Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
|Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth|
|July 16, 2013|
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth is a book by Iranian-American writer and scholar Reza Aslan. It is a historical account of the life of Jesus and analyzes the various religious perspectives on Jesus as well as the creation of Christianity.
During an interview on Fox News by Lauren Green, Green frequently interjected, quoting critics who questioned Aslan's credibility as an author of such a work as Aslan is a prominent Muslim. Aslan noted he was "a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and [was fluent] in biblical Greek, [and] has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, [and that he] also just happens to be a Muslim." The interview was criticized immediately after gaining notoriety on the Internet after a post on BuzzFeed headlined "Is This The Most Embarrassing Interview Fox News Has Ever Done?"
Dale Martin writes that although Aslan is not a scholar of ancient Christianity and does not present "innovative or original scholarship", the book is entertaining and "a serious presentation of one plausible portrait of the life of Jesus of Nazareth". He faults Aslan for presenting early Christianity as being simply divided into a Hellenistic, Pauline form on the one hand, and a Jewish, Jamesian form on the other. Martin says that this repeats 19th-century German scholarship which now is mostly rejected. He also says that recent scholarship has dismissed Aslan's view that it would be implausible that any man like Jesus in his time and place would be unmarried, or could be presented as a "divine messiah". Despite these faults, Martin praises Zealot for maintaining good pacing, simple explanations for complicated issues, and notes for checking sources.
Elizabeth Castelli, writing in The Nation, finds that Aslan largely ignores the findings in textual studies of the New Testament, and relies too heavily on a selection of texts, like Josephus, that recent scholarship has largely discredited. Near her dismissive conclusion, she writes: "Zealot is a cultural production of its particular historical moment—a remix of existing scholarship, sampled and reframed to make a culturally relevant intervention in the early twenty-first-century world where religion, violence and politics overlap in complex ways. In this sense, the book is simply one more example in a long line of efforts by theologians, historians and other interested cultural workers."
- Aslan, Reza. "Books". Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Hasan, Zaki (July 29, 2013). "Reza Aslan and the Fox News Zealot". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Simpson, Connor (July 29, 2013). "Why the Fox News Scandal Is Good News for Reza Aslan". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Tobar, Hector (July 29, 2013). "Reza Aslan's Jesus book a No. 1 bestseller, thanks to Fox News". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Quinn, Annalisa (July 29, 2013). "Book News: Outrage After Fox News Interview With 'Zealot' Author". NPR. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Martin, Dale. "Still a Firebrand, 2,000 Years Later: ‘Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth’". The New York Times, Books of the Times. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- Castelli, Elizabeth. "Reza Aslan — Historian?". The Nation. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
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