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Burnsville Book Club - Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus... by Reza Aslan

Now's a good time for a discussion of the social and political landscape that a historical Jesus might have lived in.

Join us for a fun evening as we discuss Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. Since the space is limited it is very important that you immediately update your RSVP status if you cannot attend. If there are people on the waiting list they will be automatically bumped up to the "Attending" category when others change their RSVP to "Not Attending".

The discussion begins at 7pm in the Davanni's "Party Room", but many of us arrive at 6:30 to have a little dinner. The evening usually concludes around 9pm after everyone has an opportunity to share their book recommendations and other ideas for group events.


From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth.
Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the “Kingdom of God.” The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal.
Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God.
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry—a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.
Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious “King of the Jews” whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime. Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity.
Zealot yields a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told even as it affirms the radical and transformative nature of Jesus of Nazareth’s life and mission. The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written biography with the pulse of a fast-paced novel: a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time, and the birth of a religion.

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  • David

    I'm sorry we had to miss the last two. Family stuff has come up.

    September 4, 2014

  • Damian Pound (.

    Maybe I'll finish it this time, I still have it from the last time, only read 40 pages >.>

    September 1, 2014

  • Gina

    Would love to come but since this was just posted last night I will not be able to discuss this book since I won't have enough time to get it & read it.

    August 29, 2014

    • Andrew L.

      We have to read the book to go to the meetup? That explains what I've been doing wrong. More seriously, I am very sorry for the late posting. More important things kept distracting me.

      1 · August 31, 2014

    • Gina

      Books NEED to be posted at least 2 months ahead of time so members have the necessary time needed to procure & read them. A book had been previously picked but was never used.

      August 31, 2014

  • Chris H.

    I can't come either, but I have read the book already, and it is EXCELLENT! (sorry about shouting, ...LOL) Make some time to read (or listen to) it, it deconstructs the foundation of christianity with scholarly insight. Also, look up the hilarious interview with some Fox newsfool on YouTube, who castigates the author for being an islamist, and daring to write about their walled garden of religious belief, ... even though that is his field of expertise! Not a very inclusive club, but as Groucho Marx said ... "I wouldn't want to belong to a club that has THEM as members" (sic).

    August 29, 2014

    • Ronald L.

      I agree with your comments and I saw the Fox segment that was on You tube. I would also recommend reading God, but no God, (I think) by the same author, but about Islam. I thought I would never read a book about it, we get enough in the news, but the book was a worthwhile read I thought after doing it.

      August 29, 2014

  • Julie

    I haven't read this book but would have if I had known about it sooner! I read Bart Ehrman's "Jesus, The Apocalyptic Prophet" several years ago and it seemed to have the same general premise so I am interested in discussing this viewpoint with others.

    August 26, 2014

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