Book Reviews of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Zealot The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Author: Reza Aslan
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ISBN-13: 9781400069224
ISBN-10: 140006922X
Publication Date: 7/16/2013
Pages: 304
Rating:
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 19

3.4 stars, based on 19 ratings
Publisher: Random House
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

7 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth on + 33 more book reviews
I picked up this book because the author was interviewed on The Daily Show, and I was interested in learning about the cultural environment of first century Palestine, in which Jesus was born. I would say that this author does an adequate job of presenting that history. But, as a Christian, I was constantly wrestling with the author's verbiage ("Jewish cult")(references John the Baptist as Jesus' "Master") and disregard for anything that would show Jesus did miracles. His healings? According to the author, many people roamed the land providing healings and exorcisms, for a fee. When the people learned that Jesus would do it for free, they flocked to him. Was his walking on water, or calming the weather, not documented anywhere else but in the gospels? The author also does a persistent job of telling us how the 4 gospel books cannot be accepted as historical truth, but rather theological enhancement and flat-out fabrications. He also says that the resurrection is not a historical event, but a matter of faith, so it was not included in this book. He is also persistent about telling us how the book of Mark did not even include that account, though! It was added later.

The best summary of this book is in the last paragraphs. Jesus was a revolutionary zealot who walked across Galilee gathering an army of disciples with the goal of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth, the magnetic preacher who defied the authority of the Temple priesthood in Jerusalem, the radical Jewish nationalist who challenged Roman occupation and lost.

I'm not sure I could recommend this book to anyone. His notes section was more interesting to me, and showed me how much literature is out there regarding the cultural environment of the first century. I would probably enjoy those many books better than I did this one. If you are not firm in your belief in Jesus Christ as God incarnate, then this book will probably muddy the waters for you. But, that is just my opinion.
reviewed Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth on + 5623 more book reviews
I'm not sure he's saying anything new, at least about Christianity.
reviewed Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth on + 33 more book reviews
I picked up this book because the author was interviewed on The Daily Show, and I was interested in learning about the cultural environment of first century Palestine, in which Jesus was born. I would say that this author does an adequate job of presenting that history. But, as a Christian, I was constantly wrestling with the author's verbiage ("Jewish cult")(references John the Baptist as Jesus' "Master") and disregard for anything that would show Jesus did miracles. His healings? According to the author, many people roamed the land providing healings and exorcisms, for a fee. When the people learned that Jesus would do it for free, they flocked to him. Was his walking on water, or calming the weather, not documented anywhere else but in the gospels? The author also does a persistent job of telling us how the 4 gospel books cannot be accepted as historical truth, but rather theological enhancement and flat-out fabrications. He also says that the resurrection is not a historical event, but a matter of faith, so it was not included in this book. He is also persistent about telling us how the book of Mark did not even include that account, though! It was added later.

The best summary of this book is in the last paragraphs. Jesus was a revolutionary zealot who walked across Galilee gathering an army of disciples with the goal of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth, the magnetic preacher who defied the authority of the Temple priesthood in Jerusalem, the radical Jewish nationalist who challenged Roman occupation and lost.

I'm not sure I could recommend this book to anyone. His notes section was more interesting to me, and showed me how much literature is out there regarding the cultural environment of the first century. I would probably enjoy those many books better than I did this one. If you are not firm in your belief in Jesus Christ as God incarnate, then this book will probably muddy the waters for you. But, that is just my opinion.
reviewed Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth on + 491 more book reviews
An excellent detailed writing about the historic, factual Jesus. The author goes into great detail about the history behind the Biblical narrative. Very insightful.
reviewed Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth on + 33 more book reviews
I picked up this book because the author was interviewed on The Daily Show, and I was interested in learning about the cultural environment of first century Palestine, in which Jesus was born. I would say that this author does an adequate job of presenting that history. But, as a Christian, I was constantly wrestling with the author's verbiage ("Jewish cult")(references John the Baptist as Jesus' "Master") and disregard for anything that would show Jesus did miracles. His healings? According to the author, many people roamed the land providing healings and exorcisms, for a fee. When the people learned that Jesus would do it for free, they flocked to him. Was his walking on water, or calming the weather, not documented anywhere else but in the gospels? The author also does a persistent job of telling us how the 4 gospel books cannot be accepted as historical truth, but rather theological enhancement and flat-out fabrications. He also says that the resurrection is not a historical event, but a matter of faith, so it was not included in this book. He is also persistent about telling us how the book of Mark did not even include that account, though! It was added later.

The best summary of this book is in the last paragraphs. Jesus was a revolutionary zealot who walked across Galilee gathering an army of disciples with the goal of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth, the magnetic preacher who defied the authority of the Temple priesthood in Jerusalem, the radical Jewish nationalist who challenged Roman occupation and lost.

I'm not sure I could recommend this book to anyone. His notes section was more interesting to me, and showed me how much literature is out there regarding the cultural environment of the first century. I would probably enjoy those many books better than I did this one. If you are not firm in your belief in Jesus Christ as God incarnate, then this book will probably muddy the waters for you. But, that is just my opinion.
reviewed Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth on + 167 more book reviews
Make no mistake, this book is not a novel. It is an in- depth study by ancient and modern scholars who have written interpretations of the gospels and other historical documents. It was written after two decades of research. Each chapter has several corresponding pages of notes citing other studies and authors, as many as 10 to 20 individuals, who have also scrutinized the history and legends surrounding Jesus. It discusses and analyzes every nuance and debate of the world Jesus lived in, both religious and political. The scholars have all studied the gospels in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Some Greek words are even defined in depth, with several interpretations and their explanations.

This was a difficult book to read. It is important to separate Jesus the human being from Jesus the Christ. The author takes only the human side, and claims many of the stories in the gospels are fabricated, since they were written long after the Crucifixion, and were meant to help spread the religion to the early Christians. Therefore, some of the stories of Jesus had to be enhanced, changed, or made up. One entire chapter dealt only with interpretation of the phrase "the Son of Man."

I appreciated it for the culture and history. However, it made me sad to see so many of my cherished traditions shredded. Beyond that, it is a fascinating treatment of the actual history of first century Palestine. That said, noting that the radical zealot known as Jesus of Nazareth has been all but lost to history, Aslan states, "That is a shame. Because the one thing any comprehensive study of the historical Jesus should reveal is that Jesus of Nazareth - Jesus the MAN - is every bit as compelling, charismatic and praiseworthy as Jesus the Christ. He is, in short, someone worth believing in." That is the last sentence in the book, and leaves the reader with faith intact. D.
reviewed Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth on
Really enjoyed learning more about the history of the time period