Jump to content

Reza Aslan : Zealot: The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth


Recommended Posts

Seems like it makes a stir recently due to Fox

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zaki-hasan/reza-aslan-and-the-fox-ne_b_3671667.html

 

 

This absurd implication was given literal expression last Friday when Aslan appeared on an online segment for Fox News entitled "Spirited Debate." The host, one Lauren Green, who I'd expect most people had never heard of before this weekend (though that's definitely not a problem anymore), starts right off asking, "You're a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?" And from that (in)auspicious start, things swiftly proceeded in a downward fashion, with the nearly 10 minutes that followed quickly taking their place in the "Train Wreck TV" Hall of Fame. Check out the vid below, in all its cringe-inducing glory:

 

My question is anyone has pick up the book?If yes what's your opnion?I'm thinking of picking up this book.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Keeping this site online isn't free, so we need your support! Make a one-time donation or choose one of the recurrent patron options by clicking here.



I don't see anyone throwing a fit over a Jew writing about Mohammed

http://www.ted.com/talks/lesley_hazleton_the_doubt_essential_to_faith.html

 

I don't get the big deal. Heaven forbid someone of a different faith tries to understand other faiths let alone write about them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Fox interview was hysterical.  I'm sure because of it the man will sell a lot more books.  However I can't take the him seriously because he presumes there was a Jesus of Nazareth.  Does any historian ever do a study on what the historical Hercules was like?  Does any legitimate scholar do a study on what the historical Oden was like?  How about the real Mithra, what was his life like?  And what was life like for the historical Ra?  Maybe Harvard should research the real Zeus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mymistake, to be fair to him, I don't know of any reputable historians who don't believe in some sort of historical Jesus (and if they exist, I'm sure they're in the vast minority). Dr. Aslan is on par with others in his field, here. He accepts there was a historical Jesus, he just doesn't believe that much of what's written about him in the Bible is true.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mymistake, to be fair to him, I don't know of any reputable historians who don't believe in some sort of historical Jesus (and if they exist, I'm sure they're in the vast minority). Dr. Aslan is on par with others in his field, here. He accepts there was a historical Jesus, he just doesn't believe that much of what's written about him in the Bible is true.

 

 

Jesus of Nazareth belongs to physical anthropology.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

he's not even a muslim really, he's a universalist. read his ama at reddit, it's like he and AM go to the same meetings!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Jesus of Nazareth belongs to physical anthropology.

 

 

Not sure what this means exactly, perhaps you could clarify?

 

In any case, from what I've read there's really no academic justification for the claim that Jesus wasn't a historical figure in some sense.  Marcus Borg and John Crossan are two examples of scholars I can think of off the top of my head who are held in good repute and do believe in a historical Jesus.  Both call themselves "Christians," but their beliefs are so liberal that most evangelicals would shove them into hell long before any of us on this board.

 

Can we be certain Jesus existed?  No, but the same could probably be said of many ancient figures whose existence we don't question regularly.  The only reason Jesus gets extra scrutiny is because he said we'll all go to hell if we don't believe in him, and a lot of people in the world live as though his claim is true.  We're really not helping our anti-Christian case by making statements that even scholars don't agree with.  But maybe I'm wrong, and there is a reputed scholarly circle in which it's believed that Jesus is entirely a myth.  Does anyone know of such scholars?  And can I be sure that when I Google these scholars, I won't find out that they got their PhDs at diploma mills after stints in the psych ward?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

 

Jesus of Nazareth belongs to physical anthropology.

 

 

Not sure what this means exactly, perhaps you could clarify?

 

In any case, from what I've read there's really no academic justification for the claim that Jesus wasn't a historical figure in some sense.  Marcus Borg and John Crossan are two examples of scholars I can think of off the top of my head who are held in good repute and do believe in a historical Jesus.  Both call themselves "Christians," but their beliefs are so liberal that most evangelicals would shove them into hell long before any of us on this board.

 

Can we be certain Jesus existed?  No, but the same could probably be said of many ancient figures whose existence we don't question regularly.  The only reason Jesus gets extra scrutiny is because he said we'll all go to hell if we don't believe in him, and a lot of people in the world live as though his claim is true.  We're really not helping our anti-Christian case by making statements that even scholars don't agree with.  But maybe I'm wrong, and there is a reputed scholarly circle in which it's believed that Jesus is entirely a myth.  Does anyone know of such scholars?  And can I be sure that when I Google these scholars, I won't find out that they got their PhDs at diploma mills after stints in the psych ward?

 

 

When people talk about the "historical Jesus" what they really mean is physical anthropology's knowledge of first century Palestinian farm workers.  There was no historical Jesus of Nazareth.  None.  I don't care what some PhD believes. Where is the documentation to support the belief?  Without historical documentation you have no historical Jesus of Nazareth.  Historians need to step up and take the default position for undocumented people.  Jesus of Nazareth is as historical as King Arthur.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First of all, first century palestinian farm workers would also fall under 'history.'

 

Second, here is an exchange from the ama where Aslan responds to this very issue:

 

 

Is there any hard evidence that Jesus of Nazareth existed? I think many people just take it for granted that he existed and that the Bible itself is more than enough evidence. Is there anything else?

edit: Thank you for the gold, stranger. I am truly honored.

 

 

 

Outside of the Bible there is almost no trace whatsoever of the historical Jesus. However, in 94AD (60 years after Jesus died) a Jewish historian named Josephus casually mentions him.

In a brief throwaway passage in the Antiquities, Josephus writes of a fiendish Jewish high priest named Ananus who, after the death of the Roman governor Festus, unlawfully condemned a certain “James, the brother of Jesus, the one they call messiah,” to stoning for transgression of the law. The passage moves on to relate what happened to Ananus after the new governor, Albinus, finally arrived in Jerusalem. Fleeting and dismissive as this allusion may be (the phrase “the one they call messiah” is clearly meant to express derision), it nevertheless contains enormous significance for those searching for any sign of the historical Jesus. In a society without surnames, a common name like James required a specific appellation—a place of birth or a father’s name—to distinguish it from all the other men named James roaming around Palestine (hence, Jesus of Nazareth). In this case, James’ appellative was provided by his fraternal connection to someone with whom Josephus assumes his audience would be familiar. The passage proves not only that “Jesus, the one they call messiah” probably existed, but that by the year 94 C.E., when the Antiquities was written, he was widely recognized as the founder of a new and enduring movement.

That's pretty much all we have but it is significant.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1jal04/i_am_reza_aslan_scholar_of_religions_author_of/cbcr8ft

 

other comments shed even more light on the subject

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I'm reading his book, Zealot, now.  I would suggest other posters read it too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First of all, first century palestinian farm workers would also fall under 'history.'

 

Second, here is an exchange from the ama where Aslan responds to this very issue:

 

 

Is there any hard evidence that Jesus of Nazareth existed? I think many people just take it for granted that he existed and that the Bible itself is more than enough evidence. Is there anything else?

edit: Thank you for the gold, stranger. I am truly honored.

 

 

 

Outside of the Bible there is almost no trace whatsoever of the historical Jesus. However, in 94AD (60 years after Jesus died) a Jewish historian named Josephus casually mentions him.

In a brief throwaway passage in the Antiquities, Josephus writes of a fiendish Jewish high priest named Ananus who, after the death of the Roman governor Festus, unlawfully condemned a certain “James, the brother of Jesus, the one they call messiah,” to stoning for transgression of the law. The passage moves on to relate what happened to Ananus after the new governor, Albinus, finally arrived in Jerusalem. Fleeting and dismissive as this allusion may be (the phrase “the one they call messiah” is clearly meant to express derision), it nevertheless contains enormous significance for those searching for any sign of the historical Jesus. In a society without surnames, a common name like James required a specific appellation—a place of birth or a father’s name—to distinguish it from all the other men named James roaming around Palestine (hence, Jesus of Nazareth). In this case, James’ appellative was provided by his fraternal connection to someone with whom Josephus assumes his audience would be familiar. The passage proves not only that “Jesus, the one they call messiah” probably existed, but that by the year 94 C.E., when the Antiquities was written, he was widely recognized as the founder of a new and enduring movement.

That's pretty much all we have but it is significant.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1jal04/i_am_reza_aslan_scholar_of_religions_author_of/cbcr8ft

 

other comments shed even more light on the subject

 

The Josephus passage is widely considered a forgery.

 

What historian focuses on first century Palestinian farm workers?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

First of all, first century palestinian farm workers would also fall under 'history.'

 

Second, here is an exchange from the ama where Aslan responds to this very issue:

 

 

Is there any hard evidence that Jesus of Nazareth existed? I think many people just take it for granted that he existed and that the Bible itself is more than enough evidence. Is there anything else?

edit: Thank you for the gold, stranger. I am truly honored.

 

 

 

Outside of the Bible there is almost no trace whatsoever of the historical Jesus. However, in 94AD (60 years after Jesus died) a Jewish historian named Josephus casually mentions him.

In a brief throwaway passage in the Antiquities, Josephus writes of a fiendish Jewish high priest named Ananus who, after the death of the Roman governor Festus, unlawfully condemned a certain “James, the brother of Jesus, the one they call messiah,” to stoning for transgression of the law. The passage moves on to relate what happened to Ananus after the new governor, Albinus, finally arrived in Jerusalem. Fleeting and dismissive as this allusion may be (the phrase “the one they call messiah” is clearly meant to express derision), it nevertheless contains enormous significance for those searching for any sign of the historical Jesus. In a society without surnames, a common name like James required a specific appellation—a place of birth or a father’s name—to distinguish it from all the other men named James roaming around Palestine (hence, Jesus of Nazareth). In this case, James’ appellative was provided by his fraternal connection to someone with whom Josephus assumes his audience would be familiar. The passage proves not only that “Jesus, the one they call messiah” probably existed, but that by the year 94 C.E., when the Antiquities was written, he was widely recognized as the founder of a new and enduring movement.

That's pretty much all we have but it is significant.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1jal04/i_am_reza_aslan_scholar_of_religions_author_of/cbcr8ft

 

other comments shed even more light on the subject

 

The Josephus passage is widely considered a forgery.

 

What historian focuses on first century Palestinian farm workers?

 

There's a pretty interesting discussion about whether or this particular passage is forged. There is a separate passage from Josephus that is widely considered fake, but apparently this one is widely considered to be real.

 

Nothing, peasants are boring and events occur in cities. But, still, they fall under the history blanket imo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem with his title is that he specifically designates Jesus as "Jesus of Nazareth" and then tries to tie Josephus to him.

 

In a society without surnames, a common name like James required a specific appellation—a place of birth or a father’s name—to distinguish it from all the other men named James roaming around Palestine (hence, Jesus of Nazareth).

 

Josephus could only pass on what he had heard or read from others, not being a contemporary of Jesus.

There is no contemporary writing about Jesus, who was quite famous according to the New Testament.

Not one word from Pliny the Elder or Philo of Alexandria, both of whom studied and wrote rather extensively.

Paul in his epistles never refers to Jesus as "Jesus of Nazareth".

 

I'm not in the "Jesus never existed" camp, and feel it's possible a cult leader could have existed who spawned the Jesus story.

However, there were several candidates who could have qualified as leaders of small movements or as untraditional preachers.

 

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/surfeit.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

Josephus, even in the disputed passages, never refers to Jesus "of Nazareth." Nazareth is never mentioned in any of Josephus's texts. 

 

I'm afraid I cannot recommend "Zealot." It's really just another mindless rehearsal of the apocalyptic prophet model, bolstered by endless quotes from the gospels. But wait a second, Reza, you say in your introduction that the gospel writers are evangelists, not historians. We can't trust what they write about Jesus .. except for the parts that that light up when you use your magic seer stones. 

 

So Jesus after all was a Torah-observant radical Jew whose actual mission was simply to overthrow the Roman occupation? That means Christianity was, and is, a lie -- the biggest lie in history. It's fascinating how all these "historical Jesus" biographers never grasp that. "Everybody's been grossly misled for the last two thousand years by a demonstrably false religion, but saying that out loud would upset some people, so I'm just going to end the story in 33 AD and let people draw their own conclusions." 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.