Zealot: The Life and Times of 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 ...more
The answer is because of Paul the Apostle.
It took a prominent Roman who converted to the faith and started preaching it outside of Judea to fellow Rom…more
The answer is because of Paul the Apostle.
It took a prominent Roman who converted to the faith and started preaching it outside of Judea to fellow Romans and other Jews. On the list of the most important christian figures the Catholic church itself rates Paul the Apostle first! He was instrumental in establishing a foothold of the new faith in the Empire. There it competed with a lot of "new" Eastern religions that promised everlasting afterlife and eternal punishment for wrongdoers such as Mithraism being the most popular at the time.
Nero's prosecutions actually helped a lot with promoting the Christian faith. He was a universally hated figure, becoming even more notorious after the The Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD. It was widely believed by the populace that he caused that fire.
To shift the blame from himself he accused the Christians and began a campaign of bloody prosecutions which ended up endearing the young religion and it's courageous adherents to the populace.
The last person to cement Christianity's standing in Europe was Constantine the Great who lifted the faith up and decriminalized it. Afterward with one exception all future Emperors and their family were Christian. That meant that if you wanted to move up in the vast Imperial bureaucracy it was very beneficial to be Christian. It was very quickly afterward in the span of a century that Christianity became the dominant religion and the old faiths were in turn criminalized. (less)
Paul had the last laugh because the reality of the “historical Jesus” was that of a zealot who opposed both Roman rule and the Temple, and preached an impending arrival of a new Kingdom on Earth that he would rule, overthrowing the established order and restoring Judea to Jewish hegemony. This was the Jewish expectation of anybody claiming to be the Messiah.
Once the Romans razed Judea and destroyed the Temple, which occurred before some of the canonised Gospels were written, this view of Jesus became highly inconvenient. It was better for the early Christians if Jesus could be painted as somebody who was not a political opponent of Rome; to do otherwise was to invite persecution. So the Jesus message evolved into a Kingdom not of this world, and a man who did not preach violence or Jewish exclusivity, and did not oppose Rome. The evolution of Jesus’ image can be clearly traced chronologically; the later the Gospel, the more the Jews tend to be blamed for Jesus’ execution, for example. Aslan shows that these later images were post facto Pauline inventions, and not at all what Jesus’ own words indicate.(less)
"Um, yes that's me, and you are?"
"Stephanie, nice to meet you."
"How did you know my name?" Said Jesus "And what the devil is that contraption you're sitting on?"
"This is a time machine, a lawn mower/laptop, freak lightning strike.....and ta da! Time machine. A friend of mine let me borrow it so that I could come to your time and talk with you. See, I read this book about you and I decided to stop by here because there's some stuff we need to get straig ...more
I'm just done with Part I of this book, which is a breathless roller-coaster of a narrative that seems to meld the painfully bureaucratic themes of "The Wire" with the ferocity of "Game of Thrones" to describe the world that was Jerusalem under Roman occupation before, during and after the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
The author's attempt here, unlike Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, is not to ridicule the contradictions in the New Testament, but to rather present as historic ...more
Very early in the book, Aslan clearly lays out his thesis: Jesus was “a zealous revolutionary swept up, as all Jews of the era were, in the religious and political turmoil of first-century Palestine—[he] bears little resembla ...more
The textual religions of The Book - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - have a common problem. No matter how hard they try, they can’t stop their adherents from interpreting their foundational texts, often in diverse and incompatible ways. Among the interpretations are those which claim to be ‘fundamental’, that is not just logically essential to a coherent theology, but also historically the most primitive and therefore the most original and, presumably, the most authentic.
The entire time I'm reading Zealot, I'm seeing this:
So, I really thought this was interesting, especially the all of the cool history-ish stuff that happened before, during, and after Jesus' birth and death.
Occasionally the author comes off like someone who's pissed that once upon a time they got punked by this religion, so not everything comes across as super-duper scholarly. Some of it sounds a bit Ah-hah! See how stupid it is to take something on faith? So neener-neener r ...more
In The Shadow Of The Cross: Jesus, before The Christ
Once Upon a Time, there was a Great Empire. At its very edges, hardly noticed, was a small region. A minor kingdom in fact. A Theocracy of sorts, now. The Empire was not too concerned about them, but they knew in their hearts that they were the Chosen People. Their religious books and prophesies told them as much. They believed fervently that one day a savior will come and return the kingdom of god and ...more
Some fellow reader friends recommended me the book and also I noticed the author in a documentary series "Secrets of the Bible" on History Channel since he was one of the people making comments there and identifying him as the writer of this very book. So, I thought that it was destined to read it at some point. Happily I was able to do it sooner that I thought.
This is a research book that Reza Aslan, the author, made a 20-years' investigation about all the possible sources about ...more
The book begins with a touching author's note, which tells how he first became interested in Jesus. It happened when Aslan was attending an evangelical summer camp in California:
"For a kid raised in a m ...more
― Reza Aslan, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Let me just throw in here now that Fox skeptics need not worry, while this book was written by a Muslim, it wasn't written by that damn lion from Narnia.
The books good points: com ...more
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth is a book by Iranian-American writer and scholar Reza Aslan. It is a historical account of the life of Jesus and analyzes the various religious perspectives on Jesus as well as the creation of Christianity. 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 revolutionar ...more
I think of this as exegesis for the non-religious person who nevertheless finds the complex history of Christianity–and monotheism generally—a fascinating area of inquiry. I particularly like how scholars of religion pick the historical bits out of the ...more
Jesus of Nazareth is someone I find very interesting. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, I care less about. Through no fault of his, really; the historical figure behind the religious curtain just happens to be more complex and challenging to study and think about, and my brain is simply wired to like that better. Aslan's b ...more
This was a fascinating book that was well-researched but the layout was very frustrating to me. The notes were all at the end (in the ebook- and I wish that they were footnoted throughout the book to give greater clarity and breadth as I was reading).
The other great difficulty I had was most of this book was conjecture but often not labeled as such. (or did not remind reader of this in a more measured and consistent way). You only understand this fully when y ...more
As a believer in Christianity, I hold the words of the Bible in high regard, believing scripture to be true. “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ES ...more
Q: As a historian and scholar, as you read all this, how can you still believe any of these religions?
A: I don't believe in a religion, I believe in God. The only reason that I call myself a Muslim is because the symbols and metaphors that Islam uses to talk about God are ones that I like, the ones that make sense to me. It's no
Once a month for three months (one each for Parts I, II and II) I led a discussion group on it, so I gave it a close read. It turned out that what that entailed was figuring out and recording what Aslan was saying in each chapter, no easy task. I set myself the task of recording what he was saying and only then noting concerns, confusions, questions, errors, implications, and so for ...more
- Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.
- Nazareth was a small village but he had to often travel to the big metropolis close by, so he saw the rich/poor gap.
- Jesus was a radical Jewish nationalist, who opposed the Roman occupation of his homeland. He also hated his fellow Jews who were in higher positions who were basically puppets of the Romans and made money off of it.
- Nobody in history disputes the miracles done by Jes ...more
Not that it changed anything for my spiritual life as a catholic, but the point is, this is very important information to have stored in your head and to connect with everything else you know about Christianity.
Aslan sometimes sounds like a lawyer trying to make his case, but he is also honest enough and doesn't come across as someone with a sca ...more
After having read the book, I can't disagree with his conclusions. Not everything Aslan proposes rings true or is backed with solid evidence. But hey, we're talking about a sketchy 2000 year old history here! No matter where you stand on the topic, a lot of so-called "facts" about Jesus are clearly tenuous at best. However, ...more
1) It is very approachable. Mr. Aslan may be a scholar -- and he is a very good one! -- but he is also a novelist at heart. In the first part of his book he takes information from many disparate sources and introduces us to the reality of what life was like in Palestine i ...more
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|opinions of Reza Aslan's Zealot||21||221||Apr 17, 2016 01:25PM|
|Austin Seminary B...: March Book of the Month: "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" by Reza Aslan||23||29||Apr 03, 2015 02:33PM|
|NoTruth to Support Argument||20||374||Jul 02, 2014 04:43PM|
Dr. Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is author most recently of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
He is the founder of AslanMedia.com, an online journal for news and entertainment about the Middle East and the world, and co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of BoomGen Studios, the premier entertainment brand for creative content from and abou...more
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Two thousand years later, the Christ of Paul’s creation has utterly subsumed the Jesus of history. The memory of the revolutionary zealot who walked across Galilee gathering an army of disciples with the goal of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth, the magnetic preacher who defied the authority of the Temple priesthood in Jerusalem, the radical Jewish nationalist who challenged the Roman occupation and lost, has been almost completely lost to history.”