs for a year. The bones were then placed in a stone jar.

29. Trees were carried in from many miles to handle the large numbers of crucifixions.

30. Cleopatra died from opium and hemlock, not from an asp’s bite.

31. Jesus had 4 brothers: James, Joseph, Judas and Simon and several sisters.

32. The dove appearing at Jesus’ baptism appeared after his baptism and was a real dove.

33. Women in Jesus’ time were considered the equals of men.

34. Legend suggests that Jesus’ exactor mortis became a Christian.

35. Jesus may have called Simon “the Rock” to poke fun at his unstable personality traits.

36. Jesus was 36 when crucified and probably was born in March during lambing season.

So, if you have read Killing Jesuswhat stood out to you?

Monday’s Post: WOW time!

You Might Also Like: Slow Reader Friday: And Then There Were Nuns; Slow Reader Friday: Undaunted; and Slow Reader Friday: Life Interrupted

This entry was posted on Friday, May 23rd, 2014 at 10:50 am and is filed under Slow Reader Friday. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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