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.
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.
Interesting how Mr Aslan recollects and does the patchwork, I found his arguments and narrations persuasive enough to take those with me. This book reconfirmed many of my doubts based on my own non-professional analysis. Good piece of work, and another droplet into the ocean of humanism and secularism.
For me Zealot brings continuity to an otherwise jumble of accounts and unbelievable tales. Even a Christian could gain much from the history provided in Zealot though they might not agree with the conclusions.
I loved this book and it gave me a lot of supporting resources to follow-up with. I'm excited to use this as a launching pad into my own journey into Jesus and who he was.
I just finished listening to this book for the 3rd time and each time my understanding of the differences between the historical Jesus and the politically correct version scriptures portray has become deeper. Jesus' mythical context was created over time by well-meaning narrators whose intent was to tell Jesus' story without raising the ire of the Roman oligarchy, who had the power to destroy the Jesus movement as it had almost obliterated the Jews. Well researched and well performed.
I'm not religious. Agnostic I guess. This was enlightening regarding Jesus the man, the culture he lived in & the early evolution of Christianity.
This book gave so many false facts right from the get go that I checked online and this author is a "former" Muslim, but after reading his account of Jesus I'd say he still is. This book represents the Muslim viewpoint that Jesus was a good teacher, but not the Son of God.