Christian Scholars Respond to Aslan's "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth"

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Even though Reza Aslan's new book received a boost in sales and notoriety this week, Christian scholars insist it's "nothing new under the sun."

Even though Reza Aslan’s new book received a boost in sales and notoriety this week after being featured on Fox News, Christian scholars insist the book is “nothing new under the sun.” The book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, claims that Jesus was a revolutionary who not only advocated the use of violence, but himself rejected the idea of an incarnate God. Aslan also claims Jesus was condemned and crucified for sedition against the Roman Empire and not for the world’s sin.

But despite the book’s current popularity (it’s in the top 5 on the New York Times bestseller list and a leading Amazon title), prominent Christian scholars say the book shows “nothing new under the sun” when it comes to critiquing the historical Jesus. Philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig said, as was popular in the early 1900s, “Aslan claims that Jesus is historically unknowable and we can never get back to the real Jesus.”

Baylor University professor and writer Alan Jacobs writes in his review, “Aslan makes no new discoveries, and makes no arguments that haven’t already been made — in some cases very long ago.”

Dr. Danny Burk, associate professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, wrote that Aslan “doesn’t take the testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as reliable eyewitness testimony … It is bad history to argue that Jesus’ crucifixion means that he must have been an insurrectionist—especially given what we know about the brutality of the Romans and in particular of Pontius Pilate.”

Professor of New Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary Dr. Greg Carey admits that Aslan is a “spectacular writer” whose portrait of Jesus is “spiritually if not intellectually compelling,” but the author “seems to have bought into an outdated model of Christian development.”

Aslan, who has four degrees in various religion studies, told Fox News that his personal faith journey is recorded in the book, where he found the Bible to be full of contradictions and errors, which compelled him to “discard his faith as if it were a costly forgery I had been duped into buying.”

Read more critiques of the book and Aslan’s comments at The Christian Post.

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  • Costa K

    It is amazing how much these scholars know about Jesus considering he’s “unknowable” and can’t get back to the real Jesus.

  • FireSpeaks

    To say Jesus is unknowable is to say the the gospel is a lie. they reveal who Jesus is on a very knowable level. The fact that a Zealot Muslim write refuting Jesus, is nothing new. Just like communism refuted democracy as unworkable, but it is democracy not communism which lasted. The sad thing is many people will turn from the faith on the strength of this book alone and perish.

    2 Peter 2:1there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord

  • Vincent Aja

    This book Zealot is making headline simply because it was a Muslim who wrote it, but going back to the history one will find out that this was all what the German naturalists have been feeding people in theological institutions for the past two hundred years. Someone should read from “The Modern Search For The Real Jesus” (written by Robert B. Strimple) this wonderful book had exposed many sources that gave us some of the false doctrines that people were still holding unto today as the best way to serve religion, but not the best way that can lead to salvation. This is one book too many Christians would not like/love to read, yet still, it remains the best book that can help someone to understand all the source of the wrong teachings in our faith…. Generally, this book called Zealot has nothing to do with the Jesus Christ of Nazareth of the Bible who is the “Historic Jesus”. The book is only discussing about the “historical Jesus” who could be anything to anybody just as this historical Jesus was created by the scholars who have rejected the “Incarnated Jesus Christ the Lord” of the Gospel of Saint John. Many people who were holding on to that the Gospel of Saint Mark was original Gospel that the other Evangelists had copied from may never knew why they were taught to believe that it was the original Gospel in the seminaries.
    Anyhow, anybody can write any nonsense about the Lord Jesus once this PRINCIPLE of understanding the Bible has been violated.
    Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God (John 3:1-6). No single person in the carnality who can write anything rightly positive in favor of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
    One irony thing is that most people who are buying the book are Christians, and it shows how ignorant most of us (Christians) were when it comes to the knowledge of the Bible. And in other hand, it shows that we ( particularly the leaders in our Churches today.) are not serious nor committed to neatly do work of the Lord. This is true because if we are teaching the people in our Churches from the Word of God instead of fighting one another, and claiming which doctrine is right and not right, when the unbelievers have written anything malicious about faith. It would not be the Christians who will be buying and promoting their evil deeds. I have nothing wrong to say about the young Iranian writer because “It was the rat in the house who told the rat in the bush that there was fish in the house.” One can see from the Fox News that he was asked a question, and his answer was not that he has a relationship with the Lord Jesus, but simply that he had four degrees. So, today, the Christian faith has nothing to do with relationship but with degrees.

  • Ben

    there is a church who call them selves Christian and yet if you ask them are you born again they don’t know what you,r talking about. Why because this group listens every week to a historical Jesus. Any one who does not know Our Lord Jesus in the Spirit does not know him at all.
    here is a Muslim making money using Jesus”s name, and so do other organizations who don”t know Jesus in the Spirit. If any one out there who is reading this post ask your self do I have the Spirit of Christ, you will know beyond doubt. Ben a son of God through Jesus christ

  • idn1

    Aslan, a muslim who wants to have relationship with Jesus as he said on AJstream. He’s full of contraditions.


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