In my previous two posts I detailed some of the historical errors in Aslan’s interesting and readable book Zealot. In this post I’ll say some things about mistakes he makes about the New Testament. I’m not sure which kind of mistake is more troubling – the book is dealing both with ancient history and with the accounts of Jesus in the NT, so both history and the Gospels are of central importance. In any event, here is a sampling of the latter.


  • Aslan indicates that Mark is uninterested in both Jesus’ birth and “surprisingly, in Jesus’s resurrection as he writes nothing at all about either event” (p. 29). Of course it is true that Mark begins with Jesus’ adult life and says nothing about his birth. But it’s absolutely wrong to say that he says nothing about the resurrection. Quite the contrary, one need only read Mark 16:1-8 and it becomes clear that Mark both knows about the resurrection and considers it to be of utmost importance. In the narrative, Jesus is dead and buried. On the third day the women go to the tomb. Jesus’ body is not there. A young man at the tomb informs them, explicitly, that Jesus has been raised and that they are to tell the disciples that Jesus will meet them in Galilee. There is no ambiguity here: for Mark’s Gospel, Jesus has been raised and the women have been told about it. What Mark lacks is not a resurrection but an account of Jesus appearing to anyone after the resurrection That’s a very different thing altogether! (That Mark is fundamentally committed to showing his readers that Jesus’ life ended in a resurrection is shown, as well, throughout the Gospel, in the three passion predictions of Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34; in each case Jesus tells his disciples that he will be killed and raised from the dead. He indicates the same thing in 9:9. And so on. To say that Mark doesn’t say anything about the resurrection is not only wrong, it is flatly to misread (or not to read) Mark.


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