src="/images/2013/07/ZEALOT.jpg" width="200" height="303"
target="_blank">Terry Gross. Sure, I doubt we'd see
eye to eye on much of anything socio-political, but I can easily
set that aside to appreciate someone's professionalism and in this,
I think Terry is simply one of the best professional interviewers
ever. She always demonstrates her meticulous preparation and brings
out the best in her guests.
So the other day I
caught part of this interview with author Reza
target="_blank">Christ In Context: 'Zealot' Explores The Life Of
Jesus. I found it interesting on a whole lot of
levels, not the least of which is some parallels between the
author's life and mine in terms of being seduced by "The Story of
Jesus" in the fundamentalist, "born-again" sense at a young age and
being rather, well, zealous about it.
case, he was a Muslim immigrant from Iran. You'll also learn in the
interview that he induced his mother to convert to Christianity, a
faith she retains to this day.
Writer and scholar Reza Aslan was 15 years old when he
found Jesus. His secular Muslim family had fled to the U.S. from
Iran, and Aslan's conversion was, in a sense, an adolescent's
attempt to fit into American life and culture. "My parents were
certainly surprised," Aslan tells Fresh Air's
As Aslan got older, he began his
studies in the history of Christianity, and he started to lose
faith. He came to the realization that Jesus of Nazareth was quite
different from the Messiah he'd been introduced to at church. "I
became very angry," he says. "I became resentful. I turned away
from Christianity. I began to really reject the concept of
But Aslan continued his Christian
scholarship, and he found that he was increasingly interested in
Jesus as a historical figure. The result is his new book, href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/140006922X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=140006922X&linkCode=as2&tag=fretheani0c-20">Zealot:
The Life and Times of Jesus of
— a historical
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look at Jesus in the context of his time and Jewish religion, and
against the backdrop of the Roman Empire.
There's a good bit of interview highlights at