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The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
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.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'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