Not having read the book (and not being a scholar of religion) I can’t offer an opinion on Reza Aslan’s new book Zealot, a study of the life of Jesus. Here is what appears to be a reasoned review which thinks it is somewhat flawed. But it doesn’t require expertise in anything much to conclude that Aslan stoutly defended himself in response to a very unhelpful line of questioning in this embarrassing interview.
Just as Tom Holland (and indeed Robert Spencer) are fully entitled to write scholarly books about Islam and Muhammad, so Aslan, an academic who happens to be a Muslim, should certainly be able to write about Jesus without his religion being used as an excuse for patronising or hostile critiques.
An important point to pick out from the Fox interview is Aslan’s departure from Islamic teaching on Jesus on at least two counts: he does not believe in the virgin birth, but does believe that Jesus was crucified. Finally – I was interested to note that Reza Aslan once withdrew a supportive blurb from a book about the Danish cartoons because the publisher backed down from reprinting the cartoons themselves. He described this decision as ‘frankly, idiotic’. That is perhaps tough (considering the fact people have lost their lives over these issues) yet commendable.
Hat Tip: Hind Makki