Magazine article Anglican Journal

Jesus through a Muslim Lens

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Jesus through a Muslim Lens

Article excerpt

How credible is a book about the historical Jesus written by a Muslim? About as credible as many Christian titles when one considers the wide range of what is available today.

Zealot by Reza Aslan (just out in a paperback edition) is a worthy narrative by an excellent storyteller whose work should appeal to Jew, Christian and Muslim alike. So why has there been such controversy since its first appearance a year ago? This begs some explanation.

Aslan is an American Muslim whose family has secular Iranian roots; as a young boy, he experienced Jesus as Saviour and Lord at an evangelical Bible camp in California. While a university student, he went through a crisis of faith and was helped by Christian mentors to revisit and reclaim his Islamic faith. He could no longer affirm a Jesus by means of a claim to the inerrant scriptures through which he had entered Christianity. Nevertheless, he continued to explore the meaning of Jesus for his own life and, 20 years later, he has "become a more genuinely committed disciple of Jesus of Nazareth than [he] ever was of Jesus Christ."

"My hope," Aslan says in his introduction, "is to spread the good news of the Jesus of history with the same fervor I once applied to the story of Christ."

Reading this book brings the realization that we all look at Jesus through our own eyes and experience, whether we are ordinary lay people or biblical scholars. There are many ways of seeing and interpreting him. Reading the reviews of Asian's hook makes it clear that many would agree or disagree with him depending on the school of thought they presently accept.

What also becomes clear from a reading of the text is that the author is a talented raconteur--if not a biblical historian--whose work is a helpful introduction to the Jesus of history, if it is not all that innovative or original.

The book is divided into three parts of about one-third each. …

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