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Best-selling book about Jesus sparks media firestorm

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  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 30, 2013 4:10 p.m.

    'Controversial' interview? Not really. The reporter was kind of dense about it and hung up on one point but the author managed to move the process forward in spite of her.

  • Philosopher Goose Creek, SC
    July 30, 2013 4:44 p.m.

    I believe underlying anger of the interviewer might stem from a Christian outraged at the thought of the Savior being turned into a mere man...applauded for his contribution to society, but still described as only a mere man in history.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    July 30, 2013 4:45 p.m.

    Either Jesus is who He said he is, the Son of God, or the grandest of all hoaxes. The scriptures are replete with the claims he made to be the Messiah, the Son of God. One cannot separate his spiritual nature (Son of God) from his teachings. To say he was anything but the Savior would make Him a consummate liar. I don't believe He was a liar, but that he WAS, and is, the Word of truth.

    I for one believe He was who he said He was. The literal offspring of God the Father and mortal Mary. He taught revolutionary doctrine, it is true. It was revolutionary to teach us to seek for peace, to love our enemies, and treat others as we would like to be treated. It was also revolutionary that He gave His life freely for our good. His teachings about human nature are transcendent. His teachings about spirituality, spiritual growth, & consequences are also above anything that has ever been written.

    He is the creator of this earth and, through His crowning atonement, the father of our salvation. In other words without Him there would be not hope for us. None.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    July 30, 2013 5:33 p.m.

    If Christ was a jewish nationalist why then did he dodge the question when asked if it was lawful to give tribute to Ceasar? He could have said a lot about not paying tribute, but he didn't. He also could have taken a more hardline stance when interrogated by Pilate.

    I saw a youtube video where a speaker said that jesus only claimed toi be the Messiah in John and therefore, it was not really Christ who claimed to be the Messiah, rather it was John who made it up. Then I opened up Matthew and looked at his trial by the Sanherdrin in Matthew. The Sanhedrin were pretty convinced that he said he was the Messiah in Matthew.

    I haven't seen the interview, but sometimes people claim to make new discoveries about Christ or the Bible based on made-up facts that don't stand up to examination.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    July 30, 2013 5:38 p.m.

    Can you accept that nobody is required to believe as you do?

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2013 5:59 p.m.

    Wow...I think I will write a book about Muhammad as written by a Christian and ex-toll that he was nothing more than a mere man, not even a prophet! And then cash in with a Liberal radio station tour!

    The problem with my theory is that, No one that can afford a book listens to NPR or watches a liberal TV station, it wasn't until she went on Fox news, that anyone shelled out money to buy her ludicrous assertion!

  • Love skiing Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2013 5:59 p.m.

    The bible was written 100 years after Jesus and it was inline with what they believe then. We are way smarter today with all the information and research that has been done. The bible was also written by man, the most corrupt and ruthless creature on this planet. I choose to believe in science and not a deity. If someone believe in him, more power to you. We just need to respect each and every belief system and don't knock other about it. If it's not for you or me, it's for someone else. Love and respect for each other goes a long way.

  • donahoe NSL, UT
    July 30, 2013 7:34 p.m.

    The PhD degree is based on a dissertation, coursework and, needless to say, many exams. The coursework is usually focused on one academic discipline. However, the dissertation can focus on academic topics that defy traditional academic departments. Therefore, it may not make sense to pin a scholar to one conventional discipline, especially if his or her publications form a tapestry - such as good scholarship connects a range of topics into a whole. Historians, for example, write about scientists, politicians, military conflicts and a whole host of topics.

    I like to remind folks of the ancient Jain parable of the blind men and the elephant. There is only one elephant. Your viewpoint should not matter.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    July 30, 2013 7:48 p.m.

    re: Hutterite

    I heard that Aslan pretty much stymied & perplexed the Fox reporter. That would have been priceless to see after all the belligerence and Springer like tactics used by O'reilly and the lot.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2013 7:59 p.m.

    to Philosopher...

    Your thought remind od the following attributed Pope Leo X, "It has served us well, this myth of Christ."

    re: Tekakaromatagi

    "why then did he dodge the question when asked if it was lawful to give tribute to Ceasar?"

    Matt 22:21 isn't dodging it.

    "The Sanhedrin were pretty convinced that he said he was the Messiah in Matthew. "

    Confirmation and/or hindsight bias, perhaps?

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    July 30, 2013 8:08 p.m.

    to: very concerned

    That is easy. It is a hoax.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    July 30, 2013 8:33 p.m.

    I believe in Christ, as my posting hopefully indicated. But I hope I am not being overbearing. Yes, people are free to disagree, to not believe as I do. That is the greatness of our constitution, one of the few governing documents in the world to guarantee that right.

    But what's more than the constitution, there is the idea of agency, in which all are free to choose their beliefs and actions. I believe we are not just animals. We actually have a will to use as we see fit. We hopefully quickly learn that our beliefs and (because beliefs usually lead to actions as night follows day) actions have consequences.

    Yes, you and I are free to believe and act as we like. Not so much how things turn out after we have acted, but indeed still free.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    July 30, 2013 8:39 p.m.

    It is impossible to "prove" the divinity of Christ solely from the records that we have. Fortunately, we have access through the witness of the Holy Spirit to know of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Since I have that witness, some of these different positions might be interesting but most of it is "straining at gnats" and tediously boring.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    July 30, 2013 9:15 p.m.

    Love skiing: Without God there is no respect and love. It is clever to state that you can be an atheist that understands love and respect, but without God there is only man's standard for 'love and respect', a sorry condition if there ever was one. Without God, the world is replete with man's definition of what constitutes love and respect, every one from Hitler to Karl Marx were concerned with 'love and respect', and stated so, only to use the power gained from such bogus propaganda to destroy millions of laws. All it takes is enough people to believe in man's definition of 'love and respect' to begin the march toward Gomorrah and destruction of unalienable rights.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 30, 2013 9:26 p.m.

    This is all just way overblown. Jewish. Christian, and atheist scholars write about Islam. No problem with it going the other way.

  • LRenayHawk La Vegrne, TN
    July 30, 2013 9:59 p.m.

    I have not read 'Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth' but I now do want to read this fascinating book.
    As for Dr. Aslan's creds: he did receive a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology of Religion from the University of California, Santa Barbara as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University, a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction.
    Now, what some people may or may not know is that History as well as Sociology, although not the same, however, are both a social science and humanities - academically speaking.

    Regardless, Dr. Aslan has the right to research, study and even write about Christianity as a Christian can research, study and write about Islam or Paganism or Harry Potter.

  • Vladhagen Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2013 10:22 p.m.

    Any religion or man that could be fully and scientifically described by mortal man would make me very hesitant to become involved in such a belief system. The whole point of God and Jesus Christ and religion is that it is higher than we are. When we try to apply our own opinions and scholarship to such a subject as religion, we will ultimately always fall short. If Jesus Christ has the power to overcome death, how possibly could we believe that he somehow is petty and simple enough for anyone, Christian, Muslim, Jew, complete hater, disenchanted pagan, scientist.....to depict fully in a book?

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    July 30, 2013 10:38 p.m.

    Speaking of my savior in these types of books makes me sad. Not mad. But sad. It's a shock value world these days.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    July 30, 2013 10:40 p.m.

    This book is nothing new in terms of the Muslim POV vs. Christainity. The Dome of the Rock has writing in Arabic proclaiming that "Jesus is not the son of God". Walking up the street in Nazareth to the Church of the Nativity is a banner in English and Arabic saying the same. Aside from Muslims, there are millions the world over eager for any "scholarly" work saying Jesus is not the Son of God.

    I don't care if Aslan has 10 PhD's or reams of footnotes. The Bible is not the kind of book that can be "sourced". You either believe it or you don't. For me, the most tangible evidence is that the teachings really do have the power to change individuals and change the world. We've tried hate and revenge. Forgiveness and unconditional love are the only answers to what troubles the world.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    July 30, 2013 10:43 p.m.

    @LRenayHawk,

    I totally agree Aslan can research or write whatever he likes. But is he writing this work as a Fiction writer or Historian? How do you "source" the Bible? The most you can do is cite someone's "opinion" of historicity.

  • liberate Sandy, UT
    July 30, 2013 11:12 p.m.

    At least Aslan can be comfortable in the fact that whatever he says about Jesus, and really whatever he says, no matter how controversial, he does not have to worry about assassination attempts on his life. Unfortunately the same cannot be said if writing about the senior leader of Aslan's own faith, recognizing Aslan himself would never engage in such activities.

  • JapanCougar Apo, AP
    July 31, 2013 2:13 a.m.

    I'm not too impressed by the author. He came across as very defensive and extremely caught up in the fact that he has a PhD.
    Big deal! A lot of people have PhDs, and a lot of these people are very opinionated.
    The assumption that scholars aren't incredibly biased is false.

  • scwoz gambier, oh
    July 31, 2013 5:11 a.m.

    Simply put he is wrong in many of his assertions about Jesus but where he is wrong, the most is that he does not believe Christ is the Son of God, the Atoning one. Without that belief it does not matter what he says of Christ, let him preach on, as did the Sadducees and the Pharisees of old. Christ is the Son of God and our Savior that is all that matters. Jesus loves us and wants us to return home with him to live as a family for eternity.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    July 31, 2013 5:46 a.m.

    Aslan's claims are nothing new, and I don't understand the sudden shock we're all supposed to experience from it. It's been a suggestion (including the Jews and Romans that crucified him) that Christ was a zealot caught up in an era of zealots. One theory on why Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ is that Judas was a zealot who wanted to see Christ rise as Messiah and literally take charge of a government and a new holy state.

    That these pressures were present in Christ's time provide us with an opportunity to appreciate just how "radical" Christ's teachings were, when he said to ignore the temporal and attend to the Spiritual.

    We, as Christians, could learn something from His teachings, living in an era of politically charged unrest. It's time to stop rising to outrage, and confidently turn the other cheek.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    July 31, 2013 5:59 a.m.

    I thought Lauren Green became a bit unnecessarily defensive toward the end of the interview, but other than that I thought she asked so good questions and the interview was interesting.

    I'd like to see how a devout Muslim would conduct an interview of an Evangelical Christian who had written a book entitled Zealot: The Life and Times of Muhammad.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 31, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    Only an LDS author really knows Jesus.
    This so-called "scholarship" is sad.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    July 31, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    to eastcoastcoug

    ("The Bible is not the kind of book that can be "sourced".)

    If it is full of fictional characters & events then you are right.

    (the teachings really do have the power to change individuals and change the world)

    Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition or the crusades.

  • ken12s North Salt Lake, UT
    July 31, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    History is written by the victors, in this case the Christian Church, in particular the Catholic Church. Myths get written into the history books all the time. The Bible (New Testiment) is no exception . The books of the New Testiment were collected for 300 years by semi-educated people and then in 300 C.E. gathered up by the new Roman State religion the Catholic Church and turned into the religion they wanted. It is obvious by the thousands of errors/contridictions in the New Testiment that they did not do a very good job. So anyone that believes that the New Testiment is completely factual and the true word of God and that Jesus is all the Bible claims he is is not living in the real world. If you are one of those people? I have some oceanfront property in Nevada I would like to sell you.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 31, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    Lord, Savior, and Redeemer were what Jesus was made into by adherents who needed to salvage a victory from his crucifixion at the hands of Pilate. The question of whether Jesus was God or man were consuming issues in the early church and were still being debated three centuries later at the Nicaea Council of 325 AD. The trinity solution to the question demonstrates how strained the Bishops were to create the unified belief system Constantine insisted upon in convening the council in the first place.

    Was Jesus a Jewish nationalist? Why, the very concept of Messiah was inextricable from Jewish hope for the restoration of their sovereignty. The coming of the Kingdom of God was the recurrent theme in Jesus’ teachings. That doesn’t necessarily make Jesus a political insurrectionist. But his kingdom may have been more of this world than the author(s) of John found themselves able to acknowledge.

  • 9MM Murray, UT
    July 31, 2013 10:02 a.m.

    It's a good thing that for spiritual things you do not have to rely on academics or the opinions of men, no matter how many accolades they have received by other men. Spiritual things can only be discerned by spiritual means. If you want to know if Jesus of Nazareth is who he claimed to be - then you must ask God in prayer, and or prove the word by trying it in your life. Seek your own witness, that is the only way I know to learn God's will in this life. Every other method is an open and endless debate by mortal men with narrow views and gross ignorance of eternity.

  • Woody Newbury Park, CA
    July 31, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    John said "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written."

    I presume there are many things that would round out the life and times of Jesus. I don't think he was a nationalist like the author paints him to be. There are wild leaps to jump to that conclusion from what we know of him. I am delighted that Jesus becomes the basis for a best seller -- AGAIN.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 31, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    @bandersen – “Without God there is no respect and love”

    Good point… the process God started whereby our morals evolved over millions of years (see Evolution of Morality Wikipedia page for a quick summary) is quite impressive, and the foundation of empathy this process fostered certainly got us to where we are today.

    Or was your point that we were all stealing, raping, murderous savages until some rules were chiseled on a stone tablet?

  • 9MM Murray, UT
    July 31, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    I have often heard that history is written by the victors. And yes I do believe that in general, world history is written and therefore viewed by the victors perspective. This I believe has caused much confusion regarding modern Christian Scripture, (Bible & Book of Mormon)The Old Testament is the surviving documents of a society that lost to the powers around it. The New Testament was written by a society that probably lasted not much more than 130 years, again the political losers. Oddly however the surviving scriptures of these loosing societies were adopted by the winning political group that was far afield and removed from the beliefs and practices of their nativity, and even though later European societies claimed the Bible as their spiritual guide it is quickly proved to not be the case. Greed and political power were the principle tenants, thus enabling such horrible atrocities as inquisitions, and barbaric wars with those of differing beliefs to increase wealth and dominion as well as to solidify political standings of kings and clergymen.
    Put pointedly, the scriptures that testify of Christ do not source from the winners.

    To sum up, modern Christian Scripture was written by the political losers.

  • rnoble Pendleton, OR
    July 31, 2013 10:42 a.m.

    Many times PHD really stands for "piled higher and deeper".

    Historical study of religions whether in the guise of social studies or cultural studies or historical studies or what ever is often buttressed by the assimilation of many layers of opinion concerning events that definitely get piled higher and deeper. The real answers are individual in nature and a realized only when one wants to know the truth with the true intention of becoming a better servant of God. And said real answers are limited naturally to the particular idea or principle being studied. To obtain additional true answers it is necessary to seek further again and again; never being satisfied with the current state of knowledge and always realizing one could be and should be more subject to the will of God willingly and energetically.

    Jesus is the Son of God. He is God. He is our Savior and Redeemer and all this I know because of my individual investigations into specific principle and doctrine and receiving spiritual answers from and through the Holy Spirit. For me that is ALL that matters. And I hope others will believe me enough to make their own investigations.

  • Healthy Skeptic Saratoga Springs, UT
    July 31, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    LOL...yet another entrepeneur seeking to build a cash cow. How many more ways can you twist a thousand or so words spoken centuries ago and reported second-hand well after the fact? We are perfectly capable of reading those words ourselves and drawing our own conclusion...the opinion of really smart people notwithstanding. Whether the Jesus of Nazareth described in the New Testament was illiterate or not...a condition that was probably more common than not...is irrelevant. He demonstrated a keen knowledge of the scriptures of the day...probably better than this self-proclaimed expert author. The subject is overwrought and tired, but will guarantee wealth for the author.

  • COUGARNATE Lyman, WY
    July 31, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    Why is everyone getting so upset that a Muslim is trying to tear down Jesus? The Muslim world has been doing this for centuries, they believe in their religion, and in order for Islam to be correct Christianity has to be false, so of course they are going to try and tear down the Savoir of the world. People just need to stay strong in their belief and let others do the same. Personally I know that Jesus is the Son of God and is the Savior of the entire world.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    July 31, 2013 10:50 a.m.

    JapanCougar says: "The assumption that scholars aren't incredibly biased is false."

    Are we to assume then that scholars are always biased? Assumptions in general are poisonous, aren't they?

    I'm also not sure who is more strangled by bias; the highly educated or the highly religious. The highly educated may tend to think they have more hard information than others, so their opinion is unassailable. The highly religious may tend to believe (or "know") that they got a warm fuzzy feeling about stuff in their bosom, so their opinion is unassailable.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 31, 2013 10:51 a.m.

    I have to wonder why such a hateful book was written in the first place? The author (A devout Muslim) has the right to publish any thing he wants ...freedom of the press. However I am surprised at how excited the so-called main stream media is about this book as well as leftist liberals everywhere. A book comes out that trashes Jesus and calls him a fraud and liberals get all excited. I think this says a lot about the state of the union today in America and how far this country has fallen from its founding Christian principles. Pretty sad and actually quite scary. One nation under God? Not any more. America is becoming more and more atheistic and especially anti-Christian. I see a day in the not too distant future where the out right persecution of Christians returns ...this time to America of all places. The shinning city on a hill doesn't shine so bright anymore. Of course we are reminded of the out right booing of God at the Democratic National Convention a few months ago so the atheistic theme in America is alive and well.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    July 31, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    This is just more of the same old conflict between "relatives" back to Abraham's era. Sadly, having a Savior didn't mean as much as it should have when Jesus was actually living on earth and doesn't now either. As a poster has said, one can debate spiritual matters until the end of time, but what one discerns through the spirit is what counts. We waste our time worrying about the likes of this author and his speculation. Listening to a debate on national media is a waste of time too.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 31, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    9MM,

    "....To sum up, modern Christian Scripture was written by the political losers."
    ______________________________

    The pattern I see is the best ideas of the vanquished being co-opted by the victor’s children and grandchildren. Rome sent Jesus to the cross. But by the time the Roman Empire fell, Christianity was its most ascendant religion. Of course, what Jesus taught had been greatly modified by the new claimants. But it had found new incarnations that were sprouting into new forms. That includes the emerging literature that survived as scripture

  • George New York, NY
    July 31, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    @banderson

    If you need a believe in a higher power to have love towards your fellow man that is reflection on you and not the rest of society. I have more trust in those that are able to use basic compassion and reason to manage their actions towards the world around them.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    July 31, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    It should be fairly obvious to most people that the main reason this book was written and purposely made controversial was to sell books and make money... not something so hard to understand, given the nature of our capitalistic society and of people in general.

    From what I've read of this author, there isn't much reason to put stock in what he says and writes about Jesus. The very simple truth of the matter is that he was and is the Christ. Jesus himself prophesied that this fact would become and remain controversial among mankind. And so it has.

    If someone really wants to read a much better and more thoroughly researched and documented book about Jesus, they should read "Jesus the Christ" by Talmage. You will learn multiple times more about who Jesus really was (is) and his background Jewish society than from this current controversial written-for-money book.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 31, 2013 11:10 a.m.

    Healthy Skeptic,

    "LOL...yet another entrepeneur seeking to build a cash cow. How many more ways can you twist a thousand or so words spoken centuries ago and reported second-hand well after the fact?"
    ______________________________

    Well, why not? Why should theologians and Christian ministers have all the fun?

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    July 31, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    As the Deseret News moderators don't want to moderate I will stay within their boundries (which I did before) I will refrain from:
    * Comment was off topic or disruptive.
    * Comment included obscenities or vulgarities.
    * Comment included name-calling, epithets, racial slurs or other derogatory statements.
    * Comment included personal attacks.
    * Comment included advertising or other promotion.
    * Comment included copyright infringement or plagiarism.
    * Comment included web links, excessive ALL-CAPS or punctuation, excessive length or violated other formatting rules.
    * Comment included personal information
    And say:
    "Only an LDS author really knows Jesus.
    This so-called "scholarship" is sad."

    is not representative of a comment made by myself, I am LDS and misrepresents my faith and was a personal attack on me by making a derogatory statement.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    July 31, 2013 11:48 a.m.

    To SLC Watch:

    It was Ernest T Bass who made those silly comments. Most regular readers of these DN comment sections know that he (or she) is always purposely sarcastic regarding both the Church and BYU... and so should be taken with a grain of salt. For proof, look at the number of his (her) likes. There usually are none or close to it. His (or her) purpose is only get your dire up... which is obviously what happened. It's best to just ignore those particular (and derogatory) comments and let it go.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    July 31, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    re: Tyler D earlier today

    Agreed. I'd like to add,

    "...religious moral imperatives... as a “Johnny-come-lately” role that emerged only as an addition to our natural instincts for cooperation and empathy. - The Bonobo and the Atheist - Frans De Waal"

    to 9MM

    "I have often heard that history is written by the victors."

    History is written by the survivors.

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    July 31, 2013 12:21 p.m.

    @Tators
    Yes, I know. But some didn't like my asking him to be honest. I guess they thought it was a personal attack even though I specifically said it was not. Just because someone makes a false caricature of there true position does not make it a comment free from moderation. Basically my first comment said exactly what you just got away with saying but the powers that be thought it was too personal. Back to this article...I find nothing wrong with disagreeing with some ones position. We just shouldn't allow people to misrepresnt their own position to draw negative attention to those they disagree with. A certian party on here has an absolute history of doing just that and it violates the first rule of being disruptive.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    July 31, 2013 12:46 p.m.

    I wonder, don't all who profess Christianity have to believe that Mohommad was a false prophet? He didn't teach that Jesus was the Messiah. Christian doctrine demands that Jesus is. So there is nothing to get riled about with this guy. He supports Mohommad and the Koran. Christians support Jesus and the Bible, and for some of us the Book of Mormon. Like goes on.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 31, 2013 12:55 p.m.

    Personally, my opinion is that the Jesus everybody worships is a fiction, created by those who "followed" him, well after his death in order to justify their continued existence.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    July 31, 2013 1:22 p.m.

    @ RanchHand:

    Based on many of your past comments, this latest opinion of yours is no surprise.
    Hopefully, someday you'll be fortunate enough to find out for yourself what many have known for a long time... That the Jesus we worship so completely is anything but fiction, and is in fact, central to the very plan of mankind being here on earth in the first place.

    But until that day comes, I very much respect your right to your opinion... no matter how uninformed it may seem to many of us who believe... and to some of us who know.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 31, 2013 1:37 p.m.

    I would like to know what historians are saying about this book. For example, does it accurately represent/portray the historical record of the time period?

    I don't see any problem with someone writing about Jesus from a historical standpoint. Of course, it should stand up to peer review for accuracy. Many people during Jesus' sojourn here didn't see/view him as the Son of God. Jews don't view Jesus as the Son of God. Had the author been Jewish would he also experience the hyperbolic criticism?

    The author, Reza Aslan, was an Evangelical Christian. His wife is an Evangelical Christian.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 31, 2013 2:09 p.m.

    @Tators;

    Been there, done that.

    Hopefully, someday, you'll come to the realization that life is what you make of it, not what some voodoo religionists believe it to be.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 31, 2013 2:12 p.m.

    Truthseeker,

    "I would like to know what historians are saying about this book."
    ______________________________

    I haven’t seen any reviews of his book by historians. But from what the DN piece reports here and what I heard on the news, there’s nothing original in what Aslan suggests. Many scholars have considered the angle of Jesus as a political revolutionary. Criticisms of what Paul did with Jesus’ teachings are old as Christianity itself.

    Suggestions by scholars that Jesus was illiterate is nothing new. But it's still sheer conjecture that can't be proven or disproven. Jesus was obviously familiar with the scriptures, quoted them liberally, and understood the law of Moses better than did many of his Pharisee critics. Of course, he could have picked up much of that in the Jewish oral tradition. That too is a form of literacy that deserves higher regard than modern norms of literacy might allow.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 31, 2013 2:45 p.m.

    "One of the foremost interpreters of Islam today, Professor John Esposito is a Catholic who spent a decade in a Catholic monastery. He teaches at Georgetown University. One of the foremost scholars of early Christianity is Professor Paula Fredriksen, who is Jewish. She is the William Goodwin Aurelio Professor Emerita of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University, and now Professor of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem."

    In fact, Jesus’s advocacy for the “poor and the dispossessed,” as Aslan documents throughout “Zealot,” is, in my view, yet another driver of the conservative Christian push-back against “Zealot,” in addition to the well-known Islamophobia message machine of the right.

    The life and teachings of Jesus, understood in their historical context, are about feeding the poor, housing the homeless, caring for the sick and loving the neighbor as yourself.

    That’s Jesus."

    (Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite writing in the Washington Post, is a Professor of Theology at Chicago Theological Seminary and its former President.)

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 31, 2013 3:10 p.m.

    re:RanchHand

    Opinions - yours or mine - mean nothing. Truth exists in spite of our ignorance or opinion. Opinion alone has no power to determine truth. A few hundred years ago the so-called elite and educated of the day considered the earth to be flat. The earth never was flat and had these ignorant folks been able to see the planet from a few hundred miles up they would have known the truth. Again - their opinion didn't change the earth's shape. You may consider Jesus to be a fraud - it's a free country as the saying goes. However one day you will pass through the veil of death ...as will I ... and we will then SEE for ourselves what truth really is. Death is subject to opinion and neither is the life that follows. What a pitiful waste of life to not at least do an honest investigation into Jesus Christ especially since your eternal welfare may depend on it ...and it does! One day you will look back and wish you hadn't wasted the days of your probation. That my friend isn't a matter of if but is a matter of when.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 31, 2013 4:17 p.m.

    @patriot – “…especially since your eternal welfare may depend on it…”

    I was wondering how long it would take to see the ever faithful, always played trump card, and last desperate attempt to convince the Heathens of the Christian story… a story that, best I can tell, goes something like this:

    We’re born into this world already condemned for a theological crime we (as individuals) did not commit. Then our salvation is (statistically speaking) largely a function of hitting the celestial lottery (i.e., being born into the right family/culture). After you’ve passed through that eye of a needle, it gets better.

    Being good is not good enough… you must believe certain propositions that if you get wrong, will ensure a one way trip to the eternal torture chamber.

    But it gets even better!

    These beliefs won’t depend on logic, reason or (good) evidence but instead on a credulous mind as susceptible to believing in Santa Claus as it is in the correct theology.

    And for the doubters, all of this can be “confirmed” by spiritual feelings that are reported across all traditions and even outside of religion altogether.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    July 31, 2013 4:52 p.m.

    Re: "Opinion alone has no power to determine truth....Death is subject to opinion and neither is the life that follows. What a pitiful waste of life to not at least do an honest investigation into Jesus Christ especially since your eternal welfare may depend on it ...and it does! One day you will look back and wish you hadn't wasted the days of your probation. That my friend isn't a matter of if but is a matter of when."

    Have you earnestly investigated every purported god and prophet? If not, how do you know you're not betting on the wrong one?

    Just because you believe something doesn't make it true, not even if you believe it with all your heart, not even if a burning in your breast or a whisper in your ear or the declarations of a hundred prophets or ten thousand pages of scripture "testified" that it was true. It's still a mere belief.

    In this world, what follows death is subject to opinion, because nobody knows. Not one single person knows. It's all speculation, as far from certainty as one end of the universe is from the other.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 31, 2013 6:20 p.m.

    @patriot;

    Likewise, belief does not determine truth either. Because you believe something, doesn't automatically make it true.

    My "eternal welfare" is going to be based more on how I live my life, how I treat others, etc. than what I 'believe' or which god I choose to follow (or not follow). But I do, sincerely, thank you for your concern. As a side note, I've probably investigated Jesus Christ more than you have, believer that you are.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    July 31, 2013 8:53 p.m.

    Aslan over-inflated his background in the Fox interview. He does not have a Ph.D. in religious history, he has a Ph.D. in sociology, with a religious emphasis, with his main focus being things that have primarily happened since 1900. This does not neccesarily mean he lacks the ability to write this book, but he does not actually have the background he claimed for himself in the Fox interview.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    July 31, 2013 9:07 p.m.

    I have read this book and found it to be a solid compilation of many decades (or even centuries) of scholarship on the topic. No, not much new, but that is partly what gives its thesis credibility.

    Dismissing this author merely because he is not "christian" (or particularly LDS) is certainly a low-information approach to burying one's head in the proverbial sand. Alas, to each his own.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 31, 2013 9:30 p.m.

    Jesus fulfills the meanings of the Jewish feasts.

    1. Passover (Leviticus 23:5) – Pointed to the Messiah as our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening.

    2. First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10) – Pointed to the Messiah's resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the "first fruits from the dead."

    3. Weeks or Pentecost (Lev 23:16) – Fifty days after the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and pointed to the great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit for both Jew and Gentile, who would be brought into the kingdom of God during the Church Age (see Acts 2). The Church was actually established on this day when God poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 Jews responded to Peter's great sermon and his first proclamation of the gospel. 3of7

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 31, 2013 10:10 p.m.

    Re:JohnPackLambert

    Reza Aslan’s dissertation adviser, Prof. Mark Juergensmayer, weighed in:

    Since i was Reza’s thesis adviser at the Univ of California-Santa Barbara, I can testify that he is a religious studies scholar. (I am a sociologist of religion with a position in sociology and an affiliation with religious studies). Though Reza’s PhD is in sociology most of his graduate course work at UCSB was in the history of religion in the dept of religious studies. Though none of his 4 degrees are in history as such, he is a “historian of religion” in the way that that term is used at the Univ of Chicago to cover the field of comparative religion; and his theology degree at Harvard covered Bible and Church history, and required him to master New Testament Greek. So in short, he is who he says he is.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Aug. 1, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    re: RanchHand

    [My "eternal welfare" is going to be based more on how I live my life, how I treat others, etc. than what I 'believe' or which god I choose to follow (or not follow).]

    Agreed. Its what we do not what we think we should know.

    As for the books premise, Judas's betrayal was allegedly part of 'the plan' and there is a good chance he was zealot/nationalist. What better way to promote a cause than through martyrdom? There is an analogy that fits perfectly but this would NEVER get posted if I entered it.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    "patriot"

    "However one day you will pass through the veil of death ...as will I ... and we will then SEE for ourselves what truth really is."

    Or not.

    "What a pitiful waste of life to not at least do an honest investigation into Jesus Christ especially since your eternal welfare may depend on it ...and it does!"

    Or not.

    "One day you will look back and wish you hadn't wasted the days of your probation. That my friend isn't a matter of if but is a matter of when."

    Or not.

    You do realize don't you that just saying these sort of things don't necessarily make them true? Just believing or hoping they are true doesn't necessarily make it so. You realize that, don't you? No, I guess probably not.

    In that case let me say, What a pitiful waste of life to not at least do an honest investigation into Zeus especially since your eternal welfare may depend on it ...and it does!

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 1, 2013 5:29 p.m.

    RE:Truthseeker … Reza’s, master of the New Testament Greek.

    Is the New Testament Reliable? Even Bart Ehrman Says Yes.

    The position I argue for in ‘Misquoting Jesus’ does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the “essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament”.

    Bruce Metzger is one of the great scholars of modern times, and I dedicated the book to him because he was both my inspiration for going into textual criticism and the person who trained me in the field. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. And even though we may disagree on important religious questions – he is a firmly committed Christian and I am not – we are in complete agreement on a number of very important historical and textual questions. If he and I were put in a room and asked to hammer out a consensus statement on what we think the original text of the New Testament probably looked like, there would be very few points of disagreement – maybe one or two dozen places out of many thousands.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Aug. 1, 2013 11:36 p.m.

    The author and his Zeolot book are simply " the philosophies of men, mingled with scriptures".

  • Tyler Ray Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 2, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    This guy's twitter account is chalk full of obscenities, insults, cursings, bigoted statements, etc that he's made. Anyone who uses such language in everyday life loses credibility as an author and historian and frankly an honorable Muslim.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 2, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    "Either Jesus is who He said he is, the Son of God, or the grandest of all hoaxes."

    First of all, there is ample evidence that the appellation "son of god" was an idiom in its contemporary vernacular that did not mean what we moderns take it to mean. Moreover, it was applied to multiple people, not just Jesus (of Nazareth?).

    As such, the same pseudo-logic can be applied to countless "sons/daughters of god", prophets, seers, revelators, spiritualists, occultists, and the like: Zoroaster, Moses, Isaiah, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, Swedenborg, Mary Baker Eddy, Gandhi, and numerous others, including David Koresh, Jim Jones, and many other infamous personalities.

    Since the affirmation that Jesus is "the Christ" logically eliminates the veracity of all other claims made by all other religious/spiritual leaders, it means their claims are "hoaxes" (false), according to the Christian believer.

    Others argue that so many people being duped by a hoax for so many centuries is so unlikely, we must conclude that Christianity is probably true.

    But if Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc can be "hoaxes" with more followers and longer histories than Christianity, then why can't Christianity "probably" be a hoax as well?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 2, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    I'm not sure why people who tend to be so adamant about what Islam teaches are so annoyed with a Muslim giving his view of Christ.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Aug. 5, 2013 1:38 p.m.

    The line between the righteous and the non-righteous is widening with ever-increasing speed.

    I, for one, tire of the fools who deride common sense and decency and will be glad when we are free of them.

    And, yes, you know who you are...

    Is that a Christ-like attitude? No, I admit it is not. However, the Savior will not endlessly ignore the pain and agony the disobedient and wicked among us cause.

    The only difference I can see is that Christ is more patient than I am. He waits until His Father says "go" whereas I'm ready for it now.

    Anybody else out there ready for it, too?....