Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale
Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale_top

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A lucid, intelligent page-turner” (Los Angeles Times) that challenges long-held assumptions about Jesus, from the host of Believer
 
Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher 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 executed as a state criminal. Within decades after his death, his followers would call him God.
 
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most enigmatic figures by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived. Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction. He explores the reasons the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity.
 
Zealot yields a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told even as it affirms the radical and transformative nature of Jesus’ life and mission.
 
Praise for Zealot
 
“Riveting . . . Aslan synthesizes Scripture and scholarship to create an original account.” The New Yorker
 
“Fascinatingly and convincingly drawn . . . Aslan may come as close as one can to respecting those who revere Jesus as the peace-loving, turn-the-other-cheek, true son of God depicted in modern Christianity, even as he knocks down that image.” The Seattle Times
 
“[Aslan’s] literary talent is as essential to the effect of Zealot as are his scholarly and journalistic chops. . . . A vivid, persuasive portrait.” Salon
 
“This tough-minded, deeply political book does full justice to the real Jesus, and honors him in the process.” San Francisco Chronicle
 
“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
 
“Compulsively readable . . . This superb work is highly recommended.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review

“Riveting . . . Aslan synthesizes Scripture and scholarship to create an original account.” The New Yorker

“A lucid, intelligent page-turner.” —Los Angeles Times
 
“Aslan’s insistence on human and historical actuality turns out to be far more interesting than dogmatic theology. . . . This tough-minded, deeply political book does full justice to the real Jesus, and honors him in the process.” San Francisco Chronicle

“Aslan brings a fine popular style, shorn of all jargon, to bear on the presentation of Jesus of Nazareth. . . . He isn’t interested in attacking religion or even the church, much less in comparing Christianity unfavorably to another religion. He would have us admire Jesus as one of the many would-be messiahs who sprang up during Rome’s occupation of Palestine, animated by zeal for ‘strict adherence to the Torah and the Law,’ refusal to serve a human master, and devotion to God, and therefore dedicated to throwing off Rome and repudiating Roman religion. . . . You don’t have to lose your religion to learn much that’s vitally germane to its history from Aslan’s absorbing, reader-friendly book.” Booklist (starred review)
 
“Be advised, dear reader, Sunday school this isn’t. Yet Aslan may come as close as one can to respecting those who revere Jesus as the peace-loving, turn-the-other-cheek, true son of God depicted in modern Christianity, even as he knocks down that image. . . . Aslan is steeped in the history, languages and scriptural foundation of the biblical scholar and is a very clear writer with an authoritative, but not pedantic, voice. Those of us who wade into this genre often know how rare that is. . . . Fascinatingly and convincingly drawn.” The Seattle Times
 
“[Aslan’s] literary talent is as essential to the effect of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth as are his scholarly and journalistic chops. . . . A vivid, persuasive portrait of the world and societies in which Jesus lived and the role he most likely played in both. . . . Fascinating.” —Salon
 
“Accessibly and strongly presented . . . Readable and with scholarly endnotes, Aslan’s book offers a historical perspective that is sure to generate spirited conversation.” Library Journal
 
“A well-researched, readable biography of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus of Nazareth is not the same as Jesus Christ. The Gospels are not historical documents. . . . Why has Christianity taken hold and flourished? This book will give you the answers.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“[Aslan] parts an important curtain that has long hidden from view the man Jesus. . . . Aslan develops a convincing and coherent story of how the Christian church, and in particular Paul, reshaped Christianity’s essence, obscuring the very real man who was Jesus of Nazareth. Compulsively readable and written at a popular level, this superb work is highly recommended.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“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
 
“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

About the Author

Reza Aslan is an acclaimed writer and scholar of religions whose books include No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror (published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism), as well as the editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three sons.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

A Hole in the Corner

Who killed Jonathan son of Ananus as he strode across the Temple Mount in the year 56 c.e.? No doubt there were many in Jerusalem who longed to slay the rapacious high priest, and more than a few who would have liked to wipe out the bloated Temple priesthood in its entirety. For what must never be forgotten when speaking of first-century Palestine is that this land—this hallowed land from which the spirit of God flowed to the rest of the world—was occupied territory. Legions of Roman troops were stationed throughout Judea. Some six hundred Roman soldiers resided atop the Temple Mount itself, within the high stone walls of the Antonia Fortress, which buttressed the northwest corner of the Temple wall. The unclean centurion in his red cape and polished cuirass who paraded through the Court of Gentiles, his hand hovering over the hilt of his sword, was a not so subtle reminder, if any were needed, of who really ruled this sacred place.

Roman dominion over Jerusalem began in 63 b.c.e., when Rome’s master tactician, Pompey Magnus, entered the city with his conquering legions and laid siege to the Temple. By then, Jerusalem had long since passed its economic and cultural zenith. The Canaanite settlement that King David had recast into the seat of his kingdom, the city he had passed to his wayward son, Solomon, who built the first Temple to God—sacked and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 b.c.e.—the city that had served as the religious, economic, and political capital of the Jewish nation for a thousand years, was, by the time Pompey strode through its gates, recognized less for its beauty and grandeur than for the religious fervor of its troublesome population.

Situated on the southern plateau of the shaggy Judean mountains, between the twin peaks of Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives, and flanked by the Kidron Valley in the east and the steep, forebidding Valley of Gehenna in the south, Jerusalem, at the time of the Roman invasion, was home to a settled population of about a hundred thousand people. To the Romans, it was an inconsequential speck on the imperial map, a city the wordy statesman Cicero dismissed as “a hole in the corner.” But to the Jews this was the navel of the world, the axis of the universe. There was no city more unique, more holy, more venerable in all the world than Jerusalem. The purple vineyards whose vines twisted and crawled across the level plains, the well-tilled fields and viridescent orchards bursting with almond and fig and olive trees, the green beds of papyrus floating lazily along the Jordan River—the Jews not only knew and deeply loved every feature of this consecrated land, they laid claim to all of it. Everything from the farmsteads of the Galilee to the low-lying hills of Samaria and the far outskirts of Idumea, where the Bible says the accursed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah once stood, was given by God to the Jews, though in fact the Jews ruled none of it, not even Jerusalem, where the true God was worshipped. The city that the Lord had clothed in splendor and glory and placed, as the prophet Ezekiel declared, “in the center of all nations”—the eternal seat of God’s kingdom on earth—was, at the dawn of the first century c.e., just a minor province, and a vexing one at that, at the far corner of the mighty Roman Empire.

It is not that Jerusalem was unaccustomed to invasion and ­occupation. Despite its exalted status in the hearts of the Jews, the truth is that Jerusalem was little more than a trifle to be passed among a succession of kings and emperors who took turns ­plundering and despoiling the sacred city on their way to far grander ambitions. In 586 b.c.e. the Babylonians—masters of Mesopotamia—rampaged through Judea, razing both Jerusalem and its Temple to the ground. The Babylonians were conquered by the Persians, who allowed the Jews to return to their beloved city and rebuild their temple, not because they admired the Jews or took their cult seriously, but because they considered Jerusalem an irrelevant backwater of little interest or concern to an empire that stretched the length of Central Asia (though the prophet Isaiah would thank the Persian king Cyrus by anointing him messiah). The Persian Empire, and Jerusalem with it, fell to the armies of Alexander the Great, whose descendants imbued the city and its inhabitants with Greek culture and ideas. Upon Alexander’s untimely death in 323 b.c.e., Jerusalem was passed as spoils to the Ptolemaic dynasty and ruled from distant Egypt, though only briefly. In 198 b.c.e., the city was wrested from Ptolemaic control by the Seleucid king Antiochus the Great, whose son Antiochus Epiphanes fancied himself god incarnate and strove to put an end once and for all to the worship of the Jewish deity in Jerusalem. But the Jews responded to this blasphemy with a relentless ­guerrilla war led by the stouthearted sons of Mattathias the Hasmonaean—the Maccabees—who reclaimed the holy city from Seleucid control in 164 b.c.e. and, for the first time in four centuries, restored Jewish hegemony over Judea.

For the next hundred years, the Hasmonaeans ruled God’s land with an iron fist. They were priest-kings, each sovereign serving as both King of the Jews and high priest of the Temple. But when civil war broke out between the brothers Hyrcanus and Aristobulus over control of the throne, each brother foolishly reached out to Rome for support. Pompey took the brothers’ entreaties as an invitation to seize Jerusalem for himself, thus putting an end to the brief period of direct Jewish rule over the city of God. In 63 b.c.e., Judea became a Roman protectorate, and the Jews were made once again a subject people.

Roman rule, coming as it did after a century of independence, was not warmly received by the Jews. The Hasmonaean dynasty was abolished, but Pompey allowed Hyrcanus to maintain the position of high priest. That did not sit well with the supporters of Aristobulus, who launched a series of revolts to which the Romans responded with characteristic savagery—burning towns, massacring rebels, enslaving populations. Meanwhile, the chasm between the starving and indebted poor toiling in the countryside and the wealthy provincial class ruling in Jerusalem grew even wider. It was standard Roman policy to forge alliances with the landed aristocracy in every captured city, making them dependent on the Roman overlords for their power and wealth. By aligning their interests with those of the ruling class, Rome assured that local leaders remained wholly vested in maintaining the imperial system. Of course, in Jerusalem, “landed aristocracy” more or less meant the priestly class, and specifically, that handful of wealthy priestly families who maintained the Temple cult and who, as a result, were charged by Rome with collecting the taxes and tribute and keeping order among the increasingly restive population—tasks for which they were richly compensated.

The fluidity that existed in Jerusalem between the religious and political powers made it necessary for Rome to maintain close supervision over the Jewish cult and, in particular, over the high priest. As head of the Sanhedrin and “leader of the nation,” the high priest was a figure of both religious and political renown with the power to decide all religious matters, to enforce God’s law, and even to make arrests, though only in the vicinity of the Temple. If the Romans wanted to control the Jews, they had to control the Temple. And if they wanted to control the Temple, they had to control the high priest, which is why, soon after taking control over Judea, Rome took upon itself the responsibility of appointing and deposing (either directly or indirectly) the high priest, essentially transforming him into a Roman employee. Rome even kept custody of the high priest’s sacred garments, handing them out only on the sacred festivals and feast days and confiscating them immediately after the ceremonies were complete.

Still, the Jews were better off than some other Roman subjects. For the most part, the Romans humored the Jewish cult, allowing the rituals and sacrifices to be conducted without interference. The Jews were even excused from the direct worship of the emperor, which Rome imposed upon nearly every other religious community under its dominion. All that Rome asked of Jerusalem was a twice-daily sacrifice of one bull and two lambs on behalf of the emperor and for his good health. Continue making the sacrifice, keep up with the taxes and tribute, follow the provincial laws, and Rome was happy to leave you, your god, and your temple alone.

The Romans were, after all, fairly proficient in the religious beliefs and practices of subject peoples. Most of the lands they conquered were allowed to maintain their temples unmolested. Rival gods, far from being vanquished or destroyed, were often assimilated into the Roman cult (that is how, for example, the Canaanite god Baal became associated with the Roman god Saturn). In some cases, under a practice called evocatio, the Romans would take possession of an enemy’s temple—and therefore its god, for the two were inextricable in the ancient world—and transfer it to Rome, where it would be showered with riches and lavish sacrifices. Such displays were meant to send a clear signal that the hostilities were directed not toward the enemy’s god but toward its fighters; the god would continue to be honored and worshipped in Rome if only his devotees would lay down their arms and allow themselves to be absorbed into the empire.

As generally tolerant as the Romans may have been when it came to foreign cults, they were even more lenient toward the Jews and their fealty to their One God—what Cicero decried as the “barbarian superstitions” of Jewish monotheism. The Romans may not have understood the Jewish cult, with its strange observances and its overwhelming obsession with ritual purity—“The Jews regard as profane all that we hold sacred,” Tacitus wrote, “while they permit all that we abhor”—but they nevertheless tolerated it.

What most puzzled Rome about the Jews was not their unfamiliar rites or their strict devotion to their laws, but rather what the Romans considered to be their unfathomable superiority complex. The notion that an insignificant Semitic tribe residing in a distant corner of the mighty Roman Empire demanded, and indeed received, special treatment from the emperor was, for many Romans, simply incomprehensible. How dare they consider their god to be the sole god in the universe? How dare they keep themselves separate from all other nations? Who do these backward and superstitious tribesmen think they are? The Stoic philosopher Seneca was not alone among the Roman elite in wondering how it had possibly come to pass in Jerusalem that “the vanquished have given laws to the victors.”

For the Jews, however, this sense of exceptionalism was not a matter of arrogance or pride. It was a direct commandment from a jealous God who tolerated no foreign presence in the land he had set aside for his chosen people. That is why, when the Jews first came to this land a thousand years earlier, God had decreed that they massacre every man, woman, and child they encountered, that they slaughter every ox, goat, and sheep they came across, that they burn every farm, every field, every crop, every living thing without exception so as to ensure that the land would belong solely to those who worshipped this one God and no other.

“As for the towns of these people that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance,” God told the Israelites, “you must not let anything that breathes remain alive. You shall annihilate them all—the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—just as the Lord your God has commanded” (Deuteronomy 20:17–­18).

It was, the Bible claims, only after the Jewish armies had “utterly destroyed all that breathed” in the cities of Libnah and Lachish and Eglon and Hebron and Debir, in the hill country and in the Negeb, in the lowlands and in the slopes—only after every single previous inhabitant of this land was eradicated, “as the Lord God of Israel had commanded” (Joshua 10: 28–­42)—that the Jews were allowed to settle here.

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Doug
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Some interesting historical insights, but not convincing
Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2018
In fairness, I’m a Christian, so it’s unlikely that I’d love this book. I was interested in seeing if he had any insight into Jesus the historical person (archaeology, etc). As the book turned toward a theme of discrediting Jesus as the Son of God, I wasn’t particularly... See more
In fairness, I’m a Christian, so it’s unlikely that I’d love this book. I was interested in seeing if he had any insight into Jesus the historical person (archaeology, etc). As the book turned toward a theme of discrediting Jesus as the Son of God, I wasn’t particularly pleased. However, there are probably a lot of non-Christians who have a point of view similar to the author’s, so it would prove instructive to continue reading.

My main issue is that I just didn’t find his arguments convincing. How to explain the radical change in behavior of the apostles from chickens to courageous preachers of the gospel? How to explain the conversion of Saul of Tarsus into Paul, a committed devotee of Jesus? How to explain why none of these people recanted under threat of death and torture. Surely the stories of a apostle recanting would have been maintained somewhere?! Without undercutting the motivations of these people to believe in a risen Jesus reinterpreting the other events that occurred feels incomplete and unconvincing.
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B. Gardocki
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very good book on the historical Jesus
Reviewed in the United States on March 26, 2018
The first thing that all potential readers must know is this is a book about the historical Jesus, not Jesus Christ. If you are a fundamentalist Christian, there are many theories this author puts out, that you will find disturbing. If you want to be challenged on who the... See more
The first thing that all potential readers must know is this is a book about the historical Jesus, not Jesus Christ. If you are a fundamentalist Christian, there are many theories this author puts out, that you will find disturbing. If you want to be challenged on who the historical Jesus is, I highly recommend this book. If you believe the bible is the literal word of God, then I suggest you don''t read this book.

To tell his story, the author not only uses the gospels, but also other historical documents. He also gives an excellent historical lesson on being a Jew at this time period. He talks about how the Jewish religion was practiced back then, and how the priests and Pharisees acted back then. He talks about how it was to be under Roman occupation, and how the Roman empire put down many different Jewish uprising before and after Jesus. I found this part of the book fascinating.

Just an FYI, I was born a Catholic and went through 12 years of Catholic school. Thus I know my bible pretty well. While I still believe Jesus is God, I am very disillusioned with established religion. Many aspects of Jesus''s life I was taught in Catholic school are brought into question by Mr. Aslan. For example, where Jesus was born, and who the father of Jesus was. The author does an excellent job of explaining his positions, and for the most part I agreed with him.

I had a major problem with this book right when he was talking about the crucifixion. He makes great arguments, but when his arguments do not fit into his narrative, he ignores his own arguments. He argues that Jesus was a Jewish Zealot. That he was completely against the Roman rule, and was disillusioned with the Pharisees and Scribes. That while the Pharisees and Scribes were not happy with Jesus''s teaching, the only one that could crucify him was the Romans. That Pilate sent "thousands upon thousands to the cross with a simple scratch of his reed pen". That Jesus''s crime was that he was a threat to the Roman peace, as his crime stated, he was the "king of the Jews". That crucifixion was not only used to kill someone in a very painful way, but "to serve as a deterrent to others who might defy the state". "Because the entire point of the crucifixion was to humiliate the victim and frighten the witnesses, the corpse would be left where it hung to be eaten by dogs and picked clean by the birds or prey." That Pilate did not care about Jewish opinion, that he will do what he wanted to do. All of these points I agree with the author.

But here is where the author ignores all of his facts. If Jesus had thousands of followers, and was crucified for being a threat the Roman rule, why was he not left on the cross? Wouldn''t the Roman want to send a message to Jesus thousand of followers. If Jesus was left on the cross, and he was not buried, he could not have rose in three days. Mr. Aslan makes a strong argument that this what should have happened to Jesus, but he does not address why the Roman allowed Jesus to be buried.

The other issue I have with the book is when he was talking about Saint Stephen. The author points Saint Stephen did not know Jesus, and never met Jesus. He did not hear about Jesus until after his crucifixion. That Saint Stephen became a follower of Jesus, because his disciples was he rose from the dead. This makes no sense to me. If someone told me someone rose from the dead, I would think the person was crazy. And then to believe that a crucified person was the messiah. The Catholic Church and now Mr. Aslan have never gave me a good reason why people who never met Jesus would think he is the messiah.

On the whole is was a really good book. The author challenged many of my beliefs. But in the end, the author had to explain to me how a poor Jew, became a God to millions of people. Why would a gentile, become a Christian in the first century AD? The Jewish religion was a small religion at the time. Why would they believe this Zealot Jew was God, instead of the Roman Gods, who were so powerful, they helped conquer most of the known world? It makes no sense that the Christian religion grew to the size it is today, but it did. And at least for me, it is because Jesus is God.
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R. Reed
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A very readable version of a Schweitzerian Jesus
Reviewed in the United States on February 20, 2015
Reza Aslan book is a readable defense of the Schweitzerian theory of Jesus (so called because it was popularized by Albert Schweitzer in his "Quest for the Historical Jesus"). Seeing ancient Palestine as a hot bed of revolutionary activity, he finds the most... See more
Reza Aslan book is a readable defense of the Schweitzerian theory of Jesus (so called because it was popularized by Albert Schweitzer in his "Quest for the Historical Jesus"). Seeing ancient Palestine as a hot bed of revolutionary activity, he finds the most plausible explanation of the historical Jesus as one which sees Jesus as revolutionary who was ultimately crucified for his anti-roman views. The position is fairly common in Biblical Studies and a form of this argument is held by people like Bart Ehrman, N.T. Wright, John Meier, E.P. Sanders and many others. Aslan''s version of it plays up the political aspect of it more than some others, but all agree that Jesus is best understood as an apocalyptic prophet. Aslan makes the argument in fairly traditional ways, beginning with the idea that crucifixion is a Roman punishment for treason and building the argument on the twin pillars of Jesus as a original follower of John the Baptist (who is also understood as an apocalyptic preacher) and the cleansing of the temple (understood as a prophetic act signifying the coming apocalypse). These two events are considered firmly historically established and when connected with the crucifixion draws a picture of Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet. I would again note that there is actually nothing particularly new is what Aslan does here. His emphasis on the political ramifications of apocalypticism is a important gloss, but the crux of the argument is found in many other scholars'' work. Additionally, there is nothing particularly "Muslim" about Aslan''s reading, even if he is himself a muslim. Many Christian and non-Christian scholars read the texts the same way.

The real problem with Aslan''s work (and this holds true I believe for other scholars who are in the Schweitzerian tradition), is a lack of clear method. Aslan challenges this or that saying or text as being late creations and thus not relevant to the historical Jesus, but methodologically he is all over the map. Occasionally he uses multiple attestation to support the authenticity of passage, but he is certainly willing to use a singly attested passage if it suits his image of Jesus. Occasionally likewise he will use dissimilarity, but this method he also will abandon as necessary. Essentially, the problem in dealing with the sayings tradition is that you can''t know the answer before you work with it. But those in the Schweitzerian tradition have discovered the answer through those three "Certain facts" and then they evaluate the sayings tradition in light of that. This makes for a haphazard and problematic method which cannot be replicated. But of course, by not starting with the sayings tradition first and applying a method to it (as say Dominic Crossan does) you ultimately sort the sayings tradition subjectively based on what fits your image and what does not. This is what Aslan ends up with, but again he is not alone among Biblical Scholars in this regard.

The reader might ask if I have such strong criticisms of Aslan, why I rated it so highly. The answer lies in its readability and its presentation of the history starting around 300 years before Christ. I used this book in my "Life and Teachings of Jesus" class at a public university, and students were impressed with Aslan''s accessibility and information. While I think in the end the book has methodological issues which is rampant among all scholars in the Schweitzerian tradition, much of its history is informative and engaging. Additionally, I think the emphasis on the political ramifications of Jesus is something that is important to consider and often gets lost in those with a more "cynic-like" Jesus. For those reasons I think this book should be read though I would suggest it be read in dialog with John Dominic Crossan''s "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography" for a different and more methodologically sound approach to the Historical Jesus.
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Spud's PlaceTop Contributor: Pets
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
After reading this I ripped everything written by Paul out of my New Testament! Wonderfully freeing!
Reviewed in the United States on August 24, 2019
The author off Zealot, a highly regarded religious scholar and linguist (fluent in original languages used when the texts were written), has peeled away the myths and presented the real, dynamic and truly brave teachings of Jesus and his disciples, and their faithful work.... See more
The author off Zealot, a highly regarded religious scholar and linguist (fluent in original languages used when the texts were written), has peeled away the myths and presented the real, dynamic and truly brave teachings of Jesus and his disciples, and their faithful work. The author places them squarely in their natural surroundings and the social and religious practices of the times, which is quite enlightening. It has been glossed over in so much of Christian teaching.
I had ceased to believe that Jesus had been a real person. This book brings understanding of what drove Jesus in his time and locus.
Paul was not really a disciple of Jesus, but used Jesus, and the author shows us why Paul has always seemed so unloving and unforgiving. I personally don''t believe Paul''s conversion was heartfelt.
Paul spent a lot of energy trying to co-opt the original disciples, who stayed in the area of Jerusalem and did not like Paul''s continual contentiousness. He was the worst kind of "hanger-on" in an attempt to gain influence.
So Paul, after failed attempts to dislodge Peter, went off and founded the church in educated, sophisticated Rome, where he wanted no part of women in the church except as servants of men, thus giving us most of the religious confusion, pain and suffering of the past 20 centuries. "Women are saved through childbearing..." Jesus made no such special condition for the salvation of Women!
But really, you should read this and make your own educated conclusions. In my desire to understand what was not making sense to me as a Christian (how could more than half of God''s people not be as perfect as men?), I read the bible in three translations, with two different full 5 lb Concordences (one translated Hebrew to English) praying for illumination and the faith to believe.
I''m ripping the epistle and letters of Paul out of my Bible! He was, in my opinion, the serpent at the heel of Christianity. It now makes a lot more sense, is a truly beautiful message, without his jealousy and hubris.
I recommend "Zealot" to any who still try to make sense of the violent trajectory of a religion that should have been based solely on Love. It will make you angry, and it will make you study, you will argue with the author, you will mourn for the lost opportunities our faith should have provided, and it will bring you joy and a new enthusiasm for our true and original "Teacher."
But if you don''t want your "comfort zone" or sense of self-righteousness disturbed....don''t read this scholars book.
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Hawkeye
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Zealot, A Superb Effort!
Reviewed in the United States on August 28, 2018
This very well written short book is a joy to read. The author''s literary talent impacts in a way to foster understanding, couples with outstanding research on this confusing and controversial subject. From my ten year quest researching to understand the historical “Jesus... See more
This very well written short book is a joy to read. The author''s literary talent impacts in a way to foster understanding, couples with outstanding research on this confusing and controversial subject. From my ten year quest researching to understand the historical “Jesus The Nazarene” Reza Aslan has come the closest of any author in revealing the true portrait of today''s Christian worship even as he continues to bring down that image! This book was difficult to put down once started.

There are three parts to this work. The first part Aslan accurately describes the Palestine landscape, apocalyptic fervor, and the occupants of this region from the Second Temple Period to the Diaspora of the early second century. Using a synthesis of historical writings and analysis of the Q Source, The New Testament, and Gnostic Gospels Aslan arrives at reasonable conclusions about concepts challenging current thinking.

Part two discusses, challenges, and interprets the gospels and the theological reflections in the setting of the 1st Century which is very effective. Chapter 11 is unique in that it attempts to explain the phrase Jesus uses “Son of Man” which has been an enigma to many in the last 2 millennia. Then Chapter 12 reviews the story of Stephen and Saul which leads to the transformation of a different version of the real life of Jesus in which he becomes, The Christ.

Part Three carries this dogma a step further with the conversion of the Pharisee, Saul, into Paul and the hijacking of the Jesus story from zealot/messiah to, Son of God. Then the author concedes Jesus original purpose was converted by Paul at the resistance and open derision of James (Jesus brother) and the Jerusalem Community into his conceived religion. Two thousand years later, the Christ of Paul''s creation has utterly subsumed the Jesus historiography.

I do not know how this book appeared on my “wish list” but it renders the reader with much understanding of the Holy Land history and of the 1st Century occupants. It brings forth analysis of writings of the period that are not mainstream in Christian Theology. Dr. Alsan provides a portrait of Jesus, the man, the person, and the actual world he lived in and reacted to. If you are an Orthodox Christian, you will have much difficulty with the material in this book. However, this is a must read, if you''re seeking a balanced truth. Personally, I would like to thank the author for his 20 year quest in a job well done.
27 people found this helpful
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kellyp
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Don’t Buy muslim theology
Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2020
Bought the book knowing it wasn’t written by Christian but I thought it might have some great historical facts about Jesus the man (as Reza would put it) he is definitely a typical Muslim theologist who believes Jesus was a great man but not worthy in believing that he is... See more
Bought the book knowing it wasn’t written by Christian but I thought it might have some great historical facts about Jesus the man (as Reza would put it) he is definitely a typical Muslim theologist who believes Jesus was a great man but not worthy in believing that he is the savior. Make no mistake about it this is not for Christians and I was very disappointed in the “fact” according to Reza! He notes at the end of the book that Jesus the “man” is worthy of believing in. Its because Muslims find Jesus the man incredible teacher but they do not believe that he’s the savior. One day they will find out and hopefully it’s not too late for them! The only thing good that I got out of this book is some questions for myself so to think about an answer. But I already knew that Jesus the Nazareth and Jesus the man was an awesome teacher and a good person. He also doesn’t take the Bible as literal words from God but points out differences in each book of The Bible to be false and contradicting. He obviously didn’t do his research on the authors of the books. Watch some of his videos interviews on Fox Network it was great insight on the kind of person he really is. My suggestion before buying this book is to do a little research on the author and watch some of his videos or preferably don’t even waste your time on buying it...I’m returning! He’s right about one thing it does infuriate Christian🎣 when you disgrace their inheritance and unfortunately bring out the worst in us. This does not put a favorable light on Christians . Remember as Christians we don’t need to fight for Jesus he can do it on his own! #neverforget
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Edyta Brzeczkowska
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent new take on the life of Jesus as a man
Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2019
I was raised Catholic. We watched the movies about Jesus, his teachings, and his death. No one questioned anything. Faith is personal. What I loved about the book was exactly that. Jesus as a man and Christ as we were taught to believe him to be. I have a lot of issues... See more
I was raised Catholic. We watched the movies about Jesus, his teachings, and his death. No one questioned anything. Faith is personal. What I loved about the book was exactly that. Jesus as a man and Christ as we were taught to believe him to be. I have a lot of issues with people blindly believing in the catholic church and/or any other religion. I read the books by Elaine Pagels, who I respect greatly, and her books taught me a lot, and many others writing about religion. I found it extremely informative the way Mr. Aslan described the time before, during, and after Jesus''s death. What I found profound was the moment when he wrote about the Resurrection. To me, it was the moment when I had to decide, and I believe most of us, who reason, but also believe. I forgot the name of the scientist who wrote, it was hard for him to believe, and yet each day, he was still praying. We believe because we want to believe we are not alone, that there is a forgiving God who will teach and embrace us in the moments of joy and despair. I have never really seen the Resurrection in that way, as a moment when I would make a decision. I would recommend this book.
36 people found this helpful
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SAUL GOLDSTEIN
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book about Jesus’s time (unbiasedly written by a Muslim) ...
Reviewed in the United States on August 28, 2018
Great book about Jesus’s time (unbiasedly written by a Muslim) - a book with no Christian agenda - it puts you in Israel during years that Jesus preached, to better understand who he was, who he thought he was, why some Jews accepted him as Messiah and others didn’t. Great... See more
Great book about Jesus’s time (unbiasedly written by a Muslim) - a book with no Christian agenda - it puts you in Israel during years that Jesus preached, to better understand who he was, who he thought he was, why some Jews accepted him as Messiah and others didn’t. Great history lesson. Actually, made my belief in Judaism stronger. I now understand much clearer what happened back then - and why - and very impressed how his message was cleverly marketed (in later years) to the masses in a manner Jesus himself would find difficult to grasp(!)
23 people found this helpful
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Mic Le Critique
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 5, 2014
Reza Aslan along with other writers attempting to trace the development of Jesus, the inspiration for Christianity, admits that the only sources of academic research on the man is the Bible along with a brief mention by the Roman biographer Flavius Josephus. Rather than...See more
Reza Aslan along with other writers attempting to trace the development of Jesus, the inspiration for Christianity, admits that the only sources of academic research on the man is the Bible along with a brief mention by the Roman biographer Flavius Josephus. Rather than speculate on the veracity of the accepted texts Aslan overlays these with known historical and accepted facts covering the period of his birth and death. We learn that Jesus was born in Nazareth, a small poor working class village in Galilee, Judea. He had a number of brothers and sisters who, apart from his younger brother James, are not featured in his life apart from the fact. He was uneducated and therefore could neither read and had only a basic Aramaic vocabulary. There is nothing about his early development that can be verified in the Bible or elsewhere, however when old enough he works in Sepphoris, a nearby town, as a labourer. He is baptised by John the Baptist and joins his sect and, in one of the few examples in the book of speculation, Aslan surmises that John, with his apostles, grooms Jesus the main tenants of preaching. When John is arrested by the Romans and executed Jesus picks up the mantle and begins a three year journey of healing, performing miracles and preaching before he too is appended by the Romans and executed. The biblical details cannot be supported by reference and therefore the Bible is a work of faith rather than fact. Aslan does however, using his technique of overlaying academic historical research onto the events recorded in the Bible, draws attention to some firm conclusions. Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. Jesus was subservient to John the Baptist and not the converse. Performing ‘miracles’, healing and magic were common at that time in Judea by other itinerant ‘Messiahs’ and were not exclusive to Jesus. His popularity grew in Galilee by ‘healing’ for no fee as opposed to other who did and the fact he was a Galilean local. Jesus was a committed Jew and defender of the Torah. Using allegory his preaching was primarily against the Roman occupiers and the corrupt Jewish Temple hierarchy. He was arrested in Jerusalem by the Romans, tried by the Temple hierarchy, handed over the Roman authorities and crucified. There is no historical or archaeological evidence to support the virgin birth, miracles, apparitions, resurrection or other events described in the Bible. The book therefore leaves it to the reader to decide whether to accept the man known as Jesus of Nazareth or the one that became Jesus Christ.
28 people found this helpful
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martibobs
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I was amazed to discover that Jesus had a YOUNGER brother
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 16, 2015
This is a fascinating book. It begins with a broad sweep of the time in which Jesus lived - the many Messiahs who had their day, and were executed, and the turbulent relationship between the priests, the people and the Romans. When you have this context, you can appreciate...See more
This is a fascinating book. It begins with a broad sweep of the time in which Jesus lived - the many Messiahs who had their day, and were executed, and the turbulent relationship between the priests, the people and the Romans. When you have this context, you can appreciate the story that can be told about the historical Jesus. He glosses over the question of the resurrection, but his analysis of the way Paul re-interpreted the Christian message is very illuminating. I was amazed to discover that Jesus had a YOUNGER brother, who was in fact very influential in the early church - he is no secret: he appears in the gospels, but it''s difficult to see how the ''blessed Mary ever a virgin'' myth can survive this knowledge, which is freely available to anyone who has read the New Testament.
2 people found this helpful
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Wayne Cork
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This is not an easy subject, the author recognises such and the huge ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 13, 2015
In the preface of this book the author states his case clearly. This is not a Christian history of Jesus, but an attempt to place the man in the times he lived in. The book gives a sense of place and context of the times of Jesus which adds leaders to what we already...See more
In the preface of this book the author states his case clearly. This is not a Christian history of Jesus, but an attempt to place the man in the times he lived in. The book gives a sense of place and context of the times of Jesus which adds leaders to what we already understand of the man. The gospels are used as source material and then compared to the historical reality of the time which makes for an effective method throughout. This is not an easy subject, the author recognises such and the huge gaps in historical data and knowledge of the time, however the piece trips along at a great pace, chapter by chapter. In the end while offering little new about the life lived by Jesus it offers and new prism through which to view that life and as the author says there are few more interesting men in history to re-examine than the life of Jesus.
10 people found this helpful
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Mina Firenze
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A very compelling read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 24, 2019
I have always been interested in understanding the true story of the origins of Christianity and I believe the way to do this is to start by studying the historical Jesus without the trappings of theology and dogma. Reza''s book offers an alternative perspective on the life...See more
I have always been interested in understanding the true story of the origins of Christianity and I believe the way to do this is to start by studying the historical Jesus without the trappings of theology and dogma. Reza''s book offers an alternative perspective on the life of Jesus with the fundamental premise that Jesus was a Jew and everything he said and did must be understood in this context. I think this is a fact that many Christians today forget. I found the book very easy to read with the author making very compelling arguments for some of the hypotheses he puts forward. Not everyone will agree with some of the ideas in the book, that is the nature of scholarship and this was a subject very well researched. I believe anyone with an open mind will read this and find it a compelling read.
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HEBEGB
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I recommend this book to anyone wanting a few more answers ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 16, 2014
ZEALOT.........Heavy going, which you would expect with anything to do with Judaism. I was only interested in the Roman military perspective and got what I could out of the book. It has not converted me to believing in life after death but it has put a human being in place...See more
ZEALOT.........Heavy going, which you would expect with anything to do with Judaism. I was only interested in the Roman military perspective and got what I could out of the book. It has not converted me to believing in life after death but it has put a human being in place of the plaster figure on the cross. The Jesus in this book was just one of dozens of Holy men and political activists against the Roman occupation of the Holy Land and had he not died on the cross he would have died resisting the occupation and the puppet Jewish hierarchy that kowtowed to it. I recommend this book to anyone wanting a few more answers to what went on at that time in history than a western bible can offer them but be prepared to find out that the man was just that [a man] and he had only one race of people at heart.
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Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

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Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale

Zealot: The Life and online sale Times new arrival of Jesus of Nazareth outlet online sale