Christians haven’t been thrilled with Reza Aslan’s new book, Zealot: The Life and Times Jesus of Nazareth. His search for Jesus finds a fresh version of the “historical Jesus.” Over the last couple of hundred years the “historical Jesus” seems to sound an awful lot like a politically progressive university professor. Every generation of New Testament scholars discover the “real Jesus.” Current trends help these “scholars” discover Jesus’s true message.
That being said, if you want to dismiss this book as more of the same, here’s a good example of what not to do. On Fox News, Lauren Green spends the whole interview with Reza Aslan calling into question his ability to write the book. Aslan is a Muslim, and Green keeps asking why a Muslim would write about Jesus. Perhaps it’s an interesting side question, but it certainly shouldn’t be the main thrust of the interview.
If Green wanted to slam the book, she should have come with evidence demonstrating the book’s faults, which I hear are plentiful. Instead she came with a list of generic quotations from bloggers and authors who didn’t like it. No substance whatsoever. The interview amounted to: “You’re a Muslim and some people didn’t like your book.” Very unhelpful.
Reza Aslan doesn’t end up looking much better. He relies on credentialism. He keeps saying, “I have a PhD!” Big deal. I know plenty of fools with PhDs. (Though he’s misrepresenting his degrees, according to Matthew Franck.) Green asked some absurd questions, but Aslan should have come up with better responses. Even so, I’ll reluctantly have to award him the win.