Zealot by Reza Aslan (July 2013)
November 7, 2013 1 Comment
This is the perfect book to read along with Naomi Alderman’s “The Liar’s Gospel”, which is historical fiction about Jesus and Roman occupied Palestine. I listened to the audiobook of Zealot, which, although it’s always interesting and engrossing on some level to hear the actual author speak his book into life, I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend. Aslan is brilliant, but his reading overemphasized, over-dramatized, words and phrases that a trained voice actor would make flow more smoothly. Nonetheless, this book is an eye-opener. Having been raised in a fundamentalist, evangelical household, it’s the sort of book I would have loved to have had as a teenager, to serve up on a silver platter at dinner after the 15-minute prayers had made our meals cold. Not that anyone would have paid no never mind. As another book I review here, “The Righteous Mind”, makes clear, we all are evolutionarily destined to come to our moral and religious conclusions first, based on gut intuitions, and decide (read: rationalize) later, intellectually, why. It’s not as if I had never read Biblical archeology before reading Zealot. I think I already had an above-average knowledge of the Bible and it’s contradictions, as well as some of the actual history. But Zealot covered a lot of new ground for me. It’s well researched, fascinating stuff, for those who want to know who Jesus might actually have been — and even more so, for those who think they already know. Highly recommended.