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ZEALOT : The Life and Times of Jesus of…

ZEALOT : The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (urspr publ 2013; utgåvan 2013)

av Reza Aslan

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
2,2311165,061 (3.87)2 / 145
Vi vet inte mycket om Jesu liv, men vi vet säkert att han blev hängd och dog på korset. Och vi vet att det var ett straff som de romerska ockupanterna av Palestina reserverade för statens fiender.Det är utgångspunkten för Reza Aslans biografi över Jesus från Nasaret, mannen som efter sin död, i evangelierna, skulle bli Jesus Kristus. Aslan utgår från det vi faktiskt kan belägga om Jesus och hans tid, och beskriver sedan hur Jesu efterföljare byggde upp bilden av en Jesus som inte bara ville störta överheten utan lika mycket, eller ännu mer, sprida kärleksbudskapet. Av upprorsmakaren blev en religionsgrundare.… (mer)
Titel:ZEALOT : The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Författare:Reza Aslan
Info:New York : Random House, 2013.
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Taggar:Bible, NT, Jesus


Upprorsmakaren : berättelsen om hur Jesus från Nasaret blev Jesus Kristus av Reza Aslan (2013)



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It was a well thought out book, bringing difficult historical topics into conversational tones. ( )
  GretchenCollins | Dec 10, 2020 |
I was greatly disappointed with this book. It had so much potential and failed. I felt that the book had an agenda and, to tell you the truth, it was a bit cowardly in its approach. Maybe someday I will go back and re-read this book but for now I don’t recommend this book. ( )
  Chris177 | Oct 29, 2020 |
This book is a great introduction to the historical origin of the Christian church and Christianity, from which I learned a great deal of basics that I perhaps ought to already know - about the early breach between a judaic Jamesian Christianity and an anti-judaic Paulian Christianity; about the split between rabbinic and nationalistic Judaism; about the principal role of the Roman expulsion of the Jews from Palestine in creating both. That such knowledge is not commonplace helps explain much of the political positions supported by ignorant biblical literalists today.

And yet, Aslan's book is not without controversy. I do not find it controversial because he takes a familiar critique of Jesus' forgotten pro-poor anti-authoritarian message to (what was to me) an unfamiliar conclusion. Rather, it is the manner through which he develops his argument that Christianity as originally conceived by Jesus and his disciples was just another branch of Judaisim. As a non-believing Palestinian born in exile to a Christian family, I have questions about Zealot.

The retelling of the biblical story through a non-believing historical lens results in a book that is harmonious with Islamic interpretations of Jesus' life. There is nothing wrong with that. Nor is there anything wrong with the virtual equivalence between a historical lens and a skeptical-athiest one. What leaves me uncomfortable is the employment of a skeptical lens when when examining Christian belief, in the context of a Jewish belief that is, more often than not, not subject to the same skeptical lens.

I do not find this to be a philosemetic book because of the exoneration of "the Jews" for the crucifiction of Jesus through its historical accounting. The historical argument is compelling and I find all shared religious belief to be inherently dangerous, besides. It is everything that comes before it. (Stories of) violent, barbaric or retrograde Jewish actions and beliefs are explained away because they were so commanded by their vengeful God, instead of taken up with the same historical/critical eye reserved for the development of Christian practice. It is as if Aslan is applying a rather contemporary pro-multiculturalism bias that sees the dominant religion in the West today, Christianity, as requiring scrutiny, so as to make room for ethnic or religious inclusion of others that do not require equivalent scrutiny because they exist today as weak othered minorities in a field of white Christian power.

Furthermore, the notion of a special Jewish connection to Palestinian land is also strongly and uncritically reinforced repeatedly throughout the book. Aslan explains away this theocracy's repeated ethnic cleansing of non-Jews in Palestine as due to their belief that God gave them the land and told them to kill everyone else, leaving unexplored the question of political instrumentalisation of religion. The implication, of course, is that Zionism is not a product of 19th century white European nationalism and colonialism, but indeed a legitimate and true return to Judaism's authentic and therefore reasonable origins. Omitted from mention are the hundreds of years of Ottoman rule during which the large and prosperous Jewish communities of the Arab world never had any inkling to make mass pilgrimmage, let alone move to their supposedly beloved and promised land, despite freedom of movement across the empire.

My status as a layperson who picked up Aslan for an education would probably have been maintained despite the discomfort provoked by Aslan's telling of this story - but for one particular anecdote. I happen to know a factoid about the Persians. The Babylonians who preceeded them were famous for a strong divide-and-rule policy, breaking up conquered peoples and moving them around to different parts of their expanding empire. When the Persians effectively replaced the Babylonians they implemented a very anti-Babylonian multicultural policy that allowed all the empire's constituent peoples to move freely and return to their lands of origin. And yet when Aslan tells the story of Jewish return to Palestine under the Persians he exceptionalises them with a particular post-Holocaust corrective. He imagines the Jews, if not as persecuted, then underestimated as inconsequential and therefore allowed back to 'their' land. I find this curious since I know so little about this history and yet the one thing I happen to know about stands in direct contradiction to Aslan's version. How could I avoid asking myself what else he is twisting?

Aslan is very adept at arguing for a reading and understanding of documents and stories in the context of the political and historical landscape of their time. I wonder how we should read Aslan given his personal histroy in the political landscape of our time? ( )
  GeorgeHunter | Sep 13, 2020 |
I was interested in reading a book about the historical Jesus and this one popped up. Looking into it more before checking it out, I saw there was criticism of this book from biblical historians who apparently have a lot more chops than this author. However, books from those historians were not available... so Zealot it was! I think despite the criticism, this is still a worthy read for someone starting from a blank slate. This is particularly applicable for the section that describes world events at that time, which seem to be the least editorialized part of the book. I was not at all familiar with the history of this time and that alone changed my perspective of the bible, without even discussing Jesus. Ultimately, this book has me interested in digging in a little more, looking into titles that are (apparently) more reputable to better inform myself. ( )
  loaff | Aug 28, 2020 |
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan is the best and most accessible exploration of the historical evidence for the life and mission of Jesus of Nazareth that I’ve read. He renders it an exciting and compelling tale.

I’ve been a fan of Dr. Aslan since I read his book, No God but God, in 2006. I’ve been fascinated by the search for the historical Jesus for much of my life. I couldn’t wait to read Zealot.

I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m already familiar with many of the theories regarding the historicity of Jesus, so most of the evidence presented by Dr. Aslan, and many of the basic ideas in this work, aren’t new to me. What stands out in Zealot is the degree to which Dr. Aslan paints Jesus as a revolutionary. Many theories about the historical Jesus recognize that he was a revolutionary to some degree, but it’s common for such arguments to be qualified — Jesus was a revolutionary even if he didn’t intend to be. Dr. Aslan is convinced that Jesus fully intended to lead an earthly revolution, to oust Rome from Judea and to overthrow the corrupt Temple priests, and to reform Judea into a kingdom belonging to God and the Jews alone.

Dr. Aslan is convinced that Jesus was nothing short of a zealot, one in a long line of Jewish revolutionaries. Dr. Aslan has convinced me, as well.

The historical Jesus is better documented than most people realize: ancient historians such as Josephus and the Roman Plinys, documents such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the reliably historical passages from the New Testament, all serve to inform us of who Jesus might have been. Dr. Aslan is deeply and widely informed on these sources and he synthesizes them into a cohesive picture of the historical Jesus that’s compelling and believable.

I particularly appreciate how well Zealot paints a picture of Judea during the time of Roman occupation. The century from the reign of Augustus Caesar to the Great Revolt of 66 C.E. was one of the most turbulent and violent periods in Jewish history. This is the time when Jesus lived and conducted his mission, yet this historical perspective is almost entirely absent from the New Testament. It’s impossible to understand why Jesus did what he did without anchoring his words and actions in the time and place that he called home. Dr. Aslan fills in this essential context and makes it powerful.

What I find most valuable about this book, however, is Dr. Aslan’s explanation of how and why the historical Jesus was transformed by his followers in the decades after his crucifixion from a failed political revolutionary into a spiritual being unconcerned with earthly matters. Dr. Aslan explores the conflicts that arose between James and Paul, the destruction of Judea by Rome after the Great Revolt, and the necessity in the subsequent Jewish diaspora to distance themselves from the zealous nationalism that led to it.

Even absent Dr. Aslan’s portrait of Jesus, Zealot is a wonderful and concise history of Roman Judea and earliest days of the Christian movement.

Finally, I must note that I’m particularly impressed with Dr. Aslan’s eager acknowledgment of the work of many scholars who disagree with his interpretations of the historical evidence. In the extensive "Notes" section at the end of the book, he presents these contrary opinions and offers several titles for further reading, as well as further resources which agree with his arguments. Such academic honesty is truly refreshing.

For readers who are new to the search for the historical Jesus, I know of no better starting point than Zealot.

For readers who are already familiar with the scholarship in this field, Zealot offers a concise summary of the evidence and a compelling interpretation of it.


UPDATE — November 27, 2014

In the weeks since I read Zealot, I've spent some time exploring the critical reception the work has received. I've noticed something interesting:

Many professional historians are criticizing it rather harshly. In particular, historians who specialize in the study of the historical Jesus, the early history of Christianity, and the classical history of Judaism.

It's been noted that Dr. Aslan's academic credentials—though impressive for what they are—aren't what one would hope for in the author of work focusing on the historical Jesus. In particular, it's been pointed out that Dr. Aslan has never written any peer reviewed works on this subject.

In the world of academic history, that's a big red flag.

And while I'm sure that he has studied the history of the religions of Abraham in greater depth than most people, none of his degrees are history degrees, none granted by accredited history programs. That matters in the world of academia.

A couple of historians I've spoken to about Zealot have taken exception to the style of Dr. Aslan's writing—it's unscholarly. As one put it, “He uses too many adjectives.” He's too eager to resort to extreme and polarizing statements, declaring things “ridiculous,” etc.

He fails to specify which translations are his own and which come from other sources. Regarding which passages from the New Testament he accepts as authentic and which he rejects, he's less than transparent about the methodology he used to make those decisions.

The reality is this—Zealot can't be taken as a work of serious, scholarly history. It suffers from fundamental flaws of methodology and it would never survive peer review.

On the other hand, Dr. Aslan never intended this to be a work of scholarly history...

Looking back, I realize something—it never occurred to me to read Zealot as a work of serious historical inquiry. I never expected it to uphold rigorous academic standards. Being familiar with some of his previous books, I knew that this is pop history and I didn't look for it to be anything more.

Far more than that, I knew that this book was written to provoke. Dr. Aslan writes to challenge orthodoxy—not the orthodoxy of historical scholarship but religious orthodoxy. He writes to tweak the noses of present-day fundamentalists, to oppose the increasing polarization and extremism of religious communities by challenging their core beliefs. This book doesn't occupy the world of history so much as it attacks the world of dogmatic religion.

I enjoy Dr. Aslan's work not as a historian but as a provocateur.

I want his vision of a zealous, revolutionary Jesus to be true. I enjoy this book because I like that idea.

But if multiple professional historians, experts in this field of study, tell me that there are serious flaws in Dr. Aslan's work, I need to take that into account and temper my enthusiasm somewhat.

(If you're interested, my two personal favorite critical reviews of Zealot are these:

"How Reza Aslan's Jesus is giving history a bad name" by John Dickson, from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, August 9, 2013—http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2013/08/09/3822264.htm

"What Jesus Wasn't: Zealot" by Allan Nadler, from the Jewish Review of Book, August 11, 2013—http://jewishreviewofbooks.com/articles/449/reza-aslan-what-jesus-wasnt/) ( )
  johnthelibrarian | Aug 11, 2020 |
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There is a sense in which each "biographer" of Jesus of Nazareth is like my young son: once I finish the work then I will know what the subject looks like. Reza Aslan is no different. He is an Iranian-American writer and scholar of religions and is a contributing editor for The Daily Beast. He is best known as the author of No God but God: The Origin, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages and named by Blackwell as one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. His new book is Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. In a recent interview with The Nation Aslan is asked, Your Jesus is "the man who defied the will of the most powerful empire the world had ever known--and lost." Sounds a bit like Bradley Manning.He answers:

I think you could make a lot of comparisons in that regard. The historical Jesus took on the powers that be on behalf of the poor and the dispossessed, the outcast and the marginalized; he sacrificed himself for a group that most Romans--and the Jewish elite--didn't consider to be real people, much less people worthy of salvation.

Most of his approach is evident in that answer. Jesus, he argues, was outcast and marginalized, probably illiterate, and filled with zeal for the Jewish religion he was born into. He reminds us that the gospels were written after 70 CE, an important date because that is when the Romans returned and destroyed Jerusalem, burning the temple to the ground. The Romans slaughtered thousands of Jews, exiled the rest, and made Judaism a "pariah religion". [Read the interview here.]
tillagd av delan | ändrametapsychology, Bob Lane (Sep 23, 2013)
Zealot reflects wide reading in the secondary literature that has emerged in the scholarly study of the historical Jesus. In that sense, as one colleague of mine puts it, Aslan is a reader rather than a researcher. Aslan’s reconstruction of the life of Jesus invests a surprisingly literalist faith in some parts of the gospel narratives. For example, he argues, against the scholarly consensus, that the so-called “messianic secret” in the Gospel of Mark (a text written four decades after the death of Jesus) reflects an actual political strategy of the historical Jesus rather than a literary device by which the author of that text made sense of conflicting bits of received tradition. His readings of the canonical gospels give little attention to the fact that the writers of these texts were engaged in a complex intertextual practice with the Hebrew scriptures in Greek, that these writers were interested in demonstrating that Jesus fulfilled prophecies written centuries earlier—in short, that the gospel writers were writers with (sometimes modest, sometimes expansive) literary aspirations and particular theological axes to grind. Biblical scholars have, over many decades, sought to develop methods of textual analysis to tease out these various interests and threads.

But Aslan does not claim to be engaged in literary analysis but in history-writing. One might then expect his reconstruction of the world of Jesus of Nazareth to display a deep understanding of second-temple Judaism. Yet, his historical reconstruction is partial in both senses of the term.
Simply put, Zealot does not break new ground in the history of early Christianity. It isn’t clear that any book framed as a “the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth” could, in fact, do so. Indeed, if it had not been thrust into the limelight by an aggressive marketing plan, the painfully offensive Fox News interview, and Aslan’s own considerable gifts for self-promotion, Zealot would likely have simply been shelved next to myriad other examples of its genre, and everyone could get back to their lives. As it is, the whole spectacle has been painful to watch. And as it is with so many spectacles, perhaps the best advice one might take is this: Nothing to see here, people. Move along.
Zealot likewise fits the temper of our times neatly -- too neatly. Aslan's controversial Fox News interview, about whether his Islamic background allows him to write an objective historical account of Jesus, obscures the real problem: the hubris of the professional provocateur.

Aslan has advanced his career -- he is a professor of creative writing, not a historian -- with self-serving criticism of the "demonization" of Islam under the Bush administration. Having fled Iran in 1979 for the United States, he interprets the 9/11 attacks as a clarion call to Muslims in the Middle East to overthrow oppressive regimes. Thus, the Arab Spring is seen as the happy fruit of that horrific event: an unequivocal march toward political freedom. "Across the board," he told Mother Jones, "what has happened is that the regimes in the region now understand that they can no longer just ignore the will of the people." (Aslan has less to say about the pernicious influence of radical Islamist jihad in directing the "will of the people" in Egypt, Syria, Libya and beyond.)
“Zealot” shares some of the best traits of popular writing on scholarly subjects: it moves at a good pace; it explains complicated issues as simply as possible; it even provides notes for checking its claims.

But the book also suffers from common problems in popularization, like proposing outdated and simplistic theories for phenomena now seen as more complex. Mr. Aslan depicts earliest Christianity as surviving in two streams after Jesus: a Hellenistic movement headed by Paul, and a Jewish version headed by James. This dualism repeats 19th-century German scholarship. Nowadays, most scholars believe that the Christian movement was much more diverse, even from its very beginnings.

Mr. Aslan also proposes outdated views when he insists that the idea of a “divine messiah” or a “god-man” would have been “anathema” to the Judaism of the time, or when he writes that it would have been “almost unthinkable” for a 30-year-old Jewish man to be unmarried. Studies of the past few decades — including “King and Messiah as Son of God” (Adela Yarbro Collins and John J. Collins) and my own “Sex and the Single Savior: Gender and Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation” — have overturned these once commonplace assumptions.

There are several other errors, though most are minor.
Scholars and believers alike tend to contrast sharply the founders of Christianity and Islam: Jesus the apolitical man of peace who turns the other cheek; and Muhammad the politician, jurist and general who takes much of the Arabian Peninsula by force. In “Zealot,” Reza Aslan blurs this distinction, depicting Jesus as a “politically conscious Jewish revolutionary” whose kingdom is decidedly of this world.

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.

» Lägg till fler författare (11 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Reza Aslanprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Eklöf, MargaretaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Maestro, Laura HartmanIllustratörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but the sword.
Matthew 10:34
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For my wife, Jessica Jackley, and the entire Jackley clan,

whose love and acceptance have taught me more about Jesus

than all my years of research and study.
Inledande ord
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Author's Note: When I was fifteen years old, I found Jesus.

Introduction: It is a miracle that we know anything at all about the man called Jesus of Nazareth.

Prologue: The war with Rome begins not with a clang of swords but with the lick of a dagger drawn from an assassin's cloak.

Chapter One: Who killed Jonathan son of Ananus as he strode across the Temple Mount in the year 56 C.E.?
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Today, I can confidently say that two decades of rigorous academic research into the origins of Christianity has made me a more genuinely committed disciple of Jesus of Nazareth than I ever was of Jesus Christ.
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Vi vet inte mycket om Jesu liv, men vi vet säkert att han blev hängd och dog på korset. Och vi vet att det var ett straff som de romerska ockupanterna av Palestina reserverade för statens fiender.Det är utgångspunkten för Reza Aslans biografi över Jesus från Nasaret, mannen som efter sin död, i evangelierna, skulle bli Jesus Kristus. Aslan utgår från det vi faktiskt kan belägga om Jesus och hans tid, och beskriver sedan hur Jesu efterföljare byggde upp bilden av en Jesus som inte bara ville störta överheten utan lika mycket, eller ännu mer, sprida kärleksbudskapet. Av upprorsmakaren blev en religionsgrundare.

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