Compelling history of Jesus the man vs the Christ figure and the making of a new religion in the cultural context of Jewish life in a Roman Empire. It dispels the simple myths and stories of Christianity as truths and delves deep into the motivation of the followers creating a new religion over many hundreds of years. A must read in understanding the role of religion in the human quest for power and dominance.
Places Jesus in the context of other prophets and teachers, revolutionaries, of the time. Attempts to recover him from the political uses that rapidly obscured and distorted him. Good points made on the origin of "miracles" and the meaning of crucifixion. I listened to it practically straight through.
History student with VERY eclectic tastes. Too busy to actually sit down and read most of the time so audiobooks have saved my sanity.
Yes. I'm certain I've missed a lot of information. This is a book that needs to be listened to (or read) at least twice to get all the information.
I like that it's not just a book about Jesus. It is also outlines the various political, societal and religious issues before, during, and after the life of Jesus. It also gives a look at how the modern church was formed and how Christianity became what it is today.
There aren't really scenes... I guess I liked the comparisons between the gospels and Aslan's reasoning for the differences between them. I also really liked learning about early 1st century Middle-eastern geo-politics (but then I'm weird).
I didn't have a particularly extreme reaction to it, but I now know why it was so controversial when it was published.
The accuracy of the evidence provided when stating the true events of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The solid argument line when accurately explaining the historical context of the events that led to the crucifixion of Jesus. The explanation of the true meaning of the Kingdom of God magnificently documented and beautifully narrated. A MUST READ!. The best book that I have read on the topic in a very long time. I cannot recommend it enough.
Well, that is difficult to say since I have always been primarily interested in Physics and Mathematics with marginal interests in Philosophy and Economics, so I had never had enough time for books on Religion. Besides, I was more on the side of Richard Dawkings and Christopher Hitchens on this topic. I bought their books and I read them, specially Christopher Hitchens' God is not great, which I read from cover to cover.To me Christianity was nonsensical fantasy, a fairy tale, until I heard, almost by accident, an interview by Fox New with Reza Aslan.
His precision and erudition. His capacity to connect the dots scattered over fragments of different books of the New Testament to shed light and unlock the message of the scriptures. A Magnificent piece of work. He also shows how little other alleged experts really know about the New Testament. He made me a fervent reader of the Scriptures. Can you believe it ?. It fascinates me the fight between Paul, considered a traitor at the time, and the brother of Jesus, James the Just. The struggle for the liberation of the holy land from Roman Occupation. The invention of the Christ by Paul and the making of the figure of Jesus into a Roman God by Paul and later by Constantine. The de-politicization of the life of Jesus and his followers by Paul and by the Romans, who finally appropriated his story and use it for Imperialistic purposes.
Well, believe it or not I have done it seven times already. And still, while I am cooking or doing something manually I put Zealot on, and the Bible next to each in order to read and verify Reza's quotations. And guess what, everything is exactly there as he says.
Again, a must read !. I wish that Dr Reza Aslan publish all his books as audiobooks. His erudition on the matter of Religion is breathtaking. From being a person who looked at Religion with disdain I became, thanks to Dr Reza Aslan, a very interested researcher on the topic.
Definitely my best book for 2014. Thanks Reza !.
As a fan of ancient Roman history and having not had any religious upbringing, I enjoy the history of Jesus and the early Christians and their world. This book did not disappoint- Jesus and his followers as anti-Roman, anti-collaborators, and VERY pro-Jewish rabble-rousers was a take on this story I hadn't heard before. Reza Aslan paints a very clear portrait of the situation in that part of the world at the time of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. Israel/Judea is under foreign occupation and Jesus of Nazereth is only one of several self-proclaimed 'messiahs of the Law of Moses' in a volatile 1st century Jerusalem. Rome and its client Judean partners don't particularly cotton to revolutionary Jewish nationalist- which is how Aslan portrays JC- and dispatch the full penalty of the state towards him.
After his crucifixion is the part I truly found fascinating- the way his group of illiterate farmers and fisherman carried on without him, how they found new adherents to Jesus' teachings and how post-crucifixion followers like Stephen and Paul (formerly 'Saul') helped his message spread outside of Judea and how that message dramatically changed...how a militant anti-Roman/pro-Jewish movement turned into one that proclaimed the man himself, Jesus of Nazereth, was, not the "Son of Man" or the "Son of God", but God Himself. I really found the political squabblings between Paul's Gentile Faction and James' (brother of JC) Hebrews of Jerusalem Faction quite interesting and entertaining.
My major (yet minor) complaint is Aslan voice doesn't have the stamina for a whole book, maybe a ringer should have been hired. Still a very good listen.
The author himself narrates the book, and his performance makes more apparent his reckless interpretations of "facts" and wild conclusions. Not at all a scholarly work. He comes across as a cheeky, sarcastic adolescent. I could not listen any more after listening to two hours, and am returning the book. Perhaps it is more palatable in print, which might account for its place among current best sellers.
Mary Liechty Adams
This representation of Jesus, set in context of the time of his life, madee a valuable contribution to the literature and myth surrounding this great teacher. Having heard the writer in person soft peddle his remarks to his audience, I highly recommend the booik over an in-personn experience of the author and his topic.
This is a fascinating listen, made more-so because the author - who narrates - is extremely passionate about his subject and research.
My quibble is that the book is incomplete. It is presented as a "meticulously researched biography," but there are no notes included. I know that about 30% of the Kindle and paper versions comprises extensive notes on the author's research. These are absent in their entirety from this version, and I take issue with this book being sold as unabridged. I understand the difficulty in including notes as this is an audio version, however the lack of notes should be explicitly addressed in the description and/or this version should only be sold as a bundle with the Kindle version. Disappointingly misleading.
The author/reader was excellent & had a good voice and inflection during the story telling. The examination of the historical truths of biblical times was wonderfully researched.
decide for yourself
"Preposterous" is a term that Aslan uses frequently and quite emphatically. From a historical aspect, especially the Roman occupation of Israel, it was interesting and informative. As Aslan attempt at debunking Jesus as the Christ, not a worthy effort. It is obvious that Aslan doesn't get it. He, like the Jews of the time of Christ, was looking for a warrior king to throw out the Romans. At times, he has great admiration for Jesus, at others he compares Jesus to the other messianic aspirants, just more authentic, humble, unambitious, etc.
Actually, his voice was very good.