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  #1  
Old Jul 16, '13, 9:56 am
foodieworkout foodieworkout is offline
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Red face Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

This is part question, part response. I heard a public radio interview on Reza Aslan's "theology"-his idea of the "history" of Jesus as presented in his new book, Jesus, the Zealot. I put these words in quotes because he is so convinced of his own view and studies without any room for a more balanced view and theology. He debunked the Nativity scenes historicity (Roman Catholic Marian and biblical scholar Fr Rene Laurentin beautifully wrote on the historicity of the Nativity with intense scholarship,as well as addressing some of the issues and problems therein). Former Evangelical Christian, but now a Muslim, author Reza Aslan, also said the reluctant Pilate in the Passion accounts was a fabricated story line, and Jesus was executed as a true criminal, a threat to the Roman Empire as a zealot, as well as basically saying the Incarnation was not a reality in terms of history, but rather signifies a deeper truth, etc. I have not seen any Catholic or Christian Protestant rebuttal to this new book and the intensity of the radio time and program of Mr Aslan as aired on "Fresh Air" yesterday. Amazing. Where are our hearts and desires to stand up for the realtionship we have with Christ and His Church, and the human-Divine Person of the Incarnate Jesus Who we deeply love and follow? This was my reply online to Public Radio:

I was suprised at the amount of time and radio air afforded to the very well spoken and scholarly Reza Aslan regarding his book on Jesus, the Zealot, and his own deeply personal beliefs; he appears to have employed his academic research and gift of speech and expression of thought to fit his own conviction and "theory" of Jesus Christ as an historical man. There are great biblcal scholars who could have been consulted in order to give a different view and accent to the show, and perhaps a broader and more "balanced" view for your listeners, one also based on like scholarship, and history, but without abandoning the element of profound and tested, and persevering faith in the whole Christ, not a seemingly truncated one. As I listened carefully, Mr. Aslan very pleasantly debunked the very foundation of the Christian belief in Jesus Christ as a God-man, and Jesus' "Incarnation". In all due respect to all religions and a desire for Christain and global religious unity, I have to ponder if such a show had been remotely directed in the same tones of its ever so politely and scholarly debunking of the core beliefs of the Judaic or Muslim Faith, would it be truly be allowed to air on Public Radio, and with such time, interest and encouargement, without any opportunity for debate and a balanced discussion from other scholars?
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  #2  
Old Jul 16, '13, 12:02 pm
ProdglArchitect ProdglArchitect is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by foodieworkout View Post
This is part question, part response. I heard a public radio interview on Reza Aslan's "theology"-his idea of the "history" of Jesus as presented in his new book, Jesus, the Zealot. I put these words in quotes because he is so convinced of his own view and studies without any room for a more balanced view and theology. He debunked the Nativity scenes historicity (Roman Catholic Marian and biblical scholar Fr Rene Laurentin beautifully wrote on the historicity of the Nativity with intense scholarship,as well as addressing some of the issues and problems therein). Former Evangelical Christian, but now a Muslim, author Reza Aslan, also said the reluctant Pilate in the Passion accounts was a fabricated story line, and Jesus was executed as a true criminal, a threat to the Roman Empire as a zealot, as well as basically saying the Incarnation was not a reality in terms of history, but rather signifies a deeper truth, etc. I have not seen any Catholic or Christian Protestant rebuttal to this new book and the intensity of the radio time and program of Mr Aslan as aired on "Fresh Air" yesterday. Amazing. Where are our hearts and desires to stand up for the realtionship we have with Christ and His Church, and the human-Divine Person of the Incarnate Jesus Who we deeply love and follow? This was my reply online to Public Radio:

I was suprised at the amount of time and radio air afforded to the very well spoken and scholarly Reza Aslan regarding his book on Jesus, the Zealot, and his own deeply personal beliefs; he appears to have employed his academic research and gift of speech and expression of thought to fit his own conviction and "theory" of Jesus Christ as an historical man. There are great biblcal scholars who could have been consulted in order to give a different view and accent to the show, and perhaps a broader and more "balanced" view for your listeners, one also based on like scholarship, and history, but without abandoning the element of profound and tested, and persevering faith in the whole Christ, not a seemingly truncated one. As I listened carefully, Mr. Aslan very pleasantly debunked the very foundation of the Christian belief in Jesus Christ as a God-man, and Jesus' "Incarnation". In all due respect to all religions and a desire for Christain and global religious unity, I have to ponder if such a show had been remotely directed in the same tones of its ever so politely and scholarly debunking of the core beliefs of the Judaic or Muslim Faith, would it be truly be allowed to air on Public Radio, and with such time, interest and encouargement, without any opportunity for debate and a balanced discussion from other scholars?
Put simply, we have more important things to deal with right now than a disgruntled ex-christian disguising his personal opinions as science and history.

The Catholic Church has never presented the traditional nativity scene as fact (at least, not that I'm aware). It is simply a well-loved symbol which represents the importance of Christ's birth and the fact that, whether immediately or a few months afterwards, he was honored by visitors from foreign lands. To say that a simple representation not being 100% accurate somehow disproves Christ's divinity is... well... honestly the only word for it is stupid.

That bit about Pilate, especially, is nonsense. There is so little historical evidence about Pilate's personal activities, that most anti-biblical historians dismissed him as made up until papers bearing his name were discovered not long ago. Historians seem to have adopted the view that Pilate was a man devoid of compassion, who never would have questioned killing anyone he viewed as a threat, based entirely on a handful of letters... hardly a solid basis for determining a man's entire world view. Quite frankly, I find the fact that they parade their opinions as fact laughable, and quite frankly an extreme dis-service to the study of history, Biblical or otherwise.

Frankly, we don't rebut it because it's not worth wasting our time over. Some people will believe it because they are constantly searching for some straw to grasp hold of in the hopes that it will unravel Christianity. There will be a rebuttal, eventually... and there likely have been rebuttals to the majority of the points in the book. Mr. (Mrs.?) Aslan's ideas are nothing new, and have been addressed by the Church on more than one occasion.
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  #3  
Old Jul 16, '13, 1:45 pm
MarkInOregon MarkInOregon is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by foodieworkout View Post
This is part question, part response. I heard a public radio interview on Reza Aslan's "theology"-his idea of the "history" of Jesus as presented in his new book, Jesus, the Zealot. I put these words in quotes because he is so convinced of his own view and studies without any room for a more balanced view and theology. He debunked the Nativity scenes historicity (Roman Catholic Marian and biblical scholar Fr Rene Laurentin beautifully wrote on the historicity of the Nativity with intense scholarship,as well as addressing some of the issues and problems therein). Former Evangelical Christian, but now a Muslim, author Reza Aslan, also said the reluctant Pilate in the Passion accounts was a fabricated story line, and Jesus was executed as a true criminal, a threat to the Roman Empire as a zealot, as well as basically saying the Incarnation was not a reality in terms of history, but rather signifies a deeper truth, etc. I have not seen any Catholic or Christian Protestant rebuttal to this new book and the intensity of the radio time and program of Mr Aslan as aired on "Fresh Air" yesterday. Amazing. Where are our hearts and desires to stand up for the realtionship we have with Christ and His Church, and the human-Divine Person of the Incarnate Jesus Who we deeply love and follow? This was my reply online to Public Radio:

I was suprised at the amount of time and radio air afforded to the very well spoken and scholarly Reza Aslan regarding his book on Jesus, the Zealot, and his own deeply personal beliefs; he appears to have employed his academic research and gift of speech and expression of thought to fit his own conviction and "theory" of Jesus Christ as an historical man. There are great biblcal scholars who could have been consulted in order to give a different view and accent to the show, and perhaps a broader and more "balanced" view for your listeners, one also based on like scholarship, and history, but without abandoning the element of profound and tested, and persevering faith in the whole Christ, not a seemingly truncated one. As I listened carefully, Mr. Aslan very pleasantly debunked the very foundation of the Christian belief in Jesus Christ as a God-man, and Jesus' "Incarnation". In all due respect to all religions and a desire for Christain and global religious unity, I have to ponder if such a show had been remotely directed in the same tones of its ever so politely and scholarly debunking of the core beliefs of the Judaic or Muslim Faith, would it be truly be allowed to air on Public Radio, and with such time, interest and encouargement, without any opportunity for debate and a balanced discussion from other scholars?
Fresh Air is an interview show. Terry Gross has a guest and interviews them--that is what occurred yesterday-- she interviewed a guest about their new book. She is allowed to pick her guests and discuss things with them. I think you are over thinking this. I heard the show and it made me want to look into a couple of things--it certainly did not rock my faith or even make me question it. When you listen to a show like Fresh Air you know what you are getting--I didn't expect to here a rebuttal guest. When I listen to Al Kresta I don't expect rebuttal guests from liberal sources. One has to realize the nature of the show one is listening to.

Peace of Christ,
Mark
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  #4  
Old Jul 16, '13, 4:30 pm
KEP1983 KEP1983 is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

Good point MarkInOregan. The interview made me think of the time "Fresh Air" had a very intelligent discussion about Muhammad not existing and the Quran being a forgery.

Oh wait, that never happened.
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  #5  
Old Jul 16, '13, 8:00 pm
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

I heard part of a radio interview with a person who I believe to be this man. How many have been led astray, including here, where claims are made that none of the history in the Bible is real? Only the message was real - the "stories"? No.

This is worth our time and effort. No one can speak for all Catholics. This Catholic will be looking for this book and books on Biblical archaeology. It's time to take the Bible out of the realm of "it was written only by men" and its history is actual history. Please, I'm aware of all the literary forms, but all interpretations of the Bible start with the Literal, which is hated by some.



Peace,
Ed
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  #6  
Old Jul 16, '13, 8:10 pm
foodieworkout foodieworkout is offline
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Red face Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

Peace to you, Ed.
And thank you. Let us pray deeply, and continue to be channels of charity and light. And truth united to the Church's teachings. In JMJ, John
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  #7  
Old Jul 16, '13, 8:17 pm
foodieworkout foodieworkout is offline
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Red face Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

Peace to you, Ed.
And thank you. Let us pray deeply, and continue to be channels of charity and light. And truth united to the Church's teachings. In JMJ, John
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  #8  
Old Jul 17, '13, 12:38 pm
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

Thank you, John.




Ed
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  #9  
Old Jul 19, '13, 6:26 am
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AmbroseSJ AmbroseSJ is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

I read his book "No God but God." I thought it had reasonably good history. After seeing his interviews about his new book, I am sorry to say that he is just another Muslim with an agenda against Christians, no matter what evidence exists contrary to his beliefs.

It is such a truism, that a Muslim spouting off against Christians (or Jews) can not be given the least credit.
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  #10  
Old Jul 19, '13, 7:09 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

The idea that Jesus was really a Zealot really isn't new. The late Hyam Maccoby had proposed the same thing decades earlier.

I think the biggest flaw in the idea that Jesus was a Zealot is the fact that only He was arrested. Other people who gathered a huge following to themselves promising signs of deliverance were disposed of when armed troops arrived to crush the disturbance. In these cases the followers were killed and rounded up in the fracas. Had Jesus been leading a guerilla army we would have expected that the disciples were also arrested or worse, killed on the spot. The solitary execution of the leader shows that Jesus was perceived as someone who could rouse the mob, and not someone who is breeding a secret army.
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  #11  
Old Jul 19, '13, 9:36 am
cornbread_r2 cornbread_r2 is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

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Originally Posted by patrick457 View Post
The idea that Jesus was really a Zealot really isn't new. The late Hyam Maccoby had proposed the same thing decades earlier.

I think the biggest flaw in the idea that Jesus was a Zealot is the fact that only He was arrested. Other people who gathered a huge following to themselves promising signs of deliverance were disposed of when armed troops arrived to crush the disturbance. In these cases the followers were killed and rounded up in the fracas. Had Jesus been leading a guerilla army we would have expected that the disciples were also arrested or worse, killed on the spot. The solitary execution of the leader shows that Jesus was perceived as someone who could rouse the mob, and not someone who is breeding a secret army.
On the other hand, Mr. Asian cites the fact that Jesus was executed in a manner reserved for traitors and insurrectionists to support his thesis. That, of course, also leaves open the question of why his followers weren't also rounded up and executed -- especially after they publicly recruited thousands of new followers mere weeks after Jesus's own execution. I think there's a plausible explanation for these inconsistencies, but it isn't one that would get much traction in this venue.
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Old Jul 20, '13, 1:31 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

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On the other hand, Mr. Asian cites the fact that Jesus was executed in a manner reserved for traitors and insurrectionists to support his thesis. That, of course, also leaves open the question of why his followers weren't also rounded up and executed -- especially after they publicly recruited thousands of new followers mere weeks after Jesus's own execution. I think there's a plausible explanation for these inconsistencies, but it isn't one that would get much traction in this venue.
I don't know. I don't particularly find the idea of 'crucifixion equals armed banditry' to be very convincing. That was indeed a crime punishable by crucifixion, but that doesn't mean every single person crucified were all Zealots.

I recommend the chapter "The Zealots and Jesus" in the book Jesus and the Politics of His Day.
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Old Jul 20, '13, 6:17 pm
cornbread_r2 cornbread_r2 is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

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I don't know. I don't particularly find the idea of 'crucifixion equals armed banditry' to be very convincing. That was indeed a crime punishable by crucifixion, but that doesn't mean every single person crucified were all Zealots.

I recommend the chapter "The Zealots and Jesus" in the book Jesus and the Politics of His Day.
I agree that that's not the best of arguments.

For myself it comes down to these incongruities:

If Jesus was tried and executed for seditious acts, then why were his known followers not only allowed to live, but also allowed to openly recruit thousands of new recruits -- in Jesus's name -- just weeks after his execution?

If Jesus was just a common rabble-rouser, then why was he tried and executed like a seditionist, instead of being summarily executed by the closest Roman soldier at hand like other common rabble-rousers?

IMO, the role of the Romans in the Gospels seems more like plot device than historical fact.
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Old Jul 21, '13, 9:12 am
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NHInsider NHInsider is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

I imagine there will be articles, and perhaps even books written to address some of Mr. Aslan's assertions. These take time, both the researching/writing and the publishing. Mr. Aslan is currently on his book tour, so he's going to turn up in lots of different fora.

It is true that Fresh Air is not the sort of program where the host sets up a debate, so it's not surprising that she did not bring in an alternative voice to "balance" her guest's position. Just not that kind of program.

However, those of us who interact with people who try to debunk the faith would do well to be aware of Mr. Aslan and his book, because there will surely be those who use him to boost their own positions, and we should be prepared to respond to them.

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Old Jul 21, '13, 10:06 am
steve53 steve53 is offline
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Default Re: Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus as a zealot. where are the Catholic-Christian rebuttals?

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Originally Posted by cornbread_r2 View Post
I agree that that's not the best of arguments.

For myself it comes down to these incongruities:

If Jesus was tried and executed for seditious acts, then why were his known followers not only allowed to live, but also allowed to openly recruit thousands of new recruits -- in Jesus's name -- just weeks after his execution?

If Jesus was just a common rabble-rouser, then why was he tried and executed like a seditionist, instead of being summarily executed by the closest Roman soldier at hand like other common rabble-rousers?

IMO, the role of the Romans in the Gospels seems more like plot device than historical fact.
There was a very good reason that Jesus was executed but that none of his followers were rounded up and executed with him.

Caiaphas targeted Jesus as the head of the snake. But for those brutal times, sure, why not round up everyone including Jesus and be done with it? Even during a Passover, such an action would not be unusual.

The answer lies in the year that the Passover occurred.

According to one source- Patrick can tell you who- that year was A.D. 36. During that Passover, Jerusalem was visited by the most powerful man in the eastern Roman Empire, Lucius Vitellius. His power in the empire was second only to Tiberius himself.

The authority of the High Priesthood came directly from Rome, so Vitellius was a man to be feared..

Rome, contrary to popular belief, cared that their appointed or designated rulers did not oppress their people. If Vitellius saw a mass execution on his visit, it would reflect badly upon the High Priesthood.

Caiaphas was rightfully concerned. He thought that eliminating Jesus would mean a peaceful rest of the Passover for Vitellius to see.

And, after jesus' crucifixion, it did prove to be peaceful.

But Vitellius was no fool, and probably removed Caiaphas from the High Priest's position for his action against Jesus, and was likely close to removing Pilate as well.

The next year, A.D. 37, Vitellius returned for the Passover in Jerusalem for the purpose of invading Arabia. He found the replacement High Priest Jonathan harassing the Christians (using people like the future Apostle Paul), and Pilate acting against the Jewish Samaritans.

Vitellius subsequently removed them both.

Vitellius aborted his invasion plans when Tiberius died in A.D. 37 and Caligula did not show any interest in the campaign.

Vitellius' son, FWIW, later became a famous glutton, and also the Roman Emperor for six brief months in A.D. 69.


Heck, I will save Patrick the trouble. This is all from Hagan's Year of the Passover and Fires of Rome

Last edited by steve53; Jul 21, '13 at 10:26 am.
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