Anyone read Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
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30-08-2013, 02:40 PM
Anyone read Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Has anyone read this book? I've been reading through the Amazon reviews and it sounds interesting. It was written by a Muslim scholar and was immediately attacked by Christians...... which means it's probably a really good book.

"If things aren't funny anymore then they're exactly what they are and life is just one long dental appointment interrupted occasionally by something exciting like waiting or falling asleep" Jason Robards in A Thousand Clowns
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30-08-2013, 11:07 PM
RE: Anyone read Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
I've read it. It's very readable. There's no footnotes though, so that's frustrating, but it does have a very think reference section in the back.

As far as it's content though, it's good, but his religious bias seems to show through in parts. It doesn't seem to effect the scholarly historical research though. It's more like he doesn't want to address whether the miracles happened or not and wants to leave those parts ambiguous. But he doesn't claim them to be true, mostly tries to not seriously address them. But I kind of expected that. He does explain that there are a lot of other "messiahs" and "miracles" workers present at the time, and implies that they are doing the same things that Jesus did, which indirectly leads you to believe that they are all charlatans like modern faith heals today, but he stays out of going as far as to say that. I felt disappointed that he didn't address this in more detail.

That being said, he doesn't worry about addressing the reality of Jesus as a person, not a god, and that the historical Jesus, and the modern day Christian idea of Jesus do not match the bible. He also addresses the different versions of Jesus within the bible it's self. The nature of Jesus's birth, being a normal human birth, not supernatural. so on and so forth. He still doesn't address that Jesus is not in fact "God", though it seems clear that he most certainty does not, but he still leaves this ambiguous, focusing more on the fact that others of the time believed it to be true, and kind of rights from the perspective of those believers at times, which is where the ambiguity comes in.

Over all there were some parts where I wish there was an atheist writing it so that it could delve deeper in some areas rather than leaving them open, but it didn't really effect the honesty of it's historicity. I would still pick it up if I were you. Just keep that small aspect in mind.

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01-09-2013, 11:11 AM
RE: Anyone read Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
(30-08-2013 11:07 PM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  I've read it. It's very readable. There's no footnotes though, so that's frustrating, but it does have a very think reference section in the back.

As far as it's content though, it's good, but his religious bias seems to show through in parts. It doesn't seem to effect the scholarly historical research though. It's more like he doesn't want to address whether the miracles happened or not and wants to leave those parts ambiguous. But he doesn't claim them to be true, mostly tries to not seriously address them. But I kind of expected that. He does explain that there are a lot of other "messiahs" and "miracles" workers present at the time, and implies that they are doing the same things that Jesus did, which indirectly leads you to believe that they are all charlatans like modern faith heals today, but he stays out of going as far as to say that. I felt disappointed that he didn't address this in more detail.

That being said, he doesn't worry about addressing the reality of Jesus as a person, not a god, and that the historical Jesus, and the modern day Christian idea of Jesus do not match the bible. He also addresses the different versions of Jesus within the bible it's self. The nature of Jesus's birth, being a normal human birth, not supernatural. so on and so forth. He still doesn't address that Jesus is not in fact "God", though it seems clear that he most certainty does not, but he still leaves this ambiguous, focusing more on the fact that others of the time believed it to be true, and kind of rights from the perspective of those believers at times, which is where the ambiguity comes in.

Over all there were some parts where I wish there was an atheist writing it so that it could delve deeper in some areas rather than leaving them open, but it didn't really effect the honesty of it's historicity. I would still pick it up if I were you. Just keep that small aspect in mind.

Thanks. I don't read novels anymore. I read too many over the years and now read non-fiction and histories. I like to read subjects from a different perspective and this sounds interesting.

"If things aren't funny anymore then they're exactly what they are and life is just one long dental appointment interrupted occasionally by something exciting like waiting or falling asleep" Jason Robards in A Thousand Clowns
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01-09-2013, 11:46 AM
RE: Anyone read Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Yeah, well I dare him to write a real biography of Muhammad and try to prove he ever existed. If he survives a year, I'd be surprised. Then he can explain how come almost every day/month in ole Mo's life is "documented", (as Robert Spencer points out) but they forgot the calendar was changed, so every year there's an "extra month" of (mythical) stuff. Woops. *As if* they needed a Muslim belieber to write even more about the subject of the mythical Jebus. I'd say Richard Carrier and Mark Fulton have it about covered. Tongue

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Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (KJV)

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01-09-2013, 02:03 PM
RE: Anyone read Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
(01-09-2013 11:46 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Yeah, well I dare him to write a real biography of Muhammad and try to prove he ever existed. If he survives a year, I'd be surprised. Then he can explain how come almost every day/month in ole Mo's life is "documented", (as Robert Spencer points out) but they forgot the calendar was changed, so every year there's an "extra month" of (mythical) stuff. Woops. *As if* they needed a Muslim belieber to write even more about the subject of the mythical Jebus. I'd say Richard Carrier and Mark Fulton have it about covered. Tongue

Well, that's true. He would be hunted down and hung from the rafters or whatever they have for a roof support in Muslim countries. But in the end it doesn't matter if either one of these guys, Mohammad and Jesus, lived or is totally mythical. Personally, I think Jesus probably did live. But he was one of a hundred Joe Schmoes thinkin' he was the messiah and somehow got his story told around the campfire more than the other Joe Schmoes. Then each teller embellished the story more and more and voila, you got yourself a new religion. Of course, I don't have proof of this. Heck, The Life of Brian is probably closer to the truth than the Bible.

As I said, it doesn't matter if Buddha existed or Native American gods really inhabit mountains and rivers. Totally doesn't matter to me. The question is why do people need to believe in gods.

Anyway, I like to read about the many myths around the world. I find it interesting.

"If things aren't funny anymore then they're exactly what they are and life is just one long dental appointment interrupted occasionally by something exciting like waiting or falling asleep" Jason Robards in A Thousand Clowns
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01-09-2013, 07:46 PM
RE: Anyone read Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
If you're interested I would also get "The Evolution of God" although that on is far less readable. It details origin of religious thought and development of gods and on in to the modern Abrahamic "God".

This book, Zealot, however is far more breezy to read, thought it doesn't go as far back into detail, or on into Islam, but as far as the Jesus "story" it does a pretty good job. It did do a good job of explaining how the religion arose out of the Jewish religion.

If that's why you want to read it then I'd say go ahead and get it. That and "The Evolution of God" if you're okay with reading on a bit more wordy, but far more extensive.

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03-09-2013, 10:02 AM
RE: Anyone read Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
(01-09-2013 07:46 PM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  If you're interested I would also get "The Evolution of God" although that on is far less readable. It details origin of religious thought and development of gods and on in to the modern Abrahamic "God".

This book, Zealot, however is far more breezy to read, thought it doesn't go as far back into detail, or on into Islam, but as far as the Jesus "story" it does a pretty good job. It did do a good job of explaining how the religion arose out of the Jewish religion.

If that's why you want to read it then I'd say go ahead and get it. That and "The Evolution of God" if you're okay with reading on a bit more wordy, but far more extensive.

Damn, that sounds interesting too. I've got a back log of books I'm plowing through. The Bible Unearthed is next then I'll start one of those two, either The Evolution of God or Zelot. Then I'll be done with the religion books for a while. Hummm.... decisions, decisions......Unsure

"If things aren't funny anymore then they're exactly what they are and life is just one long dental appointment interrupted occasionally by something exciting like waiting or falling asleep" Jason Robards in A Thousand Clowns
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