Join internationally acclaimed author Reza Aslan as he discusses his new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, a compelling and methodically researched biography of Jesus of Nazareth. This book, weighing both gospel and historical truth, strives to answer a simple and profound question: Who was the Jewish peasant who, two thousand years ago, walked across what is now Palestine to gather followers with the goal of establishing the kingdom of God?
A book sale and signing will follow the talk. Light refreshments will be served.
About Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Reza Aslan’s new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, recently named #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list and #1 on Amazon's Religion and Spirituality section, is a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth.
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry—a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.
Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious “King of the Jews” whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime. Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity.
Zealot yields a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told even as it affirms the radical and transformative nature of Jesus of Nazareth’s life and mission. The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written biography with the pulse of a fast-paced novel: a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time, and the birth of a religion.
About Dr. Reza Aslan
Dr. Reza Aslan is an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions as well as the founder of AslanMedia.com, an online journal for news and entertainment about the Middle East and the world. Reza Aslan has degrees in Religions from Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. He serves on the board of directors of the Ploughshares Fund, which gives grants for peace and security issues; Abraham's Vision, an educational, conflict transformation organization for Israeli and Palestinian youths; PEN USA, which champions the rights of writers under siege around the world; and the Levantine Cultural Center, which builds bridges between Americans and the Arab/Muslim world through the arts.
Aslan's first book is the International Bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, and named one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War (published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in a Globalized Age), as well as editor of two volumes: Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, and Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalties, Contentions, and Complexities.
Reza Aslan is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of BoomGen Studios, the premier entertainment brand for creative content from and about the Greater Middle East and President of AppOvation Labs, a mobile applications company. Born in Iran, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife (author and entrepreneur Jessica Jackley) where he is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.