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Home » Books » Religion » Christianity » Theology » History


The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

By Reza Aslan

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Format: Paperback, 318 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 03 March 2014
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic figures by examining Jesus within the context of the times in which he lived: the age of zealotry, an era awash in apocalyptic fervour. Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against historical sources, Aslan describes a complex figure: a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity secret; and the seditious 'King of the Jews', whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his lifetime. Aslan explores why the early Church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary, and grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself. Zealot provides a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told. The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written biography with the pulse of a fast-paced novel, and a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time and the birth of a religion.

Table of Contents

Contents: Map: First-Century Palestine xiii The Temple in Jerusalem xv Author's Note xvii Introduction xxiii Chronology xxxiii Part I Prologue: A Different Sort of Sacrifice 3 Chapter One: A Hole in the Corner 10 Chapter Two: King of the Jews 17 Chapter Three: You Know Where I Am From 25 Chapter Four: The Fourth Philosophy 34 Chapter Five: Where Is Your Fleet to Sweep the Roman Seas? 46 Chapter Six: Year One 57 Part II Prologue: Zeal for Your House 73 Chapter Seven: The Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness 80 Chapter Eight: Follow Me 90 Chapter Nine: By the Finger of God 103 Chapter Ten: May Your Kingdom Come 115 Chapter Eleven: Who Do You Say I Am? 127 Chapter Twelve: No King but Caesar 146 Part III Prologue: God Made Flesh 163 Chapter Thirteen: If Christ Has Not Been Risen 172 Chapter Fourteen: Am I Not an Apostle? 183 Chapter Fifteen: The Just One 197 Epilogue: True God from True God 213 Acknowledgments 217 Notes 219 Bibliography 273 Index 283


About the Author

Reza Aslan is an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions. His first book, 'No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam' was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and was named by Blackwell's as one of the hundred most important books of the last decade. He is also the author of 'How to Win a Cosmic War: Confronting Radical Religion', as well as the editor of 'Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East'. Aslan is currently associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. The author lives in Los Angeles, USA


'Aslan's riveting biography ... synthesises Scripture and scholarship to create an original account' The New Yorker 'A lean, fast-paced account of First Century Palestine, often revealing and always finely written, which attempts to locate Christ within his historical landscape. It deserves special praise for the endnotes, which dispense with page references in favour of informal essays, and provide an overview of the whole field of contemporary "Christology".' Nicholas Blincoe, The Telegraph 'A vivid, persuasive portrait of the world and societies in which Jesus lived and the role he most likely played in both ' Salon 'Carefully comparing extra-biblical historical records with the New Testament accounts, Aslan develops a convincing and coherent story of how the Christian church, and in particular Paul, reshaped Christianity's essence, obscuring the very real man who was Jesus of Nazareth. Compulsively readable and written at a popular level, this superb work is highly recommended.' Publishers Weekly 'A well-researched, readable biography of Jesus of Nazareth' Kirkus 'Aslan brings a fine popular style, shorn of all jargon, to bear on the presentation of Jesus of Nazareth ... [Y]ou don't have to lose your religion to learn much that's vitally germane to its history from Aslan's absorbing, reader-friendly book.' Booklist (starred review) 'A bold, powerfully argued re-visioning of the most consequential life ever lived' Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief 'This is a special and revealing work, one that believer and sceptic alike will find surprising, engaging and original' Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power '[A] tough-minded, deeply political book' San Francisco Chronicle 'If little is certain about Jesus's life, rather more is known about his times, which Aslan evokes with commendable diligence. Zealot becomes, in part, a handy primer of first-century Middle Eastern history. - Aslan clearly admires Jesus, and, at the risk of inflaming the wrath of Fox News, his freedom from any obligation to buy the son-of-God stuff permits fresh and refreshing contemplation - At its core, Zealot is a gentle dispute with the modern notion of Jesus, whom we are generally encouraged to perceive as a forgiving and boundlessly tolerant sort.' New Humanist

EAN: 9781908906298
ISBN: 1908906294
Publisher: The Westbourne Press
Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 2.8 centimetres (0.20 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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3 review(s)
All Reviews
Richard on
A good informative read for the confirmed atheist I am
Pamela on
What a great book! While it is obviously quite scholarly, it is also an easy read and never once lacks interest. It gives a quite different point of view on Christ's background and his original intentions. I found of particular interest the relationship between Christ's brother James and his apostle Peter. Who would have guessed there could have been so much friction between the members of the church at such an early time. I would recommend this book to anyone who has even the remotest interest in the origins of the Church, and in Christ in the context of his times.
Josephine on
Thoroughly recommend this book, read just for the historical information alone even. Liked very much Ezra Aslan's style of writing, reader friendly, totally captivating, interesting and fascinating look at the life and times of Jesus.A really new look and perspective on my vision of the man he may have been.Sensitively and respectfully written for all faiths to read and not be offended I believe.

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