We know that journalism can impact attitudes and action. But it's rare to get concrete proof of that, as I did recently after publishing a blog post about the anti-Semitic content of traditional Good Friday performances of Passion plays and Passion musical compositions, many dating back to the Middle Ages.
Although Christianity did eventually emerge as a separate religion, similar falsifications of biblical history are rampant in collections of Renaissance art spanning hundreds of years. These distortions were not harmless. They imposed a dangerous division between Christians and Jews that lingers today.
Bill O'Reilly disputed the two main points of my recent blog on The O'Reilly Factor broadcast: My affirmation of Jesus' lifelong dedication to Judaism (meaning he did not start a new religion) and the assertion that Renaissance art representations of Jesus omit his Jewish identity and thus falsify biblical history.
Imagine if Bill O'Reilly were the first scribe to translate the gospels. His ideology surely would have compromised or edited the "words of God." Expand that scenario to an army of Bill O'Reilly scribes down through the ages, with different languages, ideologies and prejudices, and we can begin to appreciate the hazards of thinking of the gospels as history remembered rather than history storied.