Because Paul is almost the villain in this, set against Jesus' brother James. Aslan makes a compelling case concerning how far afield modern Christianity is from the probable teaching of the historical Jesus. And the reason? Paul, who never met Jesus and got into a real tussle with James over the conversion of the gentiles. I, for one (having read a good bit of the New Testament) had apparently glossed over the passages Aslan uses to demonstrate this. Aslan, perhaps a bit shy, perhaps a bit sensitive because of his Muslim background, never actually comes out and states the thesis of his book: That Christianity, as a religion apart from Judaism, was sort of made-up after its prophet's death by a guy Jesus might not have approved of. So, forewarned is forewarned.
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While I was aware that the gospel was not necessarily Jesus's word but more the creation of the church to fits its existence. Always thought Jesús was a messenger of brotherly love, & "turn your other cheek". This books paints him in very different light, and that almost everything is but a creation of the church.
As per the book, Jesus was only interested in Jews and not creating a new religion, which was work of Peter & church. Who knows what the truth is.
This book had some controversy when it came out, and some hard-liners may not enjoy this book, but this tale of the historical Jesus is fascinating and epic! Reza Aslan does a wonderful job of really telling a fascinating story, putting a new context of Jesus and his life, and it really makes a lot of sense about the development and foundations of Christianity at the very earliest period, and taking the true historical nature of Jesus, and what he stood for. For Christians, people interested in religion, and even Romanophiles, this is a great epic tale!
It is rare that I find a book that I would consider a complete wast of time but I have now found it! I could not even finish this. I tried for about 3 hours and had to throw in the towel.
Researching early Christian history is basically a hobby of mine so I'm no stranger to the basic ideas this book is based on. If you are, I suggest the fantastic "Jesus Interrupted" by Bert Ehrman as it introduces the critical historical method of reading the New Testament from the standpoint of an everyday Christian.
That said, books of this sort will always make an attempt to place Jesus in his time and place, but the author offers a fresh perspective that illustrates a deep understanding of Jewish culture in the first century and its tangled relationship with Rome. Jesus and his apostles fit neatly into the picture he paints as revolutionaries who have a lot in common with other Jewish zealots. While I've often read about the Kingdom of God mentioned in early Jesus sayings as being an eschatological event, the author's suggestion that this was a revolutionary message about a coming theocracy is thought provoking.
His message about James is also very insightful. He describes his conflict with Paul in vivid detail and even shows what appear to be clear steps he took to undermine him. That said, the author's assertion that his epistle as a sermon of his is needlessly shaky.
That said, I recommend this whole heatedly. I always love when the author reads their own work and this book is no exception.
turns upside down everything you previously knew about Christianity, like shining a light into a dark cave to reveal what's really there!