Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

by Reza Aslan
3.8 321


$24.98 $27.00 Save 7% Current price is $24.98, Original price is $27. You Save 7%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Get it by Tuesday, August 29 , Order now and choose Expedited Delivery during checkout.


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

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A lucid, intelligent page-turner” (Los Angeles Times) that challenges long-held assumptions about Jesus, from the host of Believer
Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher 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 executed as a state criminal. Within decades after his death, his followers would call him God.
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most enigmatic figures by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived. Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction. He explores the reasons 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’ life and mission.
Praise for Zealot
“Riveting . . . Aslan synthesizes Scripture and scholarship to create an original account.”The New Yorker
“Fascinatingly and convincingly drawn . . . Aslan may come as close as one can to respecting those who revere Jesus as the peace-loving, turn-the-other-cheek, true son of God depicted in modern Christianity, even as he knocks down that image.”The Seattle Times
“[Aslan’s] literary talent is as essential to the effect of Zealot as are his scholarly and journalistic chops. . . . A vivid, persuasive portrait.”Salon
“This tough-minded, deeply political book does full justice to the real Jesus, and honors him in the process.”San Francisco Chronicle
“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 (starred review)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400069224
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/16/2013
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 257,614
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Reza Aslan is an acclaimed writer and scholar of religions whose books include No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror (published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism), as well as the editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three sons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 321 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Luke90210 More than 1 year ago
No matter your beliefs, Zealot is a captivating book. It takes a new look at the life of Jesus, his mission, and the impact he had. It is a very good book, excellently researched and well written.
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
As Mr. Aslan has stated in many interviews, this is an academic work about the historical Jesus of Nazareth, not the Lord Jesus Christ of the Catholic Church, as well as many other faiths. This is about the rebel, the seditionist, the zealot. The descriptions of the Jerusalem during Jesus’ lifetime, the politics, laws, economy, and hierarchy of the Sanhedrin and the Roman rule are both educational as well as insightful. It is amazing at what a provocative and powerful, how bold a figure He must have been amidst that era, as He challenged all the powers-that-be as He fought for a different “Kingdom” for His people. Aslan shows us how extraordinarily passionate the historical Jesus was as he reveals to us the compelling story of a radical who defied the Sanhedrin and the Roman empire, as both were enslaving His people. We now ponder and question the Gospel writers (as we will never know who they really were), what their agenda was, and how true to the actual events they were permitted to write. This was evidenced by the information given regarding the conflict between Paul and the Twelve Apostles, particularly with James in Jerusalem and Peter in Rome, as the New Testament clearly shows a Pauline influence. Thank you Mr. Aslan for enlightening us to the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Even though this book may have brought to light many challenges to what Christians have been taught to be true for centuries, one thing that will never be challenged is our faith in Jesus the Christ.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zealot is a remarkable book. It is a very well researched account of the life of Jesus, put in the context of the times that he lived. The writing is easy to follow and the story is fascinating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I give 4 stars because there are some limitations to this book, which I'm glad that Mr. Aslan clearly and tries to account for. If you're interested in the historical Jesus rather than the biblical Jesus, then this book may be for you. Mr. Aslan provides a good background and cultural insight into the region around the time that Jesus has lived. He then tries to extrapolate these findings into understanding who this historical Jesus might be. You will find out that Mr. Aslan obviously uses a lot of would-be's and would-have-been's in his writing, so Mr. Aslan does know that that people will critique his findings which he is open to. Personally, I don't get the 1-2 star critiques on this review board, because Mr. Aslan tries to use anthropology, sociology, and history to study this historical Jesus, rather than rely only on the Bible
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zealot is a very well researched and very informative look at the life of Christ in the context of the times he lived. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and feel like I learned a lot.
LCamara More than 1 year ago
I love how the author is being attacked because of his religious beliefs. I wonder how you would feel if you discovered the religious, political, or sexual orientation of all your favorite authors? Aslan is a scholar, he is not just some crazed Muslim who is attempting to change your opinion of Jesus. It's not like they give away PhDs. Why don't you read the book, then criticize. With that out of the way, I found it to be interesting. I loved the insight I gained about Jesus as a man, not just the Son of God.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing read. Ignore the ignorant racists. A muslim writting on the new testament is no different than a christian looking at the torah. Get over yourself. I highly recommend this for people of all faiths.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ones who claim this book is biased blasphemy motivated me to read it. Because fundamentalist Christians were right about other scientific matters - the earth is the center of the universe, and the fossil record is completely fabricated. Mr. Aslan reveals nothing new to scientists - basic college courses teach what he says - but he writes in a down to earth style I wish I had. Easily approachable and quickly put in context. He is a gifted writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There has emerged archaeological evidence that the Ascedics, and their apocolptic teaching, may have had a signifcant influence on a young Jesus during the lost 20 years of his life. This book enforces those findings and the speculations of many biblical scholars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unless you've actually READ THE BOOK, please do not comment with a review. Because those of us who are intelligent, educated, literate individuals are interested in reading valid comments about how the book is written. We do NOT want to read your ignorant and bigoted rants about Islam. Go share your bigotry on the Fox News blogs. Or better yet, keep it to yourselves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not read the book yet but I will buy it and read it if only because there are a lot of clearly stupid people on here telling me not to. It must be good!
SueB43 More than 1 year ago
Fascinating description of the historical Jesus.  Excellent ability of author to relate scholarly research findings  to a lay readership. As a Christian by faith I did not find this a threat to my faith but an absorbing description of  Jesus the man.   I want to read more by this author.                     at all.
osamawazan More than 1 year ago
As the author of The Last Moderate Muslim, and a man who was born and raised in a multi-faith nation, Lebanon, I know countless cultural nuances in applying the Christian and Islamic theologies. Zealot is purely academic and as fact-based as any scholar could produce. Having learned the theology and history of Islam, the biography of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, and read Zealot, some of my conclusions are reinforced, Jesus and Muhammad shared a holy calling to inject humanity in a region that was and continues to be paralyzed with strife. Incidentally and to a great extent, Zealot corroborates the understanding of Jesus by millions of moderate and rogue Muslims worldwide. I hope that those who read "rogue Muslims" internalize that to mean, 'Perhaps we have a lot in common to bridge the differences' in contrast to, 'If the rogue Muslims see it this way; therefore, we should condem Zealot.' Those whose reviews condemen the book, I trust match the latter for another more profound reason. Maybe they are jaundiced by Aslan saying and writing that Jesus was a man,not Lord, over and over. Drop your hearing weapons and give yourselves the privilege to learn more about Jesus Christ, whose story and actions made the world a better place.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Aslan is a brilliant and well-informed thinker who has written another excellent book For it to matter whether he is a Muslim or a Christian shows ignorance AND prejudice,  as well as simple-minded thinking.  Zealoy is well-worth reading regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion. jaty
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have an M.A. in Biblical Studies and can attest that the author's scholarship is solid. I'm also a professional author, with a bestseller under his belt, and can attest that this book is very well written. The author himself has said that what he's presenting is nothing new, but he has achieved a great deal in making it accessible to a broad readership. Well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With so much controversy going on with this book, I felt compelled to borrow it from a friend that purchased it. And I have to say with the type of book it is, the wording was very easy to understand. Not an easy task if you have read many other historical piece/book. To be truthful, I am a little confused with how much hatred this book is receiving. The book is clearly talking about Jesus the man, not the religious figure. It seems some people do not understand that he was both and can and should be written as both. I will admit though, sometimes the book did lag a bit. But I think this is true with most historical writings. Overall, for the type of book it was, it was great. Clearly not a read for everyone. And clearly not a read for anyone that went into the book ready to attack it “if they even read it”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting reading which gives a fresh or better yet, an alternative view of people and events of the times This is a renown author, and along with other scholars whether they agree or disagree with his writing, nonetheless what he writes is food for thought. One has to be open-minded and not regress to the tunnel vision of some less open-minded people whos mantra is my way or the highway. I have read the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zealot is an excellent and scholarly book. It is about the historical Jesus as a man. If you are threatened by research, no one is forcing you to be here. A bookstore gets to sell all kinds of books to readers who have various thoughts, interests, beliefs, and value systems. A big thank-you to Fox News for the buzz about this book. So yeah, read this book if you are not afraid of your beliefs crumbling because someone who is not a christian dared to write it. Knowing the background behind the mythos makes for a great read. There is no law that prevents a scholar from writing about the subject matter of their choosing. Kudos to the author who does indeed evidence superior writing and research skills.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Provides a rare contextual understanding the story we all think we know. The book gives a clear picture of the socio-economic, religiious, racial, and political reality of the time and makes an easy connection between how the man and the movement fit in to all of this. In many ways it's a story that has been repeated many times over: the gap between rich and poor, the oppressors and theopressed, a massively biased jusrice system, and a fickle populace interested equally in scandal. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not sure if everything Reza Aslan says in this book is true but it is certainly worth thinking about. I am happy this is out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written but, like most books with a thesis, it gets a bit repetitive after a while. Thanks to Fox News, it's managed to make the author far more widely read and wealthier than one would expect from an academic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lot of ignorant post on here. The author of this book was born Muslim and converted to Christianity. And he is a historian. It really shouldn't matter.
Concious-I-am More than 1 year ago
As stated previously, I am a Christian. I am not hung up on the fact that a Muslim turned Christan who reverted back to Islam is the author of the book. I look for content and validity. One of the saddest things I notice about Christians is that we generally refuse to take time to study other religions. Not only do we fail to study other religions, we don't know our own religion very well. I am a different kind of Christian that studies other religions as well as Christianity. I understand that you cannot take everything in the bible for face value. STUDYING AND EDUCATING ourselves is important. Reza lays out theories and theology that are worth exploring. Some I have been exposed to, some I have not. I am pleased with this well put-together review of the historical Jesus and I am smarter and more equipped for my Christian walk than before I read it. Great book to read and re-read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you find that notion impossible to consider, this is unlikely to be a satisfying read. The construction of what is now called Christianity, in all it's various forms, followed the death of Jesus of Nazareth by many years. The early historical context is the centeral focus of this book, piecing together the precious few scraps of the historical Jesus of Nazareth with records of the Roman occupation of the Holy Land to paint a compelling picture of the birth of Christianity.