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.
The content was interesting but the juvenile sound of the author's enthusiastic narration made it very hard to take the book seriously. A professional reader would have made a world of difference.
I'd only listen if someone else read it.
I don't have any names at hand but would have liked a serious sounding narrator, NOT Asian.
Learning about Jesus from a different point of view is a good thing. But this is an author setting up numerous possible insights, then stumbling through biased conclusions. Each time a flash of originality begins to emerge, Aslan falls into flawed logic and exaggerrated justifications. The premise of demonstrating how Jesus was a part of religious culture oppressed by a foreign power prompted me to try this book. Now, as I'm about two-thirds done, it's clear Aslan wants to grasp at every possibility to discount the divine calling of Jesus. His real premise is to expound every weak argument possible to "prove" those that came after Jesus cleverly devised the fable of a Messiah. Too bad he skipped the eyewitness affirmation of Peter where he struck down any such claim.
Of course not. But, as for this book, it is forced nonsense. Don't waste your money. Don't waste a credit, even if it was free.
No. His delivery is quite good, except for a few places where words are slurred as he rushes to his misguided point.
A representative example of his agenda is the part where he discusses the many times Jesus heals those that wish to be healed. Ignoring the numerous testimonies of those that witnessed the touch of Jesus restoring sight, allowing the crippled to walk, healing life-long diseases and, of course raising the dead; Aslan claims that there were others in this time that also performed "magic' (his word). Ignoring the miracle of One that can give a new life with only a touch, he mentions some pathetic example of a man that allegedly drew a circle on the ground, stood in it, and cried out for rain. Aslan forgot to say if this really did bring forth rain. With this odd comparison, he tries to show Jesus was just another magician of his time.
If I could cut scenes similar to this, there would be no book.
The author claims to be a scholar, but plays around with interpretations and assumptions way too much to be considered a scholarly work.
How Christianity changed the world.
He is the author of the book, so he does a good job at narrating.
It confirmed the existence of a historical Jesus, that is important.
It is clear that the author's background influenced his negative views on the Christian faith. He claimed to have been a true convert, but his was a short and quick conversion based on emotion at an evangelical camp. This sort of converts almost always leave the Christian faith because they have to real foundation. This is ignored or not mentioned by the author. Instead he claims he left the Christian faith because he found many things that did not agree in the New Testament with historical documents.
Also, coming from a background based on earning salvation through work, the author has a hard time grasping the message of the gospel, salvation through faith. This same message can be read in the Old as well as the New Testament. A lack of knowledge of the complete Bible ends up affecting the author's arguments.
backup in the text... not see appendix
social and political appeal
a real alternative for a nonbelievers belief system
A whole worldview about Jesus is made here of largely conjecture. When it comes to the proof that backs up his points its....see the appendix. Problem is not that the worldview is developed (it is) but rather the proof for it is lost as he developed the worldview. If one can disprove any or many of the points then the entire worldview falls apart. As an example the "Q" source documents, by Aslan's own admittance a hypothetical book for which there are no documents or copies, plays a major role in this book but he never delves into the proofs / disproofs. I know this was not the point of his book but again Aslan's Jesus overview is only believable if you believe the "Q" source stuff or the details which he glosses over etc. I think the devil is in the details here. If the evidence for each point is doubtful then the book is doubtful but Aslan never gives the reader the chance. By quickly moving on to complete the Jesus worldview the unquestioning reader just accepts Aslan's points as he moves quickly on. People who are looking for a book that explains their preconceived (apriori) belief that Jesus is only a social & political figure will find an intellectual guide. People who are looking for the "real Jesus" by testing the truth of each Aslan's claims will be left thumbing to the appendix.
Three things set this book apart.
1) It is entertainingly written and passionately narrated.
2) The author's ability to make you feel like you're in Galilee and Judea, in biblical times.
3) You get to hear a balanced non-christian view of the new testament.
The descriptions of the places and times of the events really bring the gospel narratives to life and give you a sense of what it may have been like, the day to day goings on of ordinary folk, the violence of the time, the brutality of the roman reign, the politics of the temple, and so on. And its delivered mostly in a way that accepts the detail of gospels as pointers to historical truth while reminding us the bible does not really seek to present "history" as we know it, but truth. Occasionally the author's opinions jar the senses, but hey, this is a great book for promoting discussion about the gospel, so what could be bad about that?
Anyway, extremely well written, worth a listen.