Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
by Reza Aslan
An itinerant Jewish preacher and a miracle worker walked across the Galilee gathering followers to establish what he called the "Kingdom of God." The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal.
Within decades after his death, his followers would call him God.
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. 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. Few figures better exemplified this principle than the Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.
Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious "King of the Jews" whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his lifetime. Aslan explores the reasons the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity.
- adapted and revised from publisher
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