By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN) - As you might have heard, Lauren Green at Fox didn’t do a very good job interviewing Reza Aslan on his new book about the historical Jesus.
Instead of asking him about "Zealot," she asked him why, as a Muslim, he would presume to write a book about Jesus. He responded by citing (and re-citing) his academic credentials.
The interview went viral, and Aslan went to No. 1 on Amazon.com (ahead of J. K. Rowling).
But what does the book actually say? Here are seven of Aslan's key arguments in "Zealot":
1. Jesus was a violent revolutionary
Many scholars have argued that Jesus was a political figure. After all, he was crucified by Rome, and crucifixion was at the time a punishment for political offenses. But these scholars often claim, as John Dominic Crossan did in "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography," that Jesus was a nonviolent revolutionary.
Aslan portrays Jesus as a man of war who worshiped the "blood-spattered God of Abraham, and Moses, and Jacob, and Joshua” and who knew full well that “God’s sovereignty could not be established except through force.”
2. Jesus’ kingdom was worldly
In the Gospel of John, Jesus famously says, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Aslan begs to differ. Jesus’ kingdom was neither purely nor predominantly spiritual. He preached “a physical and present kingdom: a real kingdom, with an actual king that was about to be established on earth.”
3. Jesus revolted against Roman and Jewish authorities
Jesus didn’t just take on Rome. He took on Jewish authorities, in particular those who ran the Jerusalem Temple.
“There can be no doubt,” writes Aslan, “that Jesus’s main antagonist in the gospels is neither the distant emperor in Rome nor his heathen officials in Judea. It is the high priest Caiaphas, who will become the main instigator of the plot to execute Jesus precisely because of the threat he posed to the Temple’s authority.”
4. Palm Sunday is the key moment in the Jesus story
Every Jesus biographer has a key moment in the life of Jesus when his essence is revealed. For Aslan, that moment comes when Jesus mounts a donkey and rides into Jerusalem.
In this celebration, commemorated in the Christian world every year on Palm Sunday, Jesus is not demonstrating his humility. Instead, he is announcing his kingship.
The “unmistakeable” message of this scene, according to Aslan, is that “the long-awaited messiah — the true King of the Jews — has come to free Israel from its bondage.”
5. The early church turned Jesus into a pacifist preaching a spiritual kingdom
In 66-73 CE, a bloody Jewish revolt against Rome left Jerusalem in ruins and chastened the early Christians, who reinvented Jesus as an apolitical figure in order to make nice with Rome.
Those who wrote of Jesus in this way (Paul included) never met the man, and, in Aslan's view, they badly mischaracterized him, turning “their messiah from a fierce Jewish nationalist into a pacifistic preacher of good works whose kingdom was not of this world.”
6. The idea that Jesus was God also originated with the early church
As a Jew, Aslan observes, Jesus would have rebelled against any notion that God is incarnated in human flesh.
Therefore, the elevation of Jesus to divinity must have come after his crucifixion, at the hands of Greek-speaking Jewish Christians who “transformed Jesus from a revolutionary zealot to a Romanized demigod.”
7. The Bible isn’t to be believed (as history)
In "Zealot," Aslan repeatedly refers to passages in the New Testament as “preposterous,” “fanciful,” “obviously contrived,” “riddled with the most basic errors,” “simply ridiculous,” and “absurd to the point of comedy.”
Here the Bible is a source for data about Jesus’s life, but that data must be carefully sifted through a scholarly lens, and in particular through the socioeconomic realities of life in the ancient Mediterranean at the time of Jesus.
At least as Aslan sees it, Jesus probably didn’t tell his followers to turn the other cheek. He probably did say, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but the sword” (Matthew 10:34).
The end is near... Every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord
Fuck Off Idiot!
IChristians don't follow Jesus. They follow Paul's interpretation of Jesus. Jesus had no intention of saving the Gentiles. Poor Christians today are willingly believing the lie that Paul told.
John 10:16: "And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd."
Matthew 28:18-20: 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus came first to the nation of Israel. After the resurrection, he commanded the disciples to reach beyond the Jewish people. For Matthew and Luke at least, the mission to the Gentiles is commanded by Jesus after the cross—it's the church's mission.
The more you learn about christianity the more you hated it, specially after you learn majority worlds great war and human suffering are between christian, since the Roman empire adopting christianity to the 20th century earth. Today christianity is just continuation of roman empire civilization, that worship power, greed, many gods, adultery and alcohol, way far from the true teachings. Many europeans share your feeling according to the recent poll, you are not by yourself, welcome back to sanity..!
Aslan, your book sucks! The Anti-Christ are buying it, and that is why it is selling. You must have failed Middle Eastern history miserably! The fact that Flavious Josephus and Philo did not write about Jesus is because they felt very little curiosity about the life and teaching of yet another of those popular agitators who abounded during the last years of Israel. And another reason is Photius ( 9th Century Byzantine historian) who read had read Justus of Tiberias's Chronicles ( which is now lost) has given the world: " Jewish by race and steeped in Jewish prejudices, Justus would not make any reference to the coming of Christ, to the events of his life or to his miracles. These are deliberate and revelatory silences, and Josephus was among them. Josephus ' s personality was not that attractive himself. He was the member of an aristocratic priestly caste who found excellent opportunities under the Roman yoke; he was vain, self-satisfied and obsequious. He wrote more about himself on how he was so learned at thirteen, that the rabbis of Jerusalem used to consult him about theology, and how at sixteen he was seized with ascetic fervor mortified himself in the desert. As a result, he migrated to Rome. The odd story is that Josephus was only one wha survived a mass soicide among a group of defenders who did not want to fall in the hands of the Romans during the war...it was josephus who survived to tell that the True Messiah awaited by Israel was " Vespasian" a very personal friend who frred Josephus from slavery. Josephus wrote that Vespasian as the next Empire was foretold by Jewish prophets. His silence about Jesus was obviously calculated. And his traits of character must not be overlooked. He must have known about Christianity, because he was in Rome when Paul the last apostle was arrested during Nero's persecutions of Christians. How is it that he could mentioned, John the Baptist, James the first Bishop of Jerusalem, whose stonning to death he narrates and whom he designates with a note of disdain, "the brother of Jesus, called Christ" But there is in his work no other allusion to Christ. One version of the "Antiquities" occurs this passage: "At this time appeared Jesus, a wise man, if he can be called a man. For he performed marvelous things, and became the master of those who joyfully received the truth and mzny of the Jews and Greeks followed him. This sas the Christ. Being denounced bh the priest of our nation to Pilate, he was condemned to die on the cross, but his followers did not renounce himfor on the third day he appeared to them alive again as had been foretold the devine prophets as well as other wonders in regard to him. There still exists today the sect which has received him the name of Christians." By Flavious Josephus. So, what are you talking about Aslan!?? Aslan, your book is pure crap!! You failed to research.
This author is clouded with foolishness and driven by fame and greed at the risk of Judaisum. The honest truth is that Jesus and His Christianity has saved the Jewish people and their Judaism religion from continuous "Massacre" by other nations. They were dying and helpless until the world bought their least expected product "Christianity" and its tolerance and sound teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus and His followers have been extremely generous to Judaism by teaching it side to side to the New Testament...thus creating a relationship between the two religions. Judaism is suriving today because of Christianity, otherwise Jews would still be in captivity somewhere in the world today. As for the Muslims, your Qu'ran and Mohammad was not attractive to sell well. Mohammad was too greed and driven by greed, he could not sacrifice his wealth or life; so the world did not buy it. This exactly what you fighting about every day. Both the Muslim and Judaism religion failed to attract the world...Jesus Christ and His Christianity won!! That is the bottom line. This author can write crap about Jesus, but it's all dogma and ridiculous...Jesus is alive in the lives of His believers and no books can change that!! And when the Christians stop supporting Judaism, things will be very bad for this proud ignorant writter and the rest of Judaism worshippers. They are alive because of Jesusad His Christianity. period.
Laura Green was on Bill O'Reilly today. She hasn't been fired yet?
Hai Hai, Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
25:70 – Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
25:71 – And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds, then verily, he repents towards Allah with true repentance.
25:72 – And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.
25:73 – And those who, when they are reminded of the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat.
25:74 – And those who say: "Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the righteous"
25:75 – Those will be rewarded with the highest place (in Paradise) because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect.
25:76 – Abiding therein; excellent it is as an abode, and as a place to dwell.
Nothing to see here folks move along.
Jesus ordered his followers to abandon their wealth and their families, on pain of infinite torture. This is enough to put him in the same category as David Koresh, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, L. Ron Hubbard, Joseph Smith, etc. Imagine how weirdly revised and disgustingly peaceful an origin story written by their followers would be.
Ime, there's no difference between a militant theist and a militant atheist: they both sacrifice their sense and their manners to their desire to decide what other people ought to think. The 'historical Jesus'/'faith Jesus' kerfluffle is yet another example of theists and atheists engaging in debates that are exercises in futility: we have no means of proving whether Josephus was an accurate historian or wrote the equivalent of the National Enquirer and it's unlikely we ever will. The mere fact that some portion of his writings survive does not in and of itself make them accurate. Perhaps someday either a theist or an atheist will convince those in agreement with them that we should direct the time and money and energy wasted on these pointless arguments over the unprovable to something of real benefit - cures for diseases, drought and disease resistant crops, decent shelter and clothing, enough food and an education for the thousands of children in the world who'll be going to bed hungry tonight. If it ever happens, I'll cheerfully sign on with whichever side of the debate demonstrated the practical value of their position.
So much hoopla over a freaking myth.
Jesus is as mythological as Hercules but apologists will never admit it.
Only for the new members of this blog:
From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.
"That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.
“ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.
“While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "
“My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.
I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."
See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .
Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.
Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.
There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus
See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.
"One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.
Then there are these scriptural references:
Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )
Added suggested readings:
o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
– a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–
30-60 CE Passion Narrative
40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
50-60 1 Thessalonians
50-60 1 Corinthians
50-60 2 Corinthians
50-90 Signs Gospel
50-95 Book of Hebrews
50-140 Gospel of Thomas
50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
65-80 Gospel of Mark
70-100 Epistle of James
70-120 Egerton Gospel
70-160 Gospel of Peter
70-160 Secret Mark
70-200 Fayyum Fragment
70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
80-100 2 Thessalonians
80-100 Gospel of Matthew
80-110 1 Peter
80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
80-130 Gospel of Luke
80-130 Acts of the Apostles
80-140 1 Clement
80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
80-250 Christian Sibyllines
90-95 Apocalypse of John
90-120 Gospel of John
90-120 1 John
90-120 2 John
90-120 3 John
90-120 Epistle of Jude
93 Flavius Josephus
100-150 1 Timothy
100-150 2 Timothy
100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
100-150 Secret Book of James
100-150 Preaching of Peter
100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
100-160 2 Peter
4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
(Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
Presented on March 18, 1994
11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
15. D-iseases in the Bible:
16. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
theologians, ethics, etc.
17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
18. Writing the New Testament- e-xisting copies, o-ral tradition etc.
19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
22. NT and beyond time line:
23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus
You and your posts are mind-numbingly boring.
Is that the best you can come up with?
Tell that to Tacitus, Suetonious, and Josephus before ignorantly spewing your stupidity.
And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'" He will say, "Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. 5:116
I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. 5:117
If You should punish them – indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them – indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. 5:118
Again for the eyes of sister and brother Muslims:
From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–
The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:
( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)
Are you ready?
Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.
The First Five of the 77 Branches:
"1. Belief in Allah"
aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.
"2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."
Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".
"3. To believe in the existence of angels."
A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.
"4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."
Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.
Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.
Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.
"5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
be upon him) alone."
Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.
Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!
Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.
Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..
Why are you posting this? Stay on topic. What's all that have to do with anything talked about here?
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