Advertising | Metro Eireann | Top News | Contact Us
Governor Uduaghan awarded the 2013 International Outstanding Leadership Award  •   South African Ambassador to leave  •   Roddy's back with his new exclusive "Brown-Eyed Boy"  •  
Print E-mail

Book Review by Roslyn Fuller

Last update - Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 15:03 By Roslyn Fuller

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth By Reza Aslan (Westbourne Press)  

“Jesus,” my mother used to say, “was a hippy.” “Yes,” my teenage self would faithfully agree, “he was a pretty revolutionary dude.” As it turns out, our speculations were not completely amiss. According to Reza Aslan, a scholar focusing on the history of religion, Jesus was not so much a John Lennon-esque preacher of brotherly love as a veritable Che of the desert.

Aslan’s main premise is that Jesus sought to reform or purify the practice of Judaism in the territory then known as Palestine. In doing so, he was the implacable critic of both the Roman occupying forces and, most interestingly of all, the corrupt manner in which the local organised religion was practiced. Defender of the poor and active go-getter, the historical Jesus was not one to suffer in silence.

While Aslan never actually says so, the impression one is left with is that if Jesus were alive today, he would not under any circumstances be turning the other cheek (Aslan takes apart this particular biblical claim) but probably storming the barricades of the wealthy.

Of course, Aslan’s contention that Jesus was merely a man, and not the Son of God, is bound to prove more controversial in certain circles. Aslan explains in some detail how this myth was grafted onto the story of Jesus after his death, while also clarifying the manner in which the New Testament was created, including the bickering between Jesus’ surviving brother James and the convert Paul, who spread his own interpretation of Jesus’ message to much of the known world.

Needless to say, should you choose to read Zealot – and I highly recommend it – the book will provide you with discussion material for months to come. Quite apart from the religious ramifications, the historical information is riveting unto itself. Aslan’s Greek translations and his historically grounded analysis of biblical passages are fascinating.

My only complaint is that the book seemed a bit dumbed-down for the ‘general audience’, although thankfully not to the point where it becomes a drag to read. On the flip side, Aslan is an author who always has his audience in mind and never fails to explain himself in plain English.

After reading Zealot, I have to agree with Aslan’s own sentiments: I like the historical Jesus a lot better than the religiously sanctioned version.

Latest News:
Latest Video News:
Photo News:
Kerry drinking and driving
How do you feel about the Kerry County Councillor\'s recent passing of legislation to allow a limited amount of drinking and driving?
I agree with the passing, it is acceptable
I disagree with the passing, it is too dangerous
I don\'t have a strong opinion either way
Quick Links