Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic figures by examining Jesus within the context of the times in which he lived: the age of zealotry, an era awash in apocalyptic fervour.
Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against historical sources, ?Aslan describes a complex figure: a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity secret; and the seditious ‘King of the Jews’, whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his lifetime. Aslan explores why the early Church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary, and grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself.
Zealot provides a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told. The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written biography with the pulse of a fast-paced novel, and a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time and the birth of a religion.
Dr. Reza Aslan’s bachelor’s degree is in religious studies, with an emphasis on scripture and traditions (which at Santa Clara University means the New Testament). His minor was in biblical Greek. He has a master of theological studies degree from Harvard University, in world religions, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the sociology of religions. UCSB’s doctoral program is an interdisciplinary one that draws from religion, history, philosophy, and sociology, among other fields. Aslan’s doctorate in the sociology of religions encompasses expertise in the history of religion. Reza also has a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa.
Dr. Aslan is currently associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, and a cooperative faculty member in the department of religion, and he teaches in both disciplines. He was previously Wallerstein Distinguished Visiting Professor of religion at Drew University, where he taught from 2012 to 2013, and assistant visiting professor of religion at the University of Iowa, where he taught from 2000 to 2003. He has written three books on religion.
Aslans riveting biography ... synthesises Scripture and scholarship to create an original account
- The New Yorker
Zealot is a clear, accessible account of Jesuss life and a well-written introduction to a fascinating debate among biblical scholars and historians
- Jewish Chronicle
A lean, fast-paced account of First Century Palestine, often revealing and always finely written, which attempts to locate Christ within his historical landscape.
- Nicholas Blincoe, The Telegraph
Zealot, a book on the life of Jesus written by a man not only with scholarly credentials but who had for a period of time converted to Christianity before reverting back to Islam, was fascinating.
If little is certain about Jesuss life, rather more is known about his times, which Aslan evokes with commendable diligence. Zealot becomes, in part, a handy primer of first-century Middle Eastern history. … Aslan clearly admires Jesus, and, at the risk of inflaming the wrath of Fox News, his freedom from any obligation to buy the son-of-God stuff permits fresh and refreshing contemplation … At its core, Zealot is a gentle dispute with the modern notion of Jesus, whom we are generally encouraged to perceive as a forgiving and boundlessly tolerant sort.
- New Humanist
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
A vivid, persuasive portrait of the world and societies in which Jesus lived and the role he most likely played in both
A book of outstanding research and a gripping read. Page after page of excellent prose offer insight into what it was like to be living under Roman oppression and why there was a multitude of messiahs offering hope and freedom.
- The Middle East in Europe