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My review of "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth"

Monday, August 05, 2013

As posted on the book's page:

An intriguing and well-written supplement to what The Bible teaches about the man named Jesus, August 4, 2013
I heard Aslan interviewed on NPR a couple of weeks before the Fox News debacle hit the press, and put it on my Library list. When the idiots hit the fan, I changed my mind and bought it on Kindle to read immediately.

As a Christian, one of the things I find most intriguing about the story of Jesus is the inherent conflict between Jesus the man and Jesus the son of God. In the Gospels, Jesus himself struggles with his burden. Up to the last minute before his trial, begging "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42 NIV)

Yet, in most Bible-based teachings, and indeed in the books of the New Testament following the Gospels, that aspect is ignored in favor of Jesus the God. Jesus the man is forgotten.

Reza Aslan's book resurrects Jesus the man - Jesus the human person, born of Mary, nailed to a cross, killed for his people. Whether you believe those people are all believers of his time and those yet to come, or you believe those people to be the Hebrews locked in conflict with the Roman Empire, that doesn't change the courage and conviction with which he acted.

I find Jesus the rebel troublemaker so much more appealing than the glowing holy infallible Jesus burned into stained glass windows and untouchable by the masses.

If you love Jesus and want to understand the story of the man before he was known only as Jesus the God, this book is well worth your time. I also recommend you check out Kissing Fish: Christianity for People Who Don't Like Christianity for a refreshing viewpoint on the religion of Christ.


In a nutshell, I liked it. The right wing fervor over Aslan's Muslim faith is completely unfounded. This book is in no way an anti-Christian book. It's an examination of how a man from a poor Jewish family in 1st Century Palestine would have lived, preached and died, based on a reconstruction of the times from such written histories as exist of the time.

If your faith is so fragile that it can't stand the existence of this book, that's not Reza Aslan's problem - it's yours.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sounds intriguing Myrea..It's on my fall reading list already.

    1751 days ago
    If you only ever read books you already agree with, you will never learn anything.

    The term "zealot", in Hebrew kanai (÷ðàé, frequently used in plural form, ÷ðàéí (kana'im)), means one who is zealous on behalf of God.

    Nope - doesn't describe Jesus at all. emoticon
    1752 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/6/2013 9:22:23 AM
    I haven't read it so can't comment on the book. But the title rather turns me off. Zealot is a negative term generally. I don't think it's so much worrying about our faith as what it is/may be teaching those who may not be of our faith.
    Just my 2 cents worth. Personally I won't buy it because of the title, I would feel like I may be enriching someone who doesn't believe in my Lord to spread negativity. There's always the library.
    1753 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/5/2013 7:20:13 PM
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