Customer Reviews for

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

148 out of 180 people found this review helpful.

Wow! Ignorance abounds!

Just to set matters straight here folks; Aslan was raised Christian and converted to the Muslim faith. More importantly, he has a PHD in spiritual studies. So essentially, he studies religions of ALL TYPES and writes about them. So his personal choice of religion is irr...
Just to set matters straight here folks; Aslan was raised Christian and converted to the Muslim faith. More importantly, he has a PHD in spiritual studies. So essentially, he studies religions of ALL TYPES and writes about them. So his personal choice of religion is irrelevant to this book. If you want to discredit the man, read the book and present credible evidence that he's wrong. "But, he's Muslim" doesn't tell us anything about the quality of the information in his book.

posted by Anonymous on July 28, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

106 out of 238 people found this review helpful.

Here's some truths behind this author that he and no other media

Here's some truths behind this author that he and no other media source have bothered to point out, that you as a reader should be aware of:

Reza Aslan has four degrees. In 1995, he got a BA in religion, in religious studies. In 1999, a Masters in world religions from ...
Here's some truths behind this author that he and no other media source have bothered to point out, that you as a reader should be aware of:

Reza Aslan has four degrees. In 1995, he got a BA in religion, in religious studies. In 1999, a Masters in world religions from Harvard. In 2002, a Masters in fine arts in fiction. In 2009, a PhD in sociology. So he’s studied us. He’s learned how to write fiction, and he's learned how to speak the religious language. But there’s no history degree. He’s not a PhD in religions, and he’s not a fully-credited historian. It’s possible that his Harvard theology degree included some history credits, but it’s not the same, not even on the same planet as an expert with a PhD in the history of religions.

Currently, he's teaching at UC Riverside, in the department of Creative Writing. He also teaches at the University of Southern California in Public Diplomacy. He’s also a contributor to The Daily Beast. But what's most notable is that he is an assistant professor at Drew University, and what he’s teaching is something fantastic. He’s teaching people about Middle Eastern revolution.

He isn't who the media says he is (or who they allow him to say he is), and he’s not about what the detractors say either. The media said he’s got a PhD in Gospel history. He doesn’t. He’s a Muslim -- not exactly. He is a Muslim, but that isn't what motivated him to write the book. It begins with his productions of Aslan Media. What is he teaching at Drew University? He’s teaching the art of revolution “on the art of protest in the Middle East", examining protest literature, film, art, and music. He’s producing literature and media.

Who is Aslan Media? Well, they’re operating under the fiscal sponsorship of this group, the Levantine Cultural Center. Who are they? Well, they’re partners with CODEPINK on the founding committee of a project called Narrative 4. What’s Narrative 4? That’s a project dedicated to creating social change, and that’s a project of the Tides Center. He’s also a board director on the National Iranian American Council. So who is he, really? He’s a radical Progressive. He's also hardcore anti-Israel. He wants to change our understanding of history and our relationship to God to create social change. That’s what he’s been teaching (occasionally) at Drew University. At least when he’s a visiting professor at Drew University, the class knows what they’re walking into, to witness the art of protest in literature, film, art, and music.

Just thought you might be interested to know some of this information before you read the book for yourself. There's more... but you can do your own homework. For myself, I wasn't really impressed. The author has made claims that he doesn't accept the Gospels as a reliable source because they were written 30 or 40 years after Jesus' death. That's a logical point to make, but how are we supposed to take his book any more seriously 2,000 years later -- when he's not even a true historian???

posted by Loverien on August 2, 2013

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  • Posted July 30, 2013

    Please accept my humble apologies in advance for writing anythin

    Please accept my humble apologies in advance for writing anything outside of a review. I'm giving a 3-star assessment based on premise. But I would like to quickly address the [apparent] religious zealots (pun intended) who seem bent on marking this piece of literature as anti-Christian Muslim propaganda. I find it interesting - and sad - that many of the individuals whose reviews were poor and had inflammatory things to say about the author are anonymous, and that their rebuttal to the literature in question is little more than a rehashing of the age-old religious argument, "I'm right, you're wrong, how dare you think I'm wrong, you have no right." I would venture to say that any Catholic or Christian historian, scholar, theologian, or exegete, will be the first to tell you that some of the most important discovery made on the topic of Christology has been done based on the inter-faith, and faith-to-non-faith collaborative work facilitated over the last several centuries. Perspectives on Christ's life that allow for non-religious, professionally & respectfully objective review of His history and the times in which He lived are just as important as any Gospel literature, Apocrypha, and religious philosophy carried out by the Church itself. For too long, ignorance and fundamentalist fanaticism have prohibited for actual intense study into this individual, and the fact that members of our society who claim to be Christians are still unable to exercise their minds & free will into understanding the life of Christ from all points of view, opting rather to condemn and dismiss anything that might challenge their views, biased as they are, is a sorry mark against the faith as a whole. In my humble opinion, Christ's message was meant to encourage self-awareness, communal growth, and, of course, love without condition. These things cannot happen without a deeper, intelligent assessment of the world around us. Shame on anyone who would stand in the way of such progress. We have all got to do better.

    22 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2013

    Aslan¿s book, Zealot, is very well written and keeps the reader

    Aslan’s book, Zealot, is very well written and keeps the reader’s interest throughout. He is obviously a very smart author and pays close attention to most details. He does a very good job of describing history before and during Jesus’s lifetime. Having stated those positive qualities, there are obviously many weaknesses in this book. First, he does not offer anything new. His writings reflect thought of groups or individuals such as the Jesus Seminar, Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), Bishop Spock (numerous odd writings}, Shonfield (The Passover Plot), et. al. The commonality exists in that all of these writers begin their studies with the presupposition that the Gospels are erroneous if not downright dishonest. Their conceptions fit in well with conspiracy theorists. Aslan goes further in his claims for which he offers no evidence. For example has states that after his baptism Jesus went into the desert with John the Baptist and there John taught Jesus all he knew including the Lord’s Prayer. He also refers to John as Jesus’s master. There is not a shred of evidence for that nor does Aslan offer any. His alternative theory is that Jesus didn’t stay in the wilderness with John, but went on and studied under the Essenes at Qumran. Again there is no biblical or other historical evidence to support such weird theories. Secondly, he loves to refer to Jesus as an illiterate peasant, simple because he was raised in Nazareth. How does Aslan know that? It certainly sounds like a very prejudicial comment.
    Secondly, the author bases his belief in Jesus the “Zealot” on a single passage of Scripture. In doing so he has to find “proof texts,” or twist the meaning of many passages in order to force them to support his theory. This is a common tactic in the writings of those who wish to attack the divinity of Jesus the Christ. In this regard he claims that Jesus was a total failure because he did not accomplish what he said he would do (establish his kingdom on earth, and defeat the Roman invaders). These ridiculous statements only to serve to show that he has no understanding of what the kingdom of God is and the statements of Jesus who preached peace throughout his life.
    Finally, Aslan saves his most scathing criticism of the Gospels and more especially the Apostle Paul. It is also in these discussions that his conspiratorial attitude is most predominant. He dates the Gospels and most other New Testament writings at the latest possible date. Most theologians (except those who share his view) date them much earlier. Then he derides the passages that he does not agree with and at times refers to them as blatant fabrications. He also has a need to either deny what is written or to place words in the mouths of the Gospel writers. It always amazes me that people like Aslan who is living almost 2000 years after the facts knows more than those who lived through them or those who wrote their accounts within a few decades of the events. That smacks of elitism and arrogance. The greatest minds of the last two thousand years have interpreted Scriptures in the traditional way, but Aslan is apparently better than them all. He is wrong.
    The book is worth reading, but I would suggest reading it as a novel rather than history.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    I am intrigued not only by the "good"reviews, but also

    I am intrigued not only by the "good"reviews, but also by the "bad reviews"! I now fully intend to purchase and read this so I can continue to think for myself. Thanks to all of you!

    3 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    Easy yet fascinating read

    I know there is a lot of controversy around this author and book, however, I found it fascinating and it did make me think about some of the claims of Christianity. It was also interesting to read about religion in a historical context.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2013

    This is a STORY book just like the BIBLE.  Read the book before

    This is a STORY book just like the BIBLE.  Read the book before you make assumptions, think outside the box for once.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

    Well researched regarding the time of Jesus.  It gives a very go

    Well researched regarding the time of Jesus.  It gives a very good view of the times.  However, I could not help
     but see through some of his arguments.  He repeatedly takes some very valid insights and then categorically
    assigns conclusions that he thinks are correct.  When you take fact and then add conclusions that may or
    may not be true, then you end up with a very subtle attack on Christianity.  Read with a very critical eye and be
    sure to parse his conclusions.  If nothing else it will help you understand hoe Islam views Jesus.  It acknowledges
    Jesus as a great profit but less than Mohamed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2014

    A Quandry

    Zealot creates a lot more questions than it answers. It's primary premise seems to be that the ministry of Paul is not an accurate interpretation of Christ's ministry. However it is not clear what the true message is.

    The book questions everything that traditional Christians believe without giving a real alternate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

    One question

    Out if all the prophets, zealots and messiahs Aslan talks about in the book he never really explains why Jesus stood out enough to merit the gospels. I suppose it was the supposed resurrection spin.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    recommend

    although aslan does not present any new ground concerning the life and times of jesus, he does have talent for writing. book is well written and documented. maybe just maybe one person with an open mind will read it.

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  • Posted August 31, 2013

    B&N description ends with the quote "Within decades aft

    B&N description ends with the quote "Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God." Christians never call or call him God. He is the Son of God...Must have been a Jew who wrote the description....lol.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013

    very interesting.

    very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Help

    How do you delete books from a regular nook

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 30, 2013

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    Posted September 4, 2013

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    Posted August 26, 2013

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    Posted August 5, 2013

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