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Contents:
  1. About the Author
  2. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
  3. By Ralph H. Sidway
  4. Data Protection Choices
  5. Was Jesus a Zealot?

For example, the author thinks nearly every book in the New Testament was written by someone other than the person after whom it was named Also, since many gospels existed xxvii in that era, Aslan asks how anyone can take Matthew, Mark, Luke and John at face value? Third, Paul comes under harsh criticism in Zealot because it is said he has absolutely no interest in the historical Jesus xxvi.

He argues that this breach is proven by the fact that James forced Paul to take a Nazarite vow and participate in a controversial Temple rite Angry and bitter with other apostles, Paul is ultimately arrested and extradited to Rome It is poor scholarship in that the author confidently relies on outdated and untrustworthy sources. He does not seem interested in grappling with those who believe New Testament writers, like Luke, wrote with diligence and integrity. Finally, though some of the history is interesting , and the author engaging, there is little that resonates with how most Muslims see the prophet Jesus.

Here, he is presented more like a failed Muhammad. Hussein believes Christ was crucified. Without grappling with conservative scholars, Aslan assumes the latest possible dates for the Gospels and Acts. Paul the traveller and the Roman Citizen, or with F. Excellent piece. I would only add that the author unfortunately reinforces Aslan's error of referring to "first-century Palestine.

About the Author

I am an academic but certainly not a scholar of religious studies by any stretch. Having strayed from my Roman Catholic roots, I am slowly working my way back to renew my relationship. Books by Aslan and others and reviews such as provided by Dr. Nadler certainly have given me a variety of views to consider. I would have found extremely helpful in Dr. Whatever Aslan's faults, and I am sure they are many whereas he is hardly original, Nadler too has much fact-checking to do.

Imagine this mistake on his part: "the historical Jesus, who was crucified long before the Zealot party ever came into existence" If so, then why is one of Jesus' followers called Simon the Zealot? In response to eil's query, which indeed "imagines" my "mistake": It doesn't require "much fact-checking" in fact in requires almost none at all to know that the Zealot upper-case party, namely the adherents of what Josephus termed the "Fourth Philosophy" emerged in the context of the Jewish rebellion against Roman rule during the 7th decade, CE.

Most scholars identify Judah of Gaulanitis as the founder of the Zealot Party. The adjective zealot kana'i in Hebrew to depict one who is zealous for the honor of God is as ancient as the Torah's account of Pinchas the zealot see Numbers, , it has nothing to do with this militant party, and was not uncommonly used as a term of praise for especially, or "zealously," pious Jews, such as Simon the Zealot. This was a wonderfully researched and written article. My fault is being shamelessly bemused by mythologies, thanks to the likes of Joseph Campbell.

Either way, Ms. Green is clearly an idiot, and by the same token Mr. Aslan is clearly a fake. I believe the interview, which I don't wish to see in it's entirety, was a plant that Fox easily fell for. Could we expect anything less, from either side? And here ARE two sides. I doubt it. And that, my friends, is the difference. Besides, conservative Christians have just handed the job over to God: they believe in being kind even to non-Christians but, later, during the Judgment, if a person doesn't accept J.

Leave the dirty work to the Boss.

'Zealot' Author Reza Aslan on Jesus of History Versus Jesus of Faith

As a former evangelical Christian, the historic Jesus I encountered in my university days was extremely fascinating. Any books easily read by a lay person on the topic of the historical Jesus? I'm not sure I have the chops for Schafer's books at the moment. Ehrman, is a good one. Alas, I fear that Ehrman's tome on this topic is no better than Aslan's efforts on his topic. Ehrman has written a number of excellent books for the general reader. This isn't one of them. Pinchas, in the Old Testament, is also called Zealot.

Are you suggesting that he too was a member of the Zealot party? Background on the use of the Hebrew term "zealot" kanai would be useful. Thanks to JRB and Dr. Nadler for this article and for the references, some of which I haven't seen before and thanks for y2bloch for his input on calling the area "Palestine," a common error that can have political implications itself.

This is the most thorough review of "Zealot" I've seen so far. Adam Kirsch, writing for Tablet, praised the book as giving a powerful portrait of Jesus, and Adam Gopnik, of The New Yorker, thought Aslan's book not out of the ordinary as far as portraits of the historical Jesus go. I also saw an early First Things piece in which the reviewer took issue with Aslan's credentials but said he wouldn't deign to read his book. I would have found it very useful if Professor Nadler had included references to Geza Vermes and his studies on: the historical Jesus in the context and society of his time.

Reza Aslan Tells an Old Story about Jesus

Perhaps Professor Nadler would consider appending his thoughts on this subject re the studies of the late Professor Vermes. A serious take-down, with a real zinger at the end: Aslan as the Manchurian, nay, the Babylonian Candidate, manipulating the manipulators on Fox. The sad thing is that public life becomes viewed as a transgression by real scholars, and so along with their criticism of popular writers they relinquish their own responsibility, and possibility, to become an engaging public voice.


  1. Soldiers, Cookies & the Crumbs.
  2. A Response to Zealot by Reza Aslan.
  3. The Book That Changed Reza Aslan's Mind About Jesus - The Atlantic!
  4. Zealot: The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth By Reza Aslan (EXCERPT)?

Bravo to Professor Nadler for publishing a response in the Jewish Review. I am not suggesting he should go on Fox, but it would be nice to give Aslan credit for bringing attention to alternative readings of Jesus, and for fostering a public dialogue on this subject, as confounded as it might sometimes be. As a Catholic, I am indebted to Nadler's beautiful analysis of Aslan's book, showing his bias and rejection of Jesus's spiritualism and peace fullness.

Oh, and how does a doctrinal program make a non-Jew an expert on Jewish religion and history? The argument that Jesus lived and preached as a Pharisee rabbi—without the slightest intention of founding a new religion—has been made lucidly in a series of books by Hyam Maccoby, formerly the Librarian and a Fellow of the Leo Baeck Institute in London.


  1. The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth?
  2. The Book That Changed Reza Aslan's Mind About Jesus.
  3. Review of Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
  4. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
  5. Easter Song!

His background as a Talmudic scholar and his depth of knowledge of the primary languages involved first century studies gave him the wherewithal to analyze Paul's writings and to clearly demonstrate Paul's superficial knowledge of Biblical Hebrew and his ignorance of the subtleties of Talmudic argumentation. His argument that Paul was a converted pagan who created a new religion that appropriated Jesus for purposes that were never remotely his own is made with a methodological sophistication that will satisfy the most scrupulous reader.

The point of entry into Maccoby's treatment of these themes is: "The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity. I was surprised at the naivety of Dr.

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

Nadler's essay. He is truly ignorant of a very substantial line of thinking that depicts Jesus as a Jewish nationalist zealot, or at least, sympathetic to Israel's struggle to free itself from Roman rule. Perhaps the best and most scholarly representative work along these lines is that of Dr. Brandon, a British scholar of Christianity's origins. His two books, Jesus and the Zealots, and The Fall of Jerusalem and the Rise of the Christian Church are required reading for anyone wishing to find out more about the enigmatic person, Jesus of Nazareth. Where Aslan goes wrong is in trivializing Jesus as an ignorant peasant, and not as a shrewd judge of men.

By Ralph H. Sidway

Jesus was a proud Jew, worthy of emulation along such lines. Nothing in his earthly life suggested that he intended to found a gentile mystery-cult religion; that job was left to Paul. I am not a scholar but a student of the Bible which I believe beyond a doubt to be the Word of God. Thanks first of all to Dr. Nadler for his insightful review of this book which was written by an obvious unbeliever who calls himself a one time Christian and a scholar of the New Testament and repeatedly flaunts on TV so arrogantly his "PhD".

Let me say I haven't yet read this book but intend to soon. But I would be interested to know what Reza Aslan has to say about what the Bible says about him and his kind which have been around for quite some time, especially in 1 John 2 and verses 18 following.

Trott, are you one of those Christians who makes a distinction between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of man? If so, please recognize that the Bible never claims to be the Word of God 2 Timothy doesn't count for a number of reasons , never claims to be inerrant or without internal contradiction and never claims that it should be understood literally as thoroughly historical.

Even if it did, one would have to examine to see if any of these claims were true. That it is the Word of God is a claim humans make--part of the so-called wisdom of man. I have never made a scholarly study of religion, but as a granddaughter of a former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and a free-thinker since age ten who studied the Bible in an Episcopal high school and classical languages and ancient cultures and history as electives in college, I have long been fascinated by and pondered the concept of religious belief and its effect on civilizations and individuals.

I could not help when reading this book but assume the author's agenda was to skew the non-Muslim public's view of early Judeo-Christian principles, in particular the zenophobia and encouragement of violence, by essentially equating them to the teachings in the Koran, thus correcting what he may feel is an unjustified bias against his religion. I will be curious to hear whether the members of my bookclub, whom I host tomorrow to discuss this book, were immediately struck by the author's lack of scholarly objectivity as was I. This was by far, one of the best reviews I've read on this book.

Data Protection Choices

Thank you for writing it! You are a scholar and a gentleman! Steefen: Professor Nadler should use the scholarly name of the sea: the Reed Sea. It does not serve the needs of raising the standards of religious education to mislead people into even thinking God parted the waters of the Red Sea or the Gulf of Suez.

Steefen: What vast chronological amplification? Was there some fantastic book tour for either Schafer or Boyarin? It may be more than 20 years after the biblical Jesus but less than 10 years from the death of Mother and Child, Queen Helena and King Izates, who fed 5, plus during the famine circa 47 C. Mary was holy: Queen Helena was holy. Steefen: Jesus was asking for trouble with his carefully staged Palm Sunday conspicuous entrance into Jerusalem.

The turning over of the tables was an act against Rome. Nadler: The crucial distinction that Aslan fails to acknowledge is that what clearly sets Jesus so radically apart from all of these figures is his adamant rejection of violence Steefen: LOL. Jesus delivers a parable that ends with: those who did not want me king, bring them and slay them before me. The king not only kills the murderers but burns down the hometown of the murders thereby harming innocent women, children, and men. Steefen: Dr. Nadler believes Jesus must have been an educated man.

Here he opposes not only Aslan but Bart Ehrman as well.


  • What Jesus Wasn't: Zealot - Jewish Review of Books.
  • Refuting Reza Aslan’s “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth”.
  • more on this story.
  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan – review | Books | The Guardian.
  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan – review.
  • North and South (The North and South Trilogy Book 1).
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  • I agree Jesus was an educated man. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. I have not yet read Christianity in Talmud and Midrash Steefen: Your claim that Aslan should have read the book is invalid as explained above. Second, please explain how a Roman paternity and Roman citizenship while one is Jewish through a Jewish mother. Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish said: Woe unto "him who makes himself alive by the name of god. The former has the Testimonium Flavianum once thought to be a later insert but the latter also defends an important part of the Gospel story.

    Wow Steefen--so much wrong there. Numbering your thoughts would have helped--you should still go do that f you want specific responses. Let me try to help out a little:. Not 5, At the time homo sapiens had only been in existence for 3, years according to Jewish tradition. Nadler know of them? I'm not a man who has spent 20 years researching Christianity--I'm an Orthodox Jew with a full-time job and a family.

    And I know how to use Google. The point is this guy is a fraud. And you don't need this Schafer guy to tell you that the Talmud in a few places tells us that J was the son of a Roman named Pantera or Pandera obviously the same person mentioned by Celsus.

    Was Jesus a Zealot?

    What is your question about paternity? You mean that this yeshu character should have been called to the tora as yeshu ben avraham? I mean obviously we believe he was Jewish,. Nothing complicated. And the Testimonium Flavianum as it appears in most versions of Josephus was pobviolsy an insert. He tell us he was a Pharisee--wouldn't be calling anybody the son of hashem.

    It makes sens he'd mention J though, and he probably did in some stripped down version. On sukot we wave palm fronds and shout hosannas hosannas specifically on hoshana raba--second-to-last day of sukot. So to the extent there's any historical accuracy in the NT an issue brought up by Dr. Nadler that scene obviously happened at sukot and was transposed to pesakh to allow for the whole rebirth theme Spring and the Exodus etc. And why would he keep them in Rome? However I would be interested to know where Jesus was born. As I finished reading 'Zealot' I naturaly wanted to learn Jewish reaction to the book.

    It seems to me that the only historically valid approach to understading Jesus is the one adopted by Aslan--which is of course through the filter of 1st century Judaism. In this respect, I thought the book was quite worthwhile. You can almost make an argument that the Gospels in the New Testament specifically James point directly to the invention of anti-semitism. It certainly clarified for me the numerous claims of fault attributed to Jews--that still persist to this day. Thank you, Alan Nadler, for this excellent critique of Aslan's popular book. Your assertion that his method of determining the historical accuracy of Gospel statements , "Whichever verses fit the central argument of his book, he accepts as historically valid," is totally right on.

    As such, it was a fun read. It is tragic, however, for lay people to read it and not weigh it against other, more scholarly, works. I like Marcus Borg and Burtan Mack, for instance. You cannot imagine how dismayed I am at the scurrilous attack by Nadler on Aslan's book. Nadler displays a zealous revisionism to the mainstream scholarship of the last 50 years on the personality of the Jew Jesus.