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)
This book offered a fantastic argument wrapped in sound judgement and educational integrity. It forced me to understand the Bible in a whole new light and respect the Jesus figure in a way I never thought imaginable. Will definitely read again and again!
If you have a modest familiarity with the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament you will enjoy this book.
I've listened to it at least twice and pick up something new.
The authors description of the role of Paul in coming up with what most Christians say they believe is particularly well done.
This book is full of great historical and contextual information that will help broaden one's understanding and promoting of the Jesus in the New Testament. It is not for the fundamentalist or staunch evangelical Christian. It helped bridge the concerns about certain narratives and dissonance in the scriptures. It's a great read
very informative and revealing
Jesus as a historical figure
It changed my view on the origins of Christianity. It is a coherent story where Reza Aslan explains the circumtances of life of real Jesus
Very interesting content, excellent audio performance by the author
Places Jesus in the context of other prophets and teachers, revolutionaries, of the time. Attempts to recover him from the political uses that rapidly obscured and distorted him. Good points made on the origin of "miracles" and the meaning of crucifixion. I listened to it practically straight through.
History student with VERY eclectic tastes. Too busy to actually sit down and read most of the time so audiobooks have saved my sanity.
Yes. I'm certain I've missed a lot of information. This is a book that needs to be listened to (or read) at least twice to get all the information.
I like that it's not just a book about Jesus. It is also outlines the various political, societal and religious issues before, during, and after the life of Jesus. It also gives a look at how the modern church was formed and how Christianity became what it is today.
There aren't really scenes... I guess I liked the comparisons between the gospels and Aslan's reasoning for the differences between them. I also really liked learning about early 1st century Middle-eastern geo-politics (but then I'm weird).
I didn't have a particularly extreme reaction to it, but I now know why it was so controversial when it was published.
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