Reza Aslan: The historical Jesus 'is the nightmare of Bill O’Reilly'
Reza Aslan addressing the Los Angeles World Affairs Council (Screenshot/YouTube)

The Jesus of history was the exact opposite of everything Fox News host Bill O'Reilly thinks, according to religious scholar Reza Aslan.

The professor made the remarks while speaking at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in February. Video of the event was uploaded on Tuesday.

During the discussion about his book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, an audience member asked Aslan if he had read O'Reilly's book about Jesus, called Killing Jesus.

"Yes, 'Killing Jesus,' which apparently is not a manual," he remarked. "I have not read Bill O’Reilly’s book so I can’t really talk about it in any sort of intelligent way. I will say that the main difference between my book on Jesus and Bill O’Reilly’s book on Jesus is that I wrote my book."

"I have friends who have read it, and I’ve read reviews of it," Aslan continued. "I understand basically he’s turned Jesus into a member of the Tea Party. Because it’s all about taxes as far as he’s concerned. That Jesus was upset about the high cost of taxes, which actually is true, and government interference and that’s why he rebelled and that’s why he was killed. That’s fine."

"I will say this though. What fascinates me is the way that the political Right in this country has absorbed Jesus and made Jesus their own icon. The Jesus of history is a Middle Eastern Jew who advocated for free healthcare and fed the poor. That’s the nightmare of Bill O’Reilly! That’s the exact opposite of everything Bill O’Reilly thinks."

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