What Jesus Wasn't: Zealot

Reza Aslan’s 'Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth' has come to dominate every book sales index in America, and his fifteen Fox-minutes of fame have been viewed by millions.

August 14, 2013 11:57
1 minute read.
Fox interview with Reza Aslan

Fox interview with Reza Aslan 370. (photo credit: Screenshot/ YouTube)

Allan Nadler writes for Jewish Review of Books

Within an hour of its online debut, the number of viewers of Reza Aslan’s now notorious interview with Fox News’ Lauren Green had far exceeded the number of Israelites who crossed the Red Sea under the leadership of the father of all Jewish nationalist zealots, Moses. Aslan was being interviewed on the occasion of the appearance of his book that places Jesus of Nazareth at the top of a long list of subsequent, rabidly nationalist messianic Jewish zealots.

By now, Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth has come to dominate every book sales index in America, and his fifteen Fox-minutes of fame have been viewed by millions. Sales for this “scholarly” book have broken every record in the category of religious studies; the number of stops on Aslan’s current speaking tour is nothing short of staggering; and it will surely require a crack team of number-crunching accountants to calculate the tax debt on Aslan’s royalties and speaking fees.

Given such overwhelming statistics, it is perhaps understandable that Aslan himself appears to be experiencing some problems keeping his numbers, and his facts, straight. That he is numerically challenged was apparent during the Fox interview. No sooner had Green posed the first of her series of preposterous questions, all pondering what might motivate, or justify, a Muslim to publish such a provocative book about her Lord and Savior, than Aslan, with rapid-fire confidence, listed his many alleged scholarly credentials, as a “scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and a PhD in the History of Religions . . . who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades.” He then went on to claim that he was a professor of religious history; that he had been working assiduously on his Jesus book for twenty years; that it contains more than “one hundred pages of endnotes”; and, finally, that Zealot is the fruit of research based on his “study of around 1,000 scholarly books.”

Read the rest of the essay and debate at Jewish Review of Books

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