Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Unabridged)
by Reza Aslan
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From the internationally best-selling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Two-thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker 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 captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal. Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God. Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry - a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy. Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious "King of the Jews" whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime.
Great history lesson. I cannot stop marveling at how intense the times were when Jesus walked the earth. Reza has really opened my eyes, a brand new opening of sorts, not only pertaining to Jesus, but to the cruelty of the Roman officials as well. What a time that was. This book was absolutely inspiring.
Good Book (Listened to the audio version)
Clearly several of the reviewers missed the point of the book.
Mr. Aslan's book is excellent -- well researched, interesting, and insightful -- a captivating history of Jesus' life and times.
I am disturbed by the reflexively negative reviewers who seem to base their criticism (of a book I suspect some have not actually read or listened to) on Mr. Aslan's identity as a Muslim. He is a well-respected scholar of all religions. And do the naysayers realize that Mr. Aslan was, at one point, himslef an Evangelical Christian?