New book on the life of Jesus

by Dagney 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • Dagney

    A new book "Zealot - Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" by Reza Aslan. He converted to Christianity from Islam at 15 and journey to study the life of the Jesus, and the vast disparity between the historical Jesus and the evangelical Jesus.

    A couple of the points he touches on in the interview (link below):

    Flaws in the nativity being the census had nothing to do with Galilee and there is no documentation of such. He says Luke knew of the flaws in the story and as well as the readers of the account which was several generations later. They knew no one had to go the place of their father's birth to be counted.

    Interesting excerpt surrounding the temple cleansing and the paying taxes:

    ASLAN: Well, I suppose the perfect example of this is the famous story of the cleansing of the temple. This is a story that of course is told in, you know, every Sunday sermon. Children read about this story in their kids' version of the Bible. It's an incredibly climactic moment in which Jesus is attacking not just the business of the temple but the temple authorities and indeed the Roman authorities, because the two are inextricably linked at the time.

    And then something remarkable happens. The Jewish authorities come up to Jesus and they try to trick him, the Gospels say. They show him a coin, a denarius coin, and they say tell us, rabbi, is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar or not.

    Now, this is not a simple question. This is in fact the quintessential test of zealotry in Jesus' time. The zealots being deeply anti-Roman refuse to pay tribute to Rome. The tribute was seen as an abomination. It was sort of proof that the land belonged to Rome instead of God. And so by asking Jesus this question, should we pay the tribute or not, what they were really saying is, are you or are you not a zealot.

    Jesus' answer, of course, has been famously understood throughout the centuries as render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render unto God what is God's, and this has been interpreted as this kind of milquetoast compromise on Jesus' part, neither the priestly position of yes, we should pay tribute, nor the zealot position of no, we shouldn't pay tribute.

    But you know, an attempt to say don't worry about the things of this world, focus on the things that matter: worship and obedience to God. But historically speaking, that's not at all what's taking place here. The word that Jesus uses - (speaking foreign language) - doesn't mean render, it means give back. And it's used in Greek as a means of paying someone back that which they owe.

    In other words, what Jesus is saying when he looks at the coin and he sees the image of Caesar on here, is perhaps the most obvious example of precisely where Jesus falls in this question of whether it is lawful or not to pay tribute. He deeply is in the zealot camp.

    Also interesting thoughts on Pilot and the crucifiction, the destruction of Jerusalem, the Gospels writings, and the Jews and Christians viewed as cults.

    Anyway, I found Reza's journey interesting...loss of faith and going back to Islam. I love the history of it all. There is a link to the transcript as well as the audio interview below.

  • Dagney
  • designs

    Important read

  • Dagney

    He's everywhere! LOL About 2 1/2 minute video.

    Important to remember everybody who wrote about Jesus never met him.

  • AwareBeing

    Hello So-cal!

    Thanks for the info. Dagney.

    My wife and I have been researching these things this very summer!

    That is; discrepancies in the Bible, quotes from outside sources and the like.

    We've found that both Jesus and Paul quoted several times from The Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Even more surprising is that Old and NT has more than a few passages from Herme's books!

    Along with other Biblical verses referencing non-Hebrew or non-Christian sources,

    it's enough to make one conclude that "God's wisdom" is among "the nations" in some cases.

    PS: Mrs Being says hi to Dagney!

  • Dagney

    Hi Mr & Mrs Being! (Waves) Hope all is well with you, and you are staying cool.

    My brother (elder) actually listened to this book on tape and confided to me he learned a lot from it. He said wasn't sure everything was correct but he definitely felt some of it was and left it to me to listen to...and this was just before I left JW. Knowing the history of the time brings so much understanding. It was a place to start in questioning the WT version of history.

    Some people like Cahill and some people don't. I read his books on the Irish, the Jews and the Greeks. All historical story telling...easy way to learn about ancient civilizations.

    Take good care!

  • Tiktaalik

    Another book about Jesus? More fan fiction to clog up the minds and bookshelves of those afraid of the dark.

  • AwareBeing

    It's a shame that humanity's history has been hijacked by the elites,

    but the only way to become free is to sort through all these books.

    True; many are published and pushed on to the public, just for sales.

    Also; not everything can be trusted, so only buy what is valuable.

    We can read allot on the web for free or use libraries.

    Today, you can order books at libraries and they'll call you when their in!

    Take notes on important points, that way your book shelves don't fill up.

  • LoisLane looking for Superman
    LoisLane looking for Superman

    Hi Dagney,

    Thank you. I will look this over when I have the time.

    Just Lois

  • humbled


    You are not interested in a new Jesus book, clearly. I get where you're coming from. Maybe your darkness hasn't been unbearable, maybe I'm a weaker spirit than you are. I would read another Jesus book--though I, too, have no patience for fiction.

    Some good teaching has been attributed to the man called Jesus. We humans have come from mud and from darkness, not the light. Brutal beginnings. I hear in some of the written Jesus stories--not only the gospels-- and feel as I try to put into practice some of the good things Jesus taught--that this was a man who made an advance out of darkness that helps me along. I am glad for what I learned about Jesus.

    I want the truth of who he was-- hard to get that from fan clubs. Good scholarship is best.

    As far being afraid of the dark? It's not the dark I'm afraid of --just what is in it.


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