Aslan Zealot: A Deeper Evaluation of the Thesis Itself

 

I have not completed my evaluation of Reza Aslan’s popular, interesting, and well-written account of Jesus, Zealot.   To this point I have merely tried to show that despite his claims (e.g. in the Fox News interview) of being an expert who is qualified to write such a book, he is not an expert – in the ancient world, in the New Testament, in the Gospels, or in the historical Jesus.   When I began this discussion I understand that ...

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Mistakes about the New Testament in Aslan’s Zealot

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 ...

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More Historical Mistakes in Aslan’s Zealot

In this post I would like to continue with some of the historical mistakes in Aslan’s Zealot. When reading these, do bear in mind that I also had positive things to say about the book.

As in the previous post, I would like this one to focus on historical errors, or historical claims that have no basis in either our ancient sources or modern scholarship. I will not be discussing, in this post, the mistakes Aslan has ...

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Aslan’s Zealot: Historical Mistakes

Yesterday I pointed out some of the features of Reza Aslan’s Zealot that I found to be commendable. In the next series of posts, starting with today’s, I’ll be pointing out the problems. There are lots of them. Some readers of the blog have objected to my (repeatedly, I’ll grant) pointing out that Aslan is not an expert. Now I’ll try to show why that is both obvious and unfortunate. There are mistakes scattered throughout the book. I’d ...

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Aslan’s Zealot: Some Positive Comments

I begin my assessment of Reza Aslan’s Zealot by saying a few things about what I appreciate about the book. In subsequent posts I will talk about the mistakes that pervade it, and about my view of the overarching thesis that Jesus was principally a zealot in favor of a violent insurrection against the Romans.

But first, the positives. As everyone has said, over and over again, the book is extremely well written. It reads more like a novel ...

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About the Blog and Two Clarifications about Reza Aslan’s Zealot

 

Yesterday I resumed my posts on Reza Aslan’s best-selling hit Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and plan to have several more posts on it, as I explain what I like about the book and about what problems I see in it.  But I need to take care of a couple of other concerns first, before launching into a direct discussion.

The first has to do with this blog.   A number of people on my facebook ...

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Aslan’s Zealot: To Start With…

I have promised for some time to make some comments on Reza Aslan’s bestselling reconstruction of the historical Jesus: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. And now the time is come. As I’ve indicated in my earlier posts, I had my first-year students in my seminar “Jesus in Scholarship and Film” read the book and make an evaluation of it. Most of the students thought very highly of it. In particular they thought it was ...

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Jesus Final Exam

I have just finished grading my final exams for my undergraduate first-year seminar, Reli 070, “Jesus in Scholarship and Film.” I don’t ever recall teaching an undergraduate class that I enjoyed more. This was an amazingly bright and engaged group of twenty-one first-year students. The exams were superb – the best bunch I’ve ever seen. Some of them were stunningly good. (A few of the students are on the blog: you done good!)

For the exam, I gave the students the ...

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Video: Ehrman & Evans 2012 Debate – Part 2

Ehrman-Evans-2012-debate

A couple of weeks ago I posted a debate that I had with Craig Evans, an evangelical Christian New Testament scholar.   That debate was held at Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia.   The next night we had a second debate — on the same topic (!) but in a different location, at Acadia University, where Craig currently teaches in the Acadia Divinity College.   The topic, ...

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Jesus the Magician

Some of you will be familiar with the work of Morton Smith, especially on the “Secret Gospel of Mark.” I may have posted a few bits on it at some point. Smith was a brilliant scholar, always the smartest guy in the room. And he knew it. He had a rapier wit and was not afraid to use it. He regularly bloodied people – even internationally famous scholars – who disagreed with him. I met him only a couple of ...

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