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Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth | [Reza Aslan]

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

From the internationally bestselling 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. 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.
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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

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  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-31-13 Member Since 2014

    Walt

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
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    18
    11
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    "A novel approach to retreading higher critisim"
    What would have made Zealot better?

    New discovery or facts. As he actually admits, there is nothing new in this book and it has all been said and debated before. He simply tells us his particular viewpoint of what he accepts from higher criticism and what he does not.


    Has Zealot turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Reza Aslan?

    No.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Nope.


    Any additional comments?

    He claims to have "researched" the book for more than 20 years and is a "New Testament scholar" - then clearly admits he doesn't have a full command of Greek. How can you be a scholar of an ancient text that you don't have a complete grasp of it's original language? He claims to have been a Christian, converted at an evangelical camp around a blazing fire where he heard the story of how Jesus was born in Galilee. What evangelical camp would have introduced him to Jesus born in Galilee? Evangelicalism is steeped in the teaching that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea - a completely different district of Palestine. He says that it was not until college, when he discovered the "numerous errors" and "contradictions" of the Bible that he rejected his faith in anger (the acknowledgement that he is angry at Christianity is a clue). But anyone who has studied the Bible extensively has heard these accusations of supposed "contradictions" and each of them has been laid to rest as rubbish for centuries. As for the errors, there are very few and they are well documented and non-consequential to the story of the Bible; every second year Bible scholar has done this exercise. Therefore, his supposed autobiography of faith is the tell that he clearly has an ax to grind; perhaps he hoped to make a buck in the process. Very sad.

    9 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyle FT WRIGHT, KY, United States 08-05-13
    Kyle FT WRIGHT, KY, United States 08-05-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Must for all christians"
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I have recently increased my study of the bible and this as lead me to crisis of faith. I know God is real, but if the bible is "literally true" why are there errors of omission and inter-book discrepancies? This book has helped to answers this very difficult questions that I, in truth, was afraid to ask in church.


    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W Meade Greenville, SC United States 04-05-15
    W Meade Greenville, SC United States 04-05-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    "Now it makes sense"

    Most helpful book about Jesus this 67 year old Christian has been exposed to. Now I see.
    Thank you Reza.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug 04-03-15
    Doug 04-03-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Story
    "Dissappointed"
    Any additional comments?

    I thought that this writer came across kind of arrogant. He obviously does not believe in God's Word being infallible. I know that is not a popular opinion these days. However, I think that over 2000 years of church history, one should be careful about saying "they all have it wrong", here is what Jesus really said.......

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    edward 04-02-15
    edward 04-02-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well written and read"

    Very thoughtful and informative. A great introduction on the topic! Would highly recommend. Will now check out the authors other works.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Slawomir Chlabicz 02-03-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    3
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    "excellent book"
    If you could sum up Zealot in three words, what would they be?

    very informative and revealing


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jesus as a historical figure


    What does Reza Aslan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Very interesting content, excellent audio performance by the author

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    austin 01-30-15
    austin 01-30-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    8
    1
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    "Great book!"

    I recommend this to both believers and non-believers alike. It paints a vivid picture of the time of Jesus.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David M. Colorez WI 01-27-15
    David M. Colorez WI 01-27-15 Member Since 2013

    Honor Your Mind, Body, and Soul

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    "To fully understand the modern day Christianity!"

    As it's narrator explained, one needs to know the historical Christ as well as the biblical Christ! It is up you the reader to decide what is and what is not.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    david 01-27-15
    david 01-27-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    1
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    "Awesome"

    Awesome narrator in not going to church anymore I'm done thanks Aslan for telling the truth

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Papa Charlie Carlisle, PA USA 01-15-15
    Papa Charlie Carlisle, PA USA 01-15-15 Member Since 2014

    Pete

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    Story
    "Wow"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Zealot to be better than the print version?

    I drive a lot. This way, I can "read" while I drive.


    What did you like best about this story?

    An absolutely fascinating look into 1st Century Judea. What a bloody mess! So many things about the Bible make sense now. The politics behind the writing of the Book are incredible


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Zealot.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are a dogmatic Christian, don't bother. You'll only get outraged. If you have an open mind and love to learn, this is fantastic.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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