Sandy Nawrot's Reviews > Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

Zealot by Reza Aslan
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's review
Feb 06, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: audio

While I am by far not a scholar of the Bible or Christianity, I am a faithful Catholic who regularly prays and attends church, and whose kids attend Catholic school. I know my way around the gospels and Jesus's story. This book blasted on to the scene with some controversy, not only because this religious scholar debunks many of the beliefs we hold sacred, but also because he was a Muslim. (It all came to a head in a pathetic Fox interview where the author was lambasted JUST BECAUSE he was Muslim.) However, I find books like this fascinating. Challenge my mind! Give me something new to ponder! I am open-minded enough to listen. I must admit, I spent most of this audio with my eyes bugging out. Many times, I attempted to explain various facts to my husband, but he would have none of it. It was too much for him to accept. This seemed to be the way many people felt about the book.

Aslan certainly approaches the subject of historical Jesus versus the Christ Jesus with respect. He WAS, after all, once a Christian. He lays out the historical facts as he has studied, as well as the translations of languages, and the beliefs and customs of that time, and aligns them up against the Bible. And what he finds is interesting, but confirms to a greater extent what I'd always suspected. He doesn't argue that Jesus existed, nor does he argue that he led a influential religious movement and was crucified for being a threat to the Roman rule. What he does argue is the validity of all the details surrounding Jesus...the exact location of his birth, the nature of his conception and his paternity (OMG! This about caused me to run off the road), his temperament as a peace-maker, the events of his crucifixion, and the changes made to the story of Jesus long after he had died and risen again. Because the New Testament was written long after Jesus walked on earth, primarily by people who had never even met him, Aslan questions the motivations behind it all. Some of it makes walking-around sense.

It is a tad bit overwhelming. I have no idea which of Aslan's hypotheses are true or not, but he seems to know what he is talking about. He writes in a very non-pretentious and passionate voice, and his enthusiasm is infectious. The book is bursting at the seams with facts, almost to the point that I feel maybe audio wasn't necessarily the best way to absorb it all. Aslan narrates the book himself, and he does a great job. He is smooth and seems to almost be talking casually to the listener.

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Reading Progress

February 6, 2014 – Started Reading
February 6, 2014 – Shelved
February 6, 2014 – Shelved as: audio
February 12, 2014 – Finished Reading

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