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Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of…
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Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (original 2013; édition 2014)

par Reza Aslan (Auteur)

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2,2591175,015 (3.87)2 / 146
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's 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.… (plus d'informations)
Membre:oconnellh
Titre:Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Auteurs:Reza Aslan (Auteur)
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2014), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
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Mots-clés:2021

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Le Zélote par Reza Aslan (2013)

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» Voir aussi les 146 mentions

Anglais (115)  Allemand (1)  Toutes les langues (116)
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I am an atheist, but I've always been interested in studying a variety of religions. This book was a terrific review of the religious and political environment in which Jesus was born and raised.

My only complaint about the book is that, after spending an entire book explaining how Jesus was just another preacher and self-proclaimed messiah in an area practically crawling with preachers and self-proclaimed messiahs, the last line of the epilogue is along the lines of "Jesus is a great person to believe in." Really? You just pretty much debunked everything written about Jesus in the New Testament. But, I guess that's faith.

A usual, my review doesn't do this book justice. There are many other better reviews of this book. I recommend reading those. :) ( )
  ssperson | Apr 3, 2021 |
It was a well thought out book, bringing difficult historical topics into conversational tones. ( )
  GretchenCollins | Dec 10, 2020 |
Cette critique a été écrite dans le cadre des Critiques en avant-première de LibraryThing.
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 |
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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.]
ajouté par delan | modifiermetapsychology, 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.
 

» Ajouter d'autres auteur(e)s (11 possibles)

Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Reza Aslanauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Eklöf, MargaretaTraducteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Maestro, Laura HartmanIllustrateurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
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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.
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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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Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's 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.

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