David Limbaugh’s latest book, Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel, sounds like an entertaining and informative read even if you are not especially interested in Christian theological study. From a purely historical perspective, Limbaugh’s latest work seems like a compelling one.
Ed Morrissey spoke with Limbaugh on September 9 for The Ed Morrissey Show (at about the 1:06:00 mark). The host described Limbaugh’s book as a nondenominational approach to the analysis of Biblical scripture. Limbaugh noted that this was intentional. While he said that he was not endorsing “pluralism,” he found that all schools of Christianity have more in common than issues on which they disagree.
“It’s a personal journey as well as a lawyerly look at testing the gospel,” Morrissey observed. Limbaugh agreed that, while he wasn’t putting Jesus on trial (title aside), he was taking an attorney’s view of the claims in the bible and attempting to determine their veracity.
That objective approach to the gospels sounds interesting even for those who consider themselves secular, subscribe to a non-Christian belief system, or are simply nonbelievers. The New York Times, however, disagreed.
The Times, according to The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard, determined that Jesus on Trial should not make its September 28 bestseller list “despite having sales better than 17 other books on the list.”
According to publishing sources, Limbaugh’s probe into the accuracy of the Bible sold 9,660 in its first week out, according to Nielsen BookScan. That should have made it No. 4 on the NYT print hardcover sales list.
Instead, Henry Kissinger’s World Order, praised by Hillary Clinton in The Washington Post, is No. 4 despite weekly sales of 6,607.
As Secrets wrote about a similar banishment early in the sales of conservative Dinesh D’Souza’s America, the Gray Lady is mysterious in how it calculates its list. A spokeswoman said, “We let the rankings speak for themselves and are confident they are accurate.”
The September 28 list of the top 20 print hardcover best sellers includes one book that sold just 1,570 copies.
After selling slightly fewer than 10,000 copies through September 17, some estimates suggest Jesus on Trial should be the overall eight bestselling book that week. A representative with Regnery, the publisher of Jesus on Trial and a subsidiary of Salem Communications (the group which also owns HotAir), told World Net Daily’s faith editor that the decision to omit Limbaugh’s book may even reflect an ideological bias.
“While publishers have long tried to discover the secret recipe by which The New York Times concocts its bestseller list, it seems increasingly likely that they are ‘cooking the books’ to fit their particular ideology,” Marji Ross, president and publisher at Regnery, told WND in an email.
“Yes, of course, conservative books appear on their list – including many Regnery books. I can only assume they are forced to place conservative books on their list in order to retain some sliver of credibility. But this trend of underreporting sales of conservative books is pronounced – and hard to justify.”
The Times will be The Times. Regardless of the urban liberal’s impression of Limbaugh’s work, to hear him describe it makes it sound like a fascinating read.