Was Jesus reinvented by St Paul? Stuart Kelly likens the argument to a West End musicalHad Reza Aslan not been interviewed in a gauche and silly fashion on Fox News, I doubt this book would be being reviewed at all. Zealot, to be as kind as possible, trudges down some very well-worn paths; its contribution to studies of Christianity is marginal bordering on negligible; and its breathless style suggests hasty thought.To take just one example: the Romans are said to display “characteristic savagery” on page 13 and are “generally tolerant” on page 14. Aslan contends that an illiterate “day laborer” called Jesus was part of an insurrectionary tradition in Israel, and the story of this Che Guevara of the early Middle East was co-opted by the dastardly Saul of Tarsus, aka Saint Paul, who defanged the zealot and turned him into an apolitical metaphysician. Frankly, parts of it are closer to Jesus Christ Superstar than any serious undertaking.If one were minded to follow this line, there are plenty of books that do a more scholarly job, and are written more eloquently. From Nazareth to Nicaea by Geza Vermes should be at the top of the list; AN Wilson’s biographies of …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books