what a fascinating and historic filled view of a very powerful, larger than life character. I listened to it twice and I'll get more of his books. I especially liked hearing about his brothers and the "real Paul"
Reza Azlan has attracted a lot of controversy with Zealot' but this is pretty much the same basic outline of the historical Jesus that I studied in university 40 years ago. His presentation of Jesus as a zealot is new to me and he makes his argument very thoroughly and carefully. I encourage anyone interested in the history of Christianity and the historical Jesus to read this book. You may not agree with everything Azlan writes but he does present a thoughtful and respectful picture of Jesus the person in history and the early church and its challenges.
On the positive side, the politics of the era are well presented and interesting. The nature of concurrent would-be messiahs and their stories are seldom told, worth noting, and contextually very important. Likewise, the post-crucifixion history as it pertains to the emergence of lines of thought in the early church are also worthwhile, though certainly not the first time they've been presented.
There are 2 major drawbacks to the work. The first is that Aslan can't seem to figure out, or at least be consistent with, whether or not the Gospels have historical veracity worth anything in an academic study. He takes pains to describe the authors as detached from the events, and following one on top of another and using one another's accounts as starting points, making them seem rather ahistorical. Yet, in what should be the most important section of the text, the actual part about the tumultuous few years of preaching leading up to Golgotha in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, Aslan is more than happy to start using the Gospels as source material. You can't pick and choose in this kind of work, and Aslan of guilty of this.
The second, and more important problem, is the question his contextual analysis raises that he refuses to answer. If there were a number of would be messiahs in this time period, why did this seeming nondescript isolated example from a small backwater town become one of the most important figures in human history. What is different? Why Jesus of Nazareth, and not the others in the line of rebels caught and crucified. If this work is about the individual, and the individual is described as rather run-of-the-mill for the period, the author must then at least postulate why this one person had such an impact. Failing to do so simply makes the initial analysis seem shallow, which is the feeling I came away with.
The more cynical side of me can't shake the feeling that Aslan perhaps rushed this, because he wanted it published, he wanted Fox News to go idiot-bananas, and have that to drive books sales. Of course, the first I heard of the book was a replay of that idiot Fox interview.... and I bought the book.... so, mission accomplished? Anyway, it's not all fluff, it just doesn't get deep enough to answer the questions it raises. It's perhaps more pop and less history than I really wanted.
Well-balanced historical account of the man Jesus Christ. Very interesting historical review on the evolution of the Roman Catholic Church. Unbiased fair and balanced. Refreshing and interesting.
None other to compare to
Same as title
I find this book to be very educational. It is an explored look at an often glossed over fact of Jesus' life. Hopefully it will encourage more Christians to explore why they follow Jesus.
Listening to this book has given me such a wonderful view on history of Christ and the issues facing the early church that are all too often skipped over. I had to force myself to get away from listening because I was hooked. thank you
I certainly learned some new things listening to this book. I would have to know a lot more about the research that went into it before I credit everything that I heard as being accurate. But the author's contentions certainly made a lot of sense and coincide with some of my own research and reading-- limited as they are.
The author's reading was good, although his pronunciation of several words jarred in my ear. Knowing that there are many variations of English throughout the world, I won't hold his reading against him.
The way the story was build. It takes you from the history of how Jesus came into picture and what was his motive.
Shows how Paul co-opted Christianity along with the Romans to sell it to the Gentiles in Rome. Peter and James remained Jews after Jesus' death, following the laws of the Torah and Moses. The Romans then clearly destroyed Jerusalem, killed everyone, and forever severed the ties between That destroyed Temple in Jerusalem; while marginalizing James (the bishop of bishops) and Peter (head and first apostle). Oh yes, they burned lots of documents in Jerusalem and basically turned to Paul's refuted teachings, the disgraced and censured, into what is basically 50% of the New Testament.