Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Zealot

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Zealot

Article excerpt

ZEALOT

By Reza Asian (Random House, 2013)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Reza Asian's Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth has stirred up plenty of controversy. Some critics fault Asian for offering an unoriginal and one-sided view of Jesus' life. Others, most infamously Fox News, claim his religious background disqualifies him from writing about Jesus.

Asian attempts to dispel these controversies in the book's opening and closing pages. He opens the book describing how learning about Jesus as a teenager prompted him to study Christianity even though he is--gasp!--a secular Muslim. He closes with an informative notes section detailing his research and pointing readers to scholars offering different interpretations of Jesus' life.

Zealot focuses on what history can tell us about Jesus the man. One by one, iconic scenes from the gospels are cast in a new light. There was no trip to Bethlehem for the census, because Roman censuses counted people where they lived. …

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