Zealot by Reza Aslan


From the internationally bestselling 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 t...

Details Zealot

Release DateJul 16th, 2013
PublisherRandom House (NY)
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Religion, Biography, Christianity

Reviews Zealot

  • Stephanie *Extremely Stable Genius*
    "Hello there! Jesus of Nazareth.....Right?" "Um, yes that's me, and you are?""Stephanie, nice to meet you.""How did you know my name?" Said Jesus "And what the devil is that contraption you're sitting on?""This is a time machine, a lawn mower/laptop, freak lightning strike.....and ta da! Time machine. A friend of mine let me borrow it so that I could come to your time and talk with you. See, I read this book about you and I decided to stop by her...
  • Mario Sundar
    Oh. My. God. I'm just done with Part I of this book, which is a breathless roller-coaster of a narrative that seems to meld the painfully bureaucratic themes of "The Wire" with the ferocity of "Game of Thrones" to describe the world that was Jerusalem under Roman occupation before, during and after the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The author's attempt here, unlike Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, is not to ridicule the contradictions in th...
  • Marina Nemat
    Mr. Aslan has a thesis, and he has written Zealot to prove it. As we soon find out while reading the book, Aslan intends to accomplish his mission at any cost, sometimes even at the cost of betraying logic and the very historical facts he claims to draw his conclusions from.Very early in the book, Aslan clearly lays out his thesis: Jesus was “a zealous revolutionary swept up, as all Jews of the era were, in the religious and political turmoil o...
  • Anne
    3.5 starsThe entire time I'm reading Zealot, I'm seeing this:Ok, ok.So, I really thought this was interesting, especially the all of the cool history-ish stuff that happened before, during, and after Jesus' birth and death.BUT.Occasionally the author comes off like someone who's pissed that once upon a time they got punked by this religion, so not everything comes across as super-duper scholarly. Some of it sounds a bit Ah-hah! See how stupid it ...
  • Marvin
    Let"s face it. Theologians and religious historians will never get along. I am reminded of a scene in Clifford Simaks' clever time travel novel, Mastodonia. The inventor of a patented method of time travel is met by a rabbi, a priest, and a Protestant minister who wants to buy the exclusive rights of travel to the time of Jesus Christ. The inventor says, "That's wonderful. You three can go back and find out the truth about Jesus." But the three h...
  • BlackOxford
    The Contextual JesusThe textual religions of The Book - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - have a common problem. No matter how hard they try, they can’t stop their adherents from interpreting their foundational texts, often in diverse and incompatible ways. Among the interpretations are those which claim to be ‘fundamental’, that is not just logically essential to a coherent theology, but also historically the most primitive and therefore ...
  • Jim Marshall
    I was raised and educated as a Roman Catholic, so I don’t know if people from other faith traditions would be as surprised and grateful as I am for the insightful revelations made in this book about the historical Jesus. Aslan is careful to distinguish this Jesus—the historical Jesus—from the Christ who was constructed almost entirely from the writings of Paul, who had never met or seen Jesus, and whose epistles were written between 20 and ...
  • Joseph
    Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan is a study of the historical Jesus and the Jewish people and their relationship with the Romans. Rez Aslan is an Iranian-American writer and is on the faculty of University of California, Riverside. He came to America in 1979 with his parents who were fleeing the Iranian Revolution. Aslan holds a BA in Religions, a Masters in Theology in from Harvard Divinity, and a PhD in Sociology of...
  • Riku Sayuj
    For the Exhaustive Review: CLICK HERE> In The Shadow Of The Cross: Jesus, before The Christ Once Upon a Time, there was a Great Empire. At its very edges, hardly noticed, was a small region. A minor kingdom in fact. A Theocracy of sorts, now. The Empire was not too concerned about them, but they knew in their hearts that they were the Chosen People. Their religious books and prophesies told them as much. They believed fervently that one day a sav...
  • Alejandro
    Excellent book!Some fellow reader friends recommended me the book and also I noticed the author in a documentary series "Secrets of the Bible" on History Channel since he was one of the people making comments there and identifying him as the writer of this very book. So, I thought that it was destined to read it at some point. Happily I was able to do it sooner that I thought.This is a research book that Reza Aslan, the author, made a 20-years' i...
  • Matt
    Finding Reza Aslan's biography of Jesus of Nazareth was timely, this being the holiest of weeks for many Christians around the world. Some readers are likely familiar with the key events in Jesus' life: family discussions, Sunday School classes, or even sermons at a weekly gathering spot. Taking those repetitive moments in mind when the same stories and lessons were rehashed, Aslan wrestles the story of Jesus away from the documented Gospels (Mat...
  • Hadrian
    Like most people here, I first heard about this book thanks to the stunningly ignorant interview they conducted of the author and the further conspiratorial hit pieces about Jewish bankers performed on him by Glenn Beck in the following days. It goes without saying that these attempts all backfired and the book is now a New York Times bestseller.The main points of his argument can be found in Chapter 10, "May Your Kingdom Come". In it, he summari...
  • Diane
    This is a fascinating look at the historical, social and political context of the First Century in Palestine and of Jesus the man. The information will be familiar to religious scholars, but Reza Aslan writes so well and synthesizes so much knowledge that he makes it accessible to the layperson. The book begins with a touching author's note, which tells how he first became interested in Jesus. It happened when Aslan was attending an evangelical s...
  • Darwin8u
    “...most people in the ancient world, did not make a sharp distinction between myth and reality. The two were intimately tied together in their spiritual experience. That is to say, they were less interested in what actually happened, than in what it meant." ― Reza Aslan, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of NazarethLet me just throw in here now that Fox skeptics need not worry, while this book was written by a Muslim, it wasn't written by ...
  • jordan
    Reading Reza Aslan's short history of Islam, "No God but God," one quickly understood the book's purpose. As a Western educated theologian, Aslan wished to take Islam back to its roots. He sought to compose a portrait of the prophet Mohammed that was enlightened and egalitarian. Likewise, by "contextualizing" early Islam, he sought to redefine certain key terms, as well as crack the veneration of the prophet that has with the centuries has grown ...
  • Erin
    I've been told that this book is controversial, that's why I wanted to read it. I don't read many religion related books, because I don't really believe in religion. I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school the majority of my school aged years. I believe in God and I follow the basic tenets of Biblical teachings, but I no longer consider myself Catholic. In my experience religion divides more than it unites. Just look at the conflicts in...
  • William2
    I’ve been looking for someone like either Karen Armstrong and/or Elaine Pagels, whose works I have devoured. It’s funny, I guess it’s because I’ve heard him on TV so often, but I can hear Aslan’s professorial voice as I read—a bit of synesthesia. I think of this as exegesis for the non-religious person who nevertheless finds the complex history of Christianity–and monotheism generally—a fascinating area of inquiry. I particularly ...
  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, Reza Aslan Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth is a book by Iranian-American writer and scholar Reza Aslan. It is a historical account of the life of Jesus and analyzes the various religious perspectives on Jesus as well as the creation of Christianity. Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish wha...
  • Jaidee
    3 fascinating yet frustrating stars !This was a fascinating book that was well-researched but the layout was very frustrating to me. The notes were all at the end (in the ebook- and I wish that they were footnoted throughout the book to give greater clarity and breadth as I was reading).The other great difficulty I had was most of this book was conjecture but often not labeled as such. (or did not remind reader of this in a more measured and cons...
  • Jason
    The author seeks to balance the Jesus of the gospels with the “historic Jesus.” It is important for readers to know this, as it impacts the possible reception of the book.As a believer in Christianity, I hold the words of the Bible in high regard, believing scripture to be true. “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be comple...
  • Jan-Jaap van Peperstraten
    Aslan is a good writer, he knows how to put an exciting yarn on paper. He is, unfortunately, also a poor theologian and "Zealot" certainly doesn`t do what it says on the tin. "Zealot" is riddled with factual errors and based on an extremely limited selection of verses from the hypothetical Q-source. Anything not fitting in his fairly idiosyncratic interpretation of the life and meaning of Jesus is either "inauthentic", "christian projection" or s...
  • Jimmy
    Let me start off on a tangent. I've been watching some Reza Aslan clips on YouTube and been really pleasantly surprised by some of his perspectives. This one for example:Q: As a historian and scholar, as you read all this, how can you still believe any of these religions?A: I don't believe in a religion, I believe in God. The only reason that I call myself a Muslim is because the symbols and metaphors that Islam uses to talk about God are ones th...
  • Roger DeBlanck
    Dr. Reza Aslan sets forth at once a fascinating, insightful, and impassioned study of the historical life of Jesus. In portraying Jesus as a man with all his lifelike faults and ambitions, Aslan brings us closer to understanding the individual who became known as Christ better than any scholarly investigation before. The focal thesis of this impressive biography is to put Jesus in the context of his time period and reveal him as a man of substant...
  • peter
    some interesting things I learned in this book about Jesus the man:- Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. - Nazareth was a small village but he had to often travel to the big metropolis close by, so he saw the rich/poor gap.- Jesus was a radical Jewish nationalist, who opposed the Roman occupation of his homeland. He also hated his fellow Jews who were in higher positions who were basically puppets of the Romans and made money off of it.- N...
  • Jason Koivu
    Jesus was no messiah, but rather a kind of zealous bandit. This is what you will take away from biblical scholar Reza Aslan's Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.After having read the book, I can't disagree with his conclusions. Not everything Aslan proposes rings true or is backed with solid evidence. But hey, we're talking about a sketchy 2000 year old history here! No matter where you stand on the topic, a lot of so-called "facts" ...
  • Tom LA
    Informative and engaging summary of recent scholarship positions on the historic Jesus. I wish they had taught me this during my catholic school years. Not that it changed anything for my spiritual life as a catholic, but the point is, this is very important information to have stored in your head and to connect with everything else you know about Christianity. Aslan sometimes sounds like a lawyer trying to make his case, but he is also honest en...
  • Jan Rice
    There are some reasons I can't review this book as I normally would, say, by summarizing chapters and key concepts.Once a month for three months (one each for Parts I, II and II) I led a discussion group on it, so I gave it a close read. It turned out that what that entailed was figuring out and recording what Aslan was saying in each chapter, no easy task. I set myself the task of recording what he was saying and only then noting concerns, confu...
  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    Nothing new to offer here. Only thing I enjoyed was pissing off my Christian friends sitting in range of my audiobook
  • Greg
    I have read quite a lot of books written by Scripture scholars attempting to "unpack" both the First and Second Testaments (a more respectful way of saying "Old" and "New" Testaments), and this ranks as one of the very best.Why!1) It is very approachable. Mr. Aslan may be a scholar -- and he is a very good one! -- but he is also a novelist at heart. In the first part of his book he takes information from many disparate sources and introduces us t...
  • Maryellen
    This book was an interesting and consuming read, intriguing and challenging to what I've known about Jesus and Christianity. I'm certain it will get a lot of press and be vilified by some readers for the questions it brings into focus about the development of Christianity. Having said that I think that the author does an extraordinary job in researching his subject and trying to pull together a historical picture of what the man called Jesus's li...