Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan [updated Sept 12, 2014]


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.

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. Aslan explores the reasons why 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 of Nazareth’s life and mission. The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written biography with the pulse of a fast-paced novel: a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time, and the birth of a religion.

Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American writer.

Dr. Reza Aslan is an internationally acclaimed writer, a scholar of religions, Professor at the University of California, Riverside, and a contributing editor for The Daily Beast.

His books include No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (published 2005) and How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization and the End of the War on Terror (published 2009).

Click here to browse inside.

Reza Aslan To Fox News Anchor: “I Wrote ‘Zealot’ Because I Am An Expert”


Published on Jul 28, 2013

“You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” Fox News’ Lauren Green demanded of religious scholar Reza Aslan, author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” on Friday.

Aslan responded, “Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”

The answer did not seem to satisfy Green, so Aslan added, “Because it’s my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That’s what I do for a living, actually.”

Reza Aslan Tells Piers Morgan He Was ‘Embarrassed’ During Painfully Awkward Fox Interview..


Published on Jul 29, 2013

–Reza Aslan Tells Piers Morgan He Was ‘Embarrassed’ During Painfully Awkward Fox Interview…

-Muslim scholar Reza Aslan joined Piers Morgan tonight to react to his Fox News online interview that went viral over the weekend. Aslan said he had an idea of what was coming, but remarked that he was “kind of embarrassed” as he sat there listening to questions about why a Muslim would have any standing to write a book about Jesus.

Aslan said he normally finds it “distasteful” for academics to talk at length about their biographies, but found it necessary to patiently repeat to Lauren Green call into question his background and his faith when questioning him about his book Zealot, focusing on the life of Jesus Christ.

He talked to Morgan about why he wrote the book and his personal religious journey, admitting that he feels bad for Green, since he understood where she was coming from. He assured that he has nothing against Christianity, and considers “Jesus the man” to be a fascinating character.

Morgan concluded the interview by teling Aslan he “should thank Fox News” for really giving a boost to his book sales.

‘Zealot’ Author Reza Aslan on Jesus of History Versus Jesus of Faith

Religious scholar Reza Aslan talks about his new book “Zealot,” which uncovers the life of Jesus of Nazareth as a historical figure. Aslan spoke with PBS NewsHour correspondent Ray Suarez. In their conversation, Aslan touches on the likelihood that Jesus, a poor Jewish woodworker, was illiterate.

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