From the internationally bestselling author of "No god but God" comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth.
Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the "Kingdom of God." The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal.
Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God.
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of historys most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry--a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.
Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious "King of the Jews" whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime. Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity.
" Zealot" yields a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told even as it affirms the radical and transformative nature of Jesus of Nazareths life and mission. The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written biography with the pulse of a fast-paced novel: a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time, and the birth of a religion.
Praise for Reza Aslans "No god but God"
A finalist for the "Guardian" First Book Award
"Grippingly narrated and thoughtfully examined . . . a literate, accessible introduction to Islam.""--The New York Times"
"Aslan offers an invaluable introduction to the forces that have shaped Islam in this] eloquent, erudite paean to Islam in all of its complicated glory.""--Los Angeles Times Book Review"
"Wise and passionate . . . an incisive, scholarly primer in Muslim history and an engaging personal exploration.""--The New York Times Book Review"
"Acutely perceptive . . . For many troubled Muslims, this book will feel like a revelation, an opening up of knowledge too long buried."--"The Independent" (U.K.)
"Thoroughly engaging and excellently written . . . While Aslan] might claim to be a mere scholar of the Islamic Reformation, he is also one of its most articulate advocates.""--The Oregonian"