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If you know nothing of first century Judea, Reza Aslan's 'The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth' is hopelessly misleading. If
on 8 July 2017
If you know nothing of first century Judea, Reza Aslan's 'The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth' is hopelessly misleading. If you do know something of history, it is unreadable. Mr Aslan's degree is in 'Creative Writing' and it shows. If you enjoy good writing, you will find Aslan's frilly use of inappropriate adjectives constantly trigger your gag response. Lines like 'Shaggy Judean mountains, between the twin peaks of Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives' had me reaching for the sick bucket. What I found most annoying was the author's insistence on regurgitating the official Church view of this period, devoid of any real scholarship, while at the same time insisting that we think of the Jesus of History as a failed Jihadi terrorist by the simple expedient of ignoring everything he ever did and everything we can safely believe he said.
Aslan lumps all the Hebrew people into one pile at a time that political, cultural and religious belief was at its most diverse. It was not for another three hundred years that Rabbinical Judaism managed to homogenise Jewish belief.
Aslan slips in lines like He (Jesus) expanded (John the Baptist's) movement of national liberation. No real evidence is offered. Sweeping assumptions are made for the sake of his breathless teenage narrative without any historical or literary evidence. Aslan's portrait of the council of Nicea with his 'life of Brian' vision of balding and beaded bishops, ignores the fact that many of them were young and Christianity was enforced through violence. Azlan was capable of telling a much more interesting and historically accurate story but tripped over the massive dog he has in the fight.