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4.3 out of 5
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  • 2 person found this review helpful

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    There's nothing really new in this book if you are well read in the history of early Christianity and the early church. If you're in this group, you might find the notes very useful. If you aren't familiar with this history, then this book is a great place to start. Aslan writes in a narrative style that can help to keep a reader engaged and interested. One thing that I didn't like was that the notes seem disconnected to the text. There are no raised numerals in the text that are connected to the endnotes themselves. I suppose this is a personal preference but it's one of the reasons why this book didn't get five stars from me. Also, Aslan tells us that the we can't completely rely on the gospels to know about the historical Jesus but much of his material about the historical Jesus is the gospels. That's fine but much material about Jesus that is based on the canonized gospels as well as other sources like gnostic gospels already exists. Overall, this was an enjoyable read but not a gripping one. If you have done extensive reading on Jesus and/or the early Christian movement, you may want to borrow from the library or even skip this one.
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    Fascinating

    Aslan looks at Jesus as a historical figure more so than a religious one. However, it’s impossible to completely ignore that major aspect of Jesus’ character. Having been brought up Catholic, this book illuminated how the Virgin birth, the cleansing of the Jewish temple, the relationship with John the Baptist, and the crucifixion most likely differed factually with what is told in the Bible. And I came to better understand the schism between Judaism and Christianity.
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    Zealot

    An eye opener. A change in my view of Christianity. Jesus the man worthy of honour without Jesus the Christ.
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    This was a fascinating read for me. It was a very controversial book when it was released but it was way overblown by people who hadn't bothered to even read it. The only people who will be upset by this read are the people who believe that everything that is written in the Bible is literally true (despite the fact that it was written by fallible human beings long after actual events had taken place.) I am not very familiar with the history of the region so a lot of it was really eye-opening for me. For example, it turns out that Pontius Pirate was not actually a Roman "nice guy" - he actually crucified Jews at such an alarming rate that an official complaint was filed against him back in Rome. And yet the Bible has him essentially pleading with the Jewish Council to "spare" Jesus. How does that make sense to anyone? There's lots of interesting little tidbits like that. Highly recommend.
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    Fascinating, if a bit speculative

    The historical overview of Roman-occupied Palestine circa 1 AD was really interesting, and much more detailed than my previous knowledge of that period. Aslan extrapolates from that historical overview an entirely believable explanation of who and what Jesus might really have been. The evidence is thin and it seemed mostly speculative to me. Still, it's just as believable as the nonsense in the bible.
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