From the internationally best-selling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth.
Two-thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the "Kingdom of God". The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal.
Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God.
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry - a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.
Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious "King of the Jews" whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime.
©2013 Reza Aslan (P)2013 Random House
"In Zealot, Reza Aslan doesn't just synthesize research and reimagine a lost world, though he does those things very well. He does for religious history what Bertolt Brecht did for playwriting. Aslan rips Jesus out of all the contexts we thought he belonged in and holds him forth as someone entirely new. This is Jesus as a passionate Jew, a violent revolutionary, a fanatical ideologue, an odd and scary and extraordinarily interesting man." (Judith Shulevitz, author of The Sabbath World)
"A bold, powerfully argued revisioning of the most consequential life ever lived." (Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief)
"The story of Jesus of Nazareth is arguably the most influential narrative in human history. Here Reza Aslan writes vividly and insightfully about the life and meaning of the figure who has come to be seen by billions as the Christ of faith. This is a special and revealing work, one that believer and skeptic alike will find surprising, engaging, and original." (Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power)
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I find this book to be very educational. It is an explored look at an often glossed over fact of Jesus' life. Hopefully it will encourage more Christians to explore why they follow Jesus.
Listening to this book has given me such a wonderful view on history of Christ and the issues facing the early church that are all too often skipped over. I had to force myself to get away from listening because I was hooked. thank you
I certainly learned some new things listening to this book. I would have to know a lot more about the research that went into it before I credit everything that I heard as being accurate. But the author's contentions certainly made a lot of sense and coincide with some of my own research and reading-- limited as they are.
The author's reading was good, although his pronunciation of several words jarred in my ear. Knowing that there are many variations of English throughout the world, I won't hold his reading against him.
The way the story was build. It takes you from the history of how Jesus came into picture and what was his motive.
Shows how Paul co-opted Christianity along with the Romans to sell it to the Gentiles in Rome. Peter and James remained Jews after Jesus' death, following the laws of the Torah and Moses. The Romans then clearly destroyed Jerusalem, killed everyone, and forever severed the ties between That destroyed Temple in Jerusalem; while marginalizing James (the bishop of bishops) and Peter (head and first apostle). Oh yes, they burned lots of documents in Jerusalem and basically turned to Paul's refuted teachings, the disgraced and censured, into what is basically 50% of the New Testament.
It's hard to deny a work so thoroughly investigated and minutely examined. There seemed to be several assumptions that I viewed as reckless and I still hold my reservations to these. However the defining hammer blow to me was how Reza ruthlessly held to account the contradictions in the New Testament. Not only did he focus on the glaring contradictions that forced me as a young Christian to question this entire religion, Reza focused on many more.
I have always thought the shaky transition from Jesus' teachings and original apostles to an unknown and self appointed Paul, conveniently transitioning from salvation of the Jews to salvation of all willing Gentiles as questionable and undermining of Christianity.
In short, this book while a celebration of who historical Jesus may have been is damning evidence of the illegitimacy of today's Christianity.
Reza really dives into setting the background of the time and place where Jesus lived. Through outlining the cultural context of the time he points to what the most probably conclusions are about the actually historical figure of Jesus.
Reza did an excellent job of staying on point and focus in on the historical elements, being weary not not to get too sidetracked. He painted a picture of the historical Jesus that is the most probable narrative of the historical figure Jesus. However he did not spend much time on historical knowledge that presented challenges to narrative. In this was he was biased and the reader should acknowledge there are some holes to his narrative. Regardless, Zealot is a intriguing, thought provoking read beneficial for anybody who wants to further understand the context of the world Jesus lived in and what we can deduct are the facts about his life.
Answered many questions but created many more. I love the authors all in confidence on a controversial topic. No matter what view you have the evidence is largely circumstantial. I would love to hear a debate with an opposing view.
I was raised roman catholic, and attended 12 years of catholic education. This book is so full of things I've never heard before it is astounding. I am obligated to recommend this book for the simple fact that it has reignited my interest in learning about Jesus.
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