As Christian clergy person, I was so transfixed to this story that I sat in my car for more time with the book. Finding Jesus Christ is somehow found by faithfully following Jesus of Nazareth. This picture of Jesus and the violence of his time is a carbon copy of our world, especially (ironically) in the land where Jesus laid the groundwork of the faith I've given my life to. Well worth the money. Any thinking Christian will find this work challenging, but God has used Reza Aslan - as one of the prophets of old - to comment on the central figure of so many and provokes us who call him Lord to step up to the plate and follow him - no matter who gets pissed off.
I truly enjoyed the audio book by Pope Benedict XVI which is nicely narrated by Dan Woren. The Holy Father's intelligence shines through but in a most understandable way that is not above the head of the average reader (like me). The media has misrepresented some passages of the book by accusing the Pope of attacking certain aspects of Christmas as if what he reveals is a shocking revelation. The Holy Father is simply recording what appears in the Gospels and what does not (that perhaps angels spoke rather than sang and that no specific animals are recorded in the Gospels as actually being present at Jesus' birth), none of which makes a difference to Church Teaching, but are possibly just traditions we have come to believe although they are not recorded in the Gospels. The Pope is not speaking from a Magisterial perspective but is writing down, as he says, what he has discovered in his own personal search for the Face of the Lord. We are certainly not bound to believe them if we don't want to. At the very least he gives us good food for thought and much to meditate on. It is always enjoyable hearing what an intelligent mind has to say, particularly a theologian of Pope Benedict's caliber.