Unfortunately, there isn’t much new here other than Aslan’s slick writing and cinematic sensibilities. In a now-notorious Fox News interview that propelled the book toward the top of the bestseller lists, Lauren Green questioned whether a Muslim should be writing about Christianity’s founder. But the real problem is that Aslan, like thousands of “historical Jesus” experts before him, refuses to say “I don’t know” with anything near the frequency required for the task. He, too, purports to be an intrepid archaeologist for historical truth, excavating the “real” Jesus out of the “propagandistic legend” that has grown up around him. But he, too, remakes Jesus in his own image. …
In short, Jesus was a frustrated Muhammad — a man who, like Islam’s founder, came to revolutionize the world by force yet, unlike Muhammad, failed. This makes for a good read. It might even make for a good movie. Just don’t tell me it’s true.
Stephen Prothero’s Book Review of Reza Aslan’s ‘Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth’
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