I'm an avid reader of many genres and issues. Audiobooks sometimes bring books into 3D , and when that happens its brilliant!
I have been reading historical Jesus books for many years, as an Australia pastor to encourage informed exploration of both Jesus and the gospels.
I must say that I enjoyed much of the content of this book, and Reza's vivid description of Jewish & Roman politics in the 1st century CE. He offers a very interesting reading of Jesus which clearly separates a an understanding of Jesus in his matrix with the Christ of faith ( blamed largely on Paul). Perhaps this is because his own faith story - becoming Christian and then returning to Islam??
However, there are a number of excellent of theologians who need to be read alongside "Zealot" e.g. John Dominic Crossan & Tom Wright to look at the impact and theology of Paul in the emerging Christian movement.
Reza argues ( and reads) persuasively and interestingly, but in the end I had a whole lot of questions about his purpose in constructing this interpretation.
I gave it three stars overall because of these hesitations. It would be a good discussion book though.
Three things set this book apart.
1) It is entertainingly written and passionately narrated.
2) The author's ability to make you feel like you're in Galilee and Judea, in biblical times.
3) You get to hear a balanced non-christian view of the new testament.
The descriptions of the places and times of the events really bring the gospel narratives to life and give you a sense of what it may have been like, the day to day goings on of ordinary folk, the violence of the time, the brutality of the roman reign, the politics of the temple, and so on. And its delivered mostly in a way that accepts the detail of gospels as pointers to historical truth while reminding us the bible does not really seek to present "history" as we know it, but truth. Occasionally the author's opinions jar the senses, but hey, this is a great book for promoting discussion about the gospel, so what could be bad about that?
Anyway, extremely well written, worth a listen.
Zealot touches on a subject rarely covered, or perhaps avoided, in the rarely discussed historical Jesus. Using the context of documents from the time, he examines the contradictions of not just the New Testament and history, but the conflict between the gospels themselves. It is more than that, it is a history lesson on the events leading up to and contained in 1st century Palestine, as well. If you're interested in the history of the early church, the various factions of Jews of the time, and the Roman occupation and eventual destruction of Jerusalem, this book is for you.
I listened to it in two sittings the first time, and three years later I found it just as enjoyable during my commutes and gaming time. Aslan's narration is clear and enthusiastic, and his knowledge and expertise in the field comes through in his performance. I highly recommend it!
It's a profound analysis of the life of Jesus. as scientific as it can be. releases the Jews of Jerusalem from the charge of delivering Jesus to the Romans with very compelling arguments. Removes the mysticism's of the gospel and it's varying views of Jesus
It was fantastic. It was fascinating see how thoroughly Paul's teachings have divorced Jesus the Christ from Jesus the Nazarene. Putting the so-called Messiah squarely into the time and place where he lived and looking at his life through that lens paints a very different picture of him than what any modern Christian church teaches. What most people don't realize (I know that I never had) is that not only was Jesus on of many self proclaimed Messiahs in his day, our understanding of what the Messiah was has almost nothing to do with the Messiah of Jesus' day.
As a person raised in a Christian tradition, I actually found the revolutionary Nazarine more compelling than the Christ that persists today. Reza Aslan sums it up best with the final line of his book, "...the one thing any comprehensive study of the historical Jesus should hopefully reveal is that Jesus of Nazareth—Jesus the man—is every bit as compelling, charismatic, and praiseworthy as Jesus the Christ. He is, in short, someone worth believing in."
intriguing, thought-provoking, captivating.
It made a historical Jesus seem probable. Something I would not have agreed with prior to reading this book.
Great book, great performance. The author covers the life and times of Jesus, but moreover, the oppression he and his people experienced; the people who were for and against him; his brother James, Paul/Saul, etc. I gave the book 4 out of 5 because it really could have been cut in half--he uses a lot of superlatives and superlative phrasing to try and make a concept or scene more exciting. For example, "...such-and-such happened for one reason and one reason only:.." So many times, I was like "Just give me the dang reason.." No need to lead up to it with empty phrases. Also, he would spend a lot of times on one subject, essentially saying the same things over and over, and different ways. It's like, move on to the next thing already! Both of these reminded me of situations where a college student might use "filler" sentences in order to satisfy a word-count requirement for a writing assignment. I just don't think filler text or superlatives are necessary. Books should be concise and interesting on their own. Overall, good information on the historical Jesus and a good oral reading.
The author presents a cogent, insightful, yet provocative treatise. This book is by far the best attempt to uncover the historical Jesus that I have ever encountered. I strongly recommend it to anyone that wants a deeper understanding of christian theology.