Episode 303: ZEALOT

9 comments on “Episode 303: ZEALOT”

  1. Coriantumr Reply

    A bit late for freshness [2 years since Dr. Aslan published the book]. There is some concern about Dr. Aslan credentials as far as being a historian but I think he did a good job in engaging the people that read the book in conversation. It is possible that Dr. Aslan may face Jesus, The Son of Mary at end times for his book but then Dr. Aslan is a Shiite and may not necessarily see eye to eye with this concept. Great points in the book? Jesus as a citizen of Judea. The description of Judea’s society structure and the lack of moral authority since the Maccabean revolt is excellent. The illustrious line of Messiahs candidates provided by Dr. Aslan shows the state of unrest in Judea and the void of moral power at the time. I read somewhere that there is a church that claims authority was lost a few centuries back. What remains at large is whether said authority has indeed been found. Note for Adam: Greek was the lingua franca in that part of the world thanks to Alexander the Great , but not the OFFICIAL language. Sort of like Spanish in Florida. Or English in Mexico…. it goes both ways you know…

  2. Michael McAlpine Reply

    Adam, I hope I have understood your comments on why you have selected this particular book. I take it you chose the book as it was a non Christian writing on a Christian topic and your motivation was not to discuss historical Jesus research in particular. You found many items in the book revealing and were impressed with the comparative size of the references to the prose.
    In my opinion Dr. Aslan’s book is written for sensationalist purposes. I think, along with many others, that Dr. Aslan’s approach to the material is not new and adds nothing to the work on the historical Jesus. To call Jesus a revolutionary in a political sense is far from the text of the New Testament. For those who would like to read some highly accessible scholarship on the historical Jesus I would suggest James D G Dunn, NT Wright, and Richard Bauckham among others.
    Adam, you frequently made reference to things you learned from reading this particular book. With respect, I think that this indicates that you have chosen a book to read and review without understanding the topic. Unfortunately, I think that you have created some misunderstanding in you listening community through your comments and those of your guests and audience participants. At times these comments appear not to be fully informed.
    I am currently formally pursuing studies in theology with emphasis in biblical studies and Christian thought and history at a well known university. I find it disappointing that in the former Mormon community, not only on this podcast, there is often a rush to controversial authors and others who are well outside of the mainstream. It is most unfortunate that many who lead these podcasts are unaware of the acceptance of the scholarship of those they choose to highlight. Further, some of these individuals assume they know more than they do after reading just one book by Bart Ehrman.
    I fully appreciate the attraction of these authors, especially after undergoing a faith transition, which in my case only started in 2011. One often feels a sense of incredulous outrage working through the transition, at least I did, and these authors, like Aslan, feed our feelings.
    I did chuckle with the reference to James Talmage’s now approximately 100 year old Jesus the Christ. I used to love that book. I read it several times on my mission and since. However, I now find the book unreadable and even less informing.
    With kindness,

    • Coriantumr Reply

      No one said that Dr. Aslan is bringing new revelation or academic insight into an old subject. What he brings is a wider audience other than specialized people as yourself. Many of your fellow students are or will become pastors. They will never tell the stories they’re taught at school to their flock. Pretty much in the same manner that I’m sure you never heard the story from your seminary teacher. Even the guys at Fox News grilled Dr. Aslan….I’m sure the man was smiling all the way to the bank.

  3. Saint Ralph Reply

    I don’t find Dr. Aslan’s non-adherence to “actual” dates problematic at all. If you look into it, you’ll find that, in New Testament history, there are no actual dates. Putting a plus-or-minus 50 year tolerance band on what is “known” about when anything took place before the Council of Nicea, would be very generous in most cases. Dr. Aslan can only be accurate or inaccurate relative to the herd and there’s no reliable way to establish the accuracy of the herd.

  4. Susan Mowers Reply

    When I was in my “information overload” part of my disaffection this was one of many books I read on the subject of the historical Jesus vs Jesus the Christ. I found it good as part of the whole picture I was aiming to learn about, not as a sole source of information. But it was good in helping to shift my paradigms about Jesus.

    Another book I found extremely helpful in answering how this particular peasant became the selected Christ-figure (a question Darin wondered as well) is Bart Ehrman’s “How Jesus Became God”.

    I also loved his book, “Misquoting Jesus” – it was the first time I realized that the scriptures where not really first-hand accounts. Sad, I know – but I was in that member ignorance bubble.

  5. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    Many interesting comments. I like what Adam is doing. Yeah, I also would love to have more regular female voices and maybe that is forthcoming. Dr. Aslan’s book seems an approachable introduction if nothing else. I hope to hear many interesting conversations in the future.

  6. Gabriel von Himmel Reply

    Well Adam you really hit your stride with withering fire –– marvelous discussion/investigation. Teasing apart the mythic from the grounded reality of Jesus is tough work; Reza Aslan, regardless of sectarian persuasion has posed more conundrums for Western Christian Theory.
    Muhammedism, aka Islam was also created by myth makers. Muhammed, after marrying a rich old lady sets out to build a counter to the rise of the Christcentric Post-Roman theater of thought. I am neither persuaded by nor embrace either dogma.
    My interest is what has been torn from the pages of legend and myth of Jesus that serves Mormondom and its permutations.
    Resolved, Joseph Smith was philo-semitic, his judeophilia drove him to lift many things and fold them into a kludged notion of reality, had he stuck to Amish Tribalism he would have kept to the soul of Mormonism but ta da ta da ta da.
    The theft of concubinage lifted from Levitical Judaism comes directly from the Priestly Levi Class of priests, what better way to gather wealth and secure the gene pool. Levitical control was all about counting the money and bonking the babes while putting another steak on the barbie. In hindsight, it seems a no-brainer.
    But for those who aspire to become like gods it stretches the envelop to bursting; Mormon Exceptionalism is American Exceptionalism –– as the rustling of leaves and the fog of mists fill the void and pierces the veil.
    Adam, thank you for expanding the discussion to explore the underpinnings of our inheritances.
    This discussion is worthy of much thought; I’m sure John Larson is proud of your conduct and direction of discussion.
    And it came to pass, I send thee praise to the highest. Wonderful podcast but some will be with exceedingly sore thoughts.
    Your pacing and direct questions were poignant.
    Personally I love Jesus, with his worts and carbuncles, his foibles and ticks, and his mythic zealotry.
    But, without Andrew Jackson Joseph Smith would be only a whimpering fool in a forlorn land of gentiles.

    Thank you, Gabriel

  7. dsalisbury Reply

    I’m surprised no one on the podcast or comments has mentioned the classic
    movie “The Man from Earth” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0756683/.

    “After history Professor John Oldman unexpectedly resigns from the University, his startled colleagues impulsively invite themselves to his home, pressing him for an explanation. But they’re shocked to hear his reason for premature retirement: John claims he must move on because he is immortal, and cannot stay in one place for more than ten years without his secret being discovered. Tempers rise and emotions flow as John’s fellow professors attempt to poke holes in his story, but it soon becomes clear that his tale is as impossible to disprove as it is to verify. What starts out as a friendly gathering soon builds to an unexpected and shattering climax.”

    The whole movie takes place in one room with a few people discussing the Jesus story with a really interesting twist. Definitively entertaining and worth watching, in my opinion. If anyone watches this, let me know what you think. I did a google search and it looks like the entire movie is available free on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utQ_v64XyQo

  8. Mitch Rivers Reply

    Bart Ehrman discredited Reza’s book completely, saying it was rife with errors and misunderstandings about early Christianity and would be analogous to him writing a book on sociology of religion since Reza has no advanced degrees in new testament studies or early Roman history.

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