We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Zealot Audiobook

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

Regular Price:$24.50
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (2757 )
5 star
 (1456)
4 star
 (837)
3 star
 (305)
2 star
 (80)
1 star
 (79)
Overall
4.3 (2441 )
5 star
 (1341)
4 star
 (708)
3 star
 (256)
2 star
 (64)
1 star
 (72)
Story
4.3 (2450 )
5 star
 (1327)
4 star
 (742)
3 star
 (288)
2 star
 (49)
1 star
 (44)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Brendan Horgan 05-06-15 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slightly biased but understandably so"
    What did you love best about Zealot?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Commack, NY, United States 05-01-15
    Anthony Commack, NY, United States 05-01-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well researched."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Digby 04-27-15
    Tim Digby 04-27-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Eye-opening."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Wiley 04-13-15
    Bob Wiley 04-13-15 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Interesting"

    I was taken by the historical perspective of the life of Jesus of Nazareth and the eventual metamorphosis into the Jesus Christ that is known today. I have listened 3 times and interested in learning more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shparks 04-05-15
    shparks 04-05-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If you're seeking the truth listen to this"

    Great book will read and listen to again the information given has reference to the scripture with an historic truth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geoffrey 03-19-15
    Geoffrey 03-19-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Educational intuition and sound description."

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CuZzo 03-19-15
    CuZzo 03-19-15

    G

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very enlightening"

    Open my eyes in some way. Always felt somethings what we are being taught were theatrical and adjusted to benefit the interest of Paul.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank 03-08-15
    Frank 03-08-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding!"

    With eighteen years of Catholic education, this is by far the best book I have listened to on Jesus. Thanks!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Burns 03-03-15

    Dan

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    "Well read and researched book"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorenzo Neal 02-12-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Insightful and Enlightening"

    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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Nell
    Ferny Grove, Australia
    12/15/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliantly done"

    This is a fascinating and impressive take on the early history of the major world religion that is Christianity. I found Aslan's arguments persuasive and he reads his own work with an engaging enthusiasm. Not all the ideas are new, but I liked the way he pieced things together. I also liked the respect that he shows to the Christian faith; this is a secular text, but it is not aggressive in its secularism - at least, not more than it needs to be.

    I learnt a lot about Judaism that I didn't know before, and the book constructs a clear picture of the political tensions that simmered in Jesus' lifetime. The parts that really captured me were the description of the temple in Jerusalem and its rituals, the conflicts between early leaders (especially between Paul and James; that was a real eye-opener!), and the important differentiation Aslan makes between Jesus the man and Jesus the Christ, which really forms the backbone of the book. The title 'Zealot' refers to the Jewish concept of 'zeal', which is similar to the more common, colloquial understanding of the term, but not the same. I'm not an expert on world religions but in my limited understanding, it reminded me a little of the Islamic concept of jihad: both involve religious passion, both imply a struggle against something, and both can lead to violence, but don't always.

    I can imagine that some Christians may have a problem with Aslan's book, because its content strongly shows that men, not gods, make religions. But he never disrespects the faith of others or tries directly to debunk anything that is based on faith: rather, he places this faith into historical context. The way that he does so reminds us of a key fact about Jesus that ought to colour our view of him but too often doesn't. He was not a Christian; he lived and died a Jew. What's more, he did so in a time and place where being Jewish could cause you problems, especially if you were inclined to dislike the Romans.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth
    Lancaster, United Kingdom
    9/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Informative,but more questions than answers."

    I have surprisingly enjoyed this audio book. I have long been interested in the real truth and the fiction hidden within the Bible. Reza Aslan narrates his book with enthusiasm. I must admit that I wouldn't make it to the end of the written book, but the audio version is more bearable. I didn't fully understand all of the threads which he references throughout, but I picked up the general gist. It is a revealing book but you have to have an interest in the subject to make sense of it. It's not a book for someone unfamiliar with the Bible in my opinion. It has made me ask more questions than finding answers.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • M
    Wakefield, United Kingdom
    10/16/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Holy Moly!"

    So, who does this Jesus fella think he is? I’d never bought the whole middle-class, middle-aged, middle-of-the-road pacifist guru-magician image that was thrust down our throats at school; I couldn’t quite see how that ancient Jewish peacenik could’ve inspired billions of people across thousands of years and cultures to such heights of beauty and horror. But, the Jesus portrayed in this book is one I like! A complex and charismatic Angry Young Man filled to the brim-stone with revolutionary zeal, with a talent for whipping up a crowd with his rhetoric and sleight-of-hand - this is someone worth reading about. Picture Jesus as a Jewish Nationalist Socialist (oh, the irony …) taking on The Roman Man with his mob of illiterate, fundamentalist peasants - it’s quite an image. And then throw him into the wonderfully described world of spirits, magic, gods, and the starkly brutal and bloody politics of Imperial Rome, and you’ve got one helluva story! That that Jesus was swept aside for early Christian PR reasons is a tragedy we may never recover from ...I like and respect Jesus of Nazareth much more than Jesus the Christ, and the Son of Man has a lot more to offer us than the Son of God does. An excellent and thought-provoking book - Amen!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. N. J. Houchin
    10/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very thought provoking and interesting."

    Brings to life a fascinating time and place in history. One of the best audio books I've read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Colin Burnett
    1/18/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great"

    Brilliant, as near to the truth as I think you will get. Totally plausible and well researched story, read by the author himself.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Stuart
    10/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Speculative but sometimes interesting"
    Would you listen to Zealot again? Why?

    No, because I got all I needed from one listen


    What about Reza Aslan’s performance did you like?

    Well read, and it's always nice to hear the author read their own work.


    Any additional comments?

    The best part of the book is the first bit, setting out the cultural milleau in Roman Palestine. As for JC himself, Aslan is convinced that his take is sensational and new; but it's not the ground-shaker he thinks it is. The specifics where he diverges from other attempts to historicise Jesus are in Aslan's attempting to locate him in the Zealot tradition (rather than an apocalyptic as he's usually seen). But his evidence for this largely relies upon his own exegesis of biblical passages. In one particularly excruciating section he goes into details of the exact etymology of the Greek verb in “render/give/return unto Caesar...” in order to show what Jesus really meant by it; in the process apparently rather forgetting his own previous emphasis that JC would have spoken little if any of this language, and the word in the NT is not that that he would have uttered himself.

    Similarly, he shows how the trial before the Sanhedrin as recorded in Mark contradicts the rabbinical procedures for such trials. He then admits that the trial took place in the second temple period, before the emergence of the Rabbinic/Mishnaic tradition, but quickly points out that Mark *was* written within the Rabbinic tradition. A bizarre position: that the author of Mark ought to have rewritten his oral sources to make them conform to the standards of his day, and that because he did not this is evidence that the events could not have occurred as the traditions described them.

    These are both typical of its approach: it presents itself as falling within the scholarly rather than christological tradition, yet ultimately relies upon exegesis and substantial interpretative assumptions rather than painstaking and careful critical comparison.

    Not a bad or deliberately dishonest book, but he has a prior agenda (JC the militant anti-Roman), and cherry-picks and interprets the sources to back it up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • MrTellyBelly
    Birmingham, UK
    5/15/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Informative"
    What did you like most about Zealot?

    Very well researched book. I think we all know the story of Jesus but what this book did was to put it into a social context of the time.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Zealot?

    I was shocked at the society at that time - groups fighting each, massacres, foreign invaders. I was left with the thought that it doesn't look as if much has changed since then - just the names are different.


    Which character – as performed by Reza Aslan – was your favourite?

    Jesus :-)


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the Romans came back after the rebellion with the express intent of "pummelling" the local population to teach them a lesson. I was shocked at the cruelty.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mugzy
    3/27/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The True Jesus"

    Excellent book on who Jesus really was and believed in. Christianity belongs to Paul not Jesus!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alex Lancaster
    11/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating"

    a beautifully written / produced piece. a compelling read for those with or without faith.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mika Neko
    4/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "recommend"

    Good book, compelling facts, and smooth narration makes it a very nice experience to enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.