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.
I grew up with a great deal of instruction about christianity, but very little about Jesus himself. Reza Aslan crafts a story which breathes life into what I had perceived to be an archaic time. His style is approachable and not pretentious.
Reza's description of the life and times of Jesus made me realise that almost every New Testament verse I had heard, read or memorised was out of context. It is that context which makes the book so compelling.
While there were times when this book provided interesting insight into the life of Jesus, the majority really drew heavily from the New Testament, and what was already printed in those pages. As a non-Christian, I was certainly unaware of some aspects of the story, but I wonder how much extra was gained beyond what has already been written. Interesting, and worth reading, but not earth-shattering.
When I haven't done this before: when I got to the last sentence of the recorded book I immediately downloaded it to my iPad for another read. For a Christian, the book is illuminating and challenging. The political history of Jesus' time is something we don't hear about in church, but it is crucial to understanding his intentions and his fate.
Reza posits a theory based on a pre-supposition that denies the divinity of Jesus and the supernatural. To deny the supernatural brings one back to the ultimate conscious/subconscious question for all and that is origins - were we created by an uncaused first cause (God) or we must explain how something came from nothing which is impossible by definition and logic. I did find ithis an interesting read although I did not agree with many of his propositions, assumptions, speculations and innuendos. For better coverage on the subject I would recommend Hank Hanegraaff's "Has God Spoken - Proof of the Bible's Divine Inspiration" and the for a more experiential understanding "Destined to Reign" by Joseph Prince.
I thought I would get a book on the human side of Jesus but all I got was how the bible is historically inaccurate. It did not add anything to my understanding of Jesus as a human being though this is what the author says he set out to explain.
One of the wonderful things about this audiobook is that it's read by the author, who has a fantastic voice that's very easy to listen to. Even when Aslan is imparting a lot of complex information, he remains perfectly understandable and makes those concepts seem easy.
Although 'Zealot' deals with a lot of questions and ideas that I have personally already encountered, there were a lot of concepts in here that were completely new and entirely engaging for several people in my life who downloaded it at my recommendation. It's an extremely accessible and engaging book, and even if these are ideas that you've grappled with before you'll still find yourself saying 'oh, that's just perfectly put'.
It was so interesting to learn about Saul/Paul and James in particular, two religious figures I've never put much thought into
I listened to the whole thing in two days and didn't regret a moment of it! A fascinating listen, and one I very much recommend experiencing.