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)
if you are looking to understand the historical Jesus the real Jesus and submerge yourself into his time and what what's going on at that time when he was around this book is sure. help you accomplish that I think it's extremely enjoyable and very factual and it's easy to tell how knowledgeable and well-documented the author is
Having taken a degree in Religious Studies and Theology, I appreciate the way Aslan constructs a picture of what Jesus' culture would be. I disagree with some points regarding Paul and early Christian movment.....but this is a fun read with a great performance by the author.
the biok is worth a read. i did struggle with some historical parts that seemed to have required pre-knowledge as the author assumes the reader is already aware of.
otherwise, reza gets very descriptive to paint a picture of how life was like back then.
what a fascinating and historic filled view of a very powerful, larger than life character. I listened to it twice and I'll get more of his books. I especially liked hearing about his brothers and the "real Paul"
Reza Azlan has attracted a lot of controversy with Zealot' but this is pretty much the same basic outline of the historical Jesus that I studied in university 40 years ago. His presentation of Jesus as a zealot is new to me and he makes his argument very thoroughly and carefully. I encourage anyone interested in the history of Christianity and the historical Jesus to read this book. You may not agree with everything Azlan writes but he does present a thoughtful and respectful picture of Jesus the person in history and the early church and its challenges.
On the positive side, the politics of the era are well presented and interesting. The nature of concurrent would-be messiahs and their stories are seldom told, worth noting, and contextually very important. Likewise, the post-crucifixion history as it pertains to the emergence of lines of thought in the early church are also worthwhile, though certainly not the first time they've been presented.
There are 2 major drawbacks to the work. The first is that Aslan can't seem to figure out, or at least be consistent with, whether or not the Gospels have historical veracity worth anything in an academic study. He takes pains to describe the authors as detached from the events, and following one on top of another and using one another's accounts as starting points, making them seem rather ahistorical. Yet, in what should be the most important section of the text, the actual part about the tumultuous few years of preaching leading up to Golgotha in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, Aslan is more than happy to start using the Gospels as source material. You can't pick and choose in this kind of work, and Aslan of guilty of this.
The second, and more important problem, is the question his contextual analysis raises that he refuses to answer. If there were a number of would be messiahs in this time period, why did this seeming nondescript isolated example from a small backwater town become one of the most important figures in human history. What is different? Why Jesus of Nazareth, and not the others in the line of rebels caught and crucified. If this work is about the individual, and the individual is described as rather run-of-the-mill for the period, the author must then at least postulate why this one person had such an impact. Failing to do so simply makes the initial analysis seem shallow, which is the feeling I came away with.
The more cynical side of me can't shake the feeling that Aslan perhaps rushed this, because he wanted it published, he wanted Fox News to go idiot-bananas, and have that to drive books sales. Of course, the first I heard of the book was a replay of that idiot Fox interview.... and I bought the book.... so, mission accomplished? Anyway, it's not all fluff, it just doesn't get deep enough to answer the questions it raises. It's perhaps more pop and less history than I really wanted.
Well-balanced historical account of the man Jesus Christ. Very interesting historical review on the evolution of the Roman Catholic Church. Unbiased fair and balanced. Refreshing and interesting.
None other to compare to
Same as title
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
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