I'm glad to have listened because I had seen the Fox News interview of the author & wondered why they showed such,badly expressed anger. Then I found my anger surface while listening to the authors continual effort to convince and be the expert. As if, because he has studied history before, during & after the time of Jesus, he knows so, so much that in 2013, he can write a book that labels the Biblical story of Jesus's life & death to have been simply chucked full of twisted truths and fantasy. To me, it isn't so much of what he said but the tone in which he spoke that cause me to suspect his need to expose Jesus's story a contrivance of His devoted followers. The book got me to remember a thought that I had previously considered. I think it is probable that Jesus did not precisely know exactly what God was asking of Him. Jesus was first of all, a human. Much of what God intended Jesus to do, accomplish may have been hidden from Jesus's conscious mind and only gradually revealed to him. Jesus would have needed guidance in the years of ministry. He would have a sense but would not known every step to take along His way.
Zelot inspired me to remember the Healings of Jesus both the ones I have witnessed and the ones I have experienced.
My husband & I share the account. Anything on history is his read. I'm more into fiction/zombie & apocalyptic reads.
Very interesting in the 1st section about the times around Jesus and how turbulent they were. The remaining sections had good comparisons of the spiritual readings to what was historically available. Makes you think.
I was fascinated by the comparison of the New Testament to the historical record. I appreciated the author's tone; he was neither cynical, nor desperately trying to cover up obvious inconsistencies.
Historical context for the writing of the Gospels and the political environment in which Jesus lived.
I feel like I learned more about the people around Jesus more than I did him, but that's part of the context-building nature of the book.
I love a good book...
Not a great book to read for exegesis, but if one wants to understand the history around the time of Jesus and to better understand how a non-Christian biblical scholar understands Jesus this book is for you.
This book is an easy read and rather enjoyable. Gets its point across clearly. While it is informative and provides several good observations, I could not take it too seriously in a scholarly manner as Mr. Aslan tends to embellish and romanticize events, settings and world views using very descriptive and colorful language. As someone who is interested in scholastic works, I know how difficult it is to make objective assertions about matters that happened two decades ago, let alone millenia. However, Mr. Aslan frequently describes matters as if they were facts. Zealot reads like a Dan Brown novel in my opinion. I personally prefer lectures on the subject that present the historical record, give their views and interpretation of such record along with others', and let the reader/listener come to his/her own conclusions. Mr. Aslan quotes the Gospels quite often as references to Jesus and what he might have been like, yet mentions how erroneous and biased they might be. I was a bit confused by this.
Having read "No God but God" I would say that this book is very comparable in writing style as Zealot. However, Zealot is a bit more enclined to tell a story with a view and a certain moral, rather than being more objective.
This book could very well be made into a movie. It would be more of a drama than a true documentary. I would definetely go see it.
While my inclinations are more towards less subjective works on historical religion, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would definetely recommend it. Although, I would advise to take it with a grain of salt and encourage you to read other publications on the subject.
Better conclusions and less authoritative
The author admits that there is only one non-biblical historical reference to Jesus and then he uses his research into the times surrounding Jesus' life to pick and choose from the New Testament the events that fit his thesis and considers them truth then calls the events that don't fit his ideas: invention, exaggerations, fabrications, lies and fairy tales. Reza references the few documents that have survived the centuries and considers them to be all he needs to judge what is truth and what is not. He does not consider that the people who wrote the Gospels had access to countless documents that have been lost to time as well as letters and first and second hand accounts from eye witnesses to the of events of Jesus' life. So he sits in judgment in 2013 and has the supreme wisdom to draw this conclusion and then call this event a fabrication. As a Muslim turned Christian and then disillusioned into who knows what today, the author decides to discount that there may be more to life than he can comprehend from his little office in 2013. His omnipotent tendencies to speak for "the majority of scholars" on this point or that point is very annoying. If he presented his ideas as possibilities based on his research, this book would be worth reading. But to listen to him chapter after chapter try to lay out his arguments by deciding these verses of the bible make sense to him and these do not, and then definitively saying here this is what happened and this did not is eventually too much to take. Pompous Ass is the only term that comes to mind by the end of the book. If you follow his tweets, you will see that the guy is a real jerk.
Annoying, sneering, pompous
Most of his conclusions.
Aslan states in his preface that the new testament is not a historical account, yet he uses it almost exclusively as a historical source. There is nothing here to prove or disprove anything historical about Jesus of Nazareth.
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.
I really enjoy the books I read and hear!
This book helped me confirm my beliefs in Jesus of Nazareth, the person and how it was to live in the first century under Roman rule. I recommend this book to anyone who is curious about Jesus.