"Killing Jesus" is the third book in O'Reilly's series of nonfiction history books. The other two are "Killing Lincoln" and "Killing Kennedy."
During the interview, O'Reilly said the Holy Spirit gave him the idea to write "Killing Jesus." He said all of the ideas, including the title, came to him in the middle of the night. O'Reilly co-authors the book with historian Martin Dugard who traveled to the Holy Land and did the research for the book. It took the two men only eight months to complete the book.
The publisher, Henry Holt and Company, believes so much in the success of "Killing Jesus" that it paid the two authors $10 million in advance for the book that was released on Sept. 24.
O'Reilly stated in a press release before his "60 Minutes" interview:
"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 worshiped 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."
The publisher says, "Killing Jesus will take readers inside Jesus' life, recounting the seismic political and historical events that made his death inevitable – and changed the world forever."
O'Reilly warns readers that some parts of the book contradict the New Testament's accounts of the crucifixion even though he used the gospels as references. For example, O'Reilly believes Jesus couldn't have spoken the words, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do," because the crucifixion wouldn't have allowed enough air in His lungs.
Another warning is that O'Reilly did not refer to Jesus as the Son of God, and he explains, "There's no religion in the book. It's all about history."
Therefore, those who read "Killing Jesus" should read it as a historical account of the events leading up to the murder of the most influential man in history.
O'Reilly is working on the fourth book in the series. The next book will be about World War II.