Review of Zealot by Robert Gundry
In his New York Times #1 best seller for nonfiction, Reza Aslan portrays the historical Jesus as a zealot who preached sedition against Rome. According to Aslan, Jesus’ message of God’s kingdom promised the overthrow of Rome, the expulsion of all foreign elements from the Holy Land, and the Jews’ world-wide political dominance under Jesus’ kingship. Though he himself did not take up arms, he said he came not to bring peace on earth, but the sword; and he told his disciples to arm themselves with swords for the coming conflict. Since the Jewish hierarchs who controlled the temple served as lackeys to the Romans, Jesus’ cleansing the temple challenged not only the hierarchs’ authority, but also that of the Romans. Hence his crucifixion as “The King of the Jews” counted as the execution of a messianic rebel. But the kingdom of God as Jesus envisioned it did not come. In fact, even the nearly successful Jewish rebellion against Rome in ad 66-73 collapsed under the onslaught of Roman power. As a result of these embarrassments and the influx of non-Palestinian Jews and non-Jews into the Jesus movement, the historically human Jesus of zealotic rebellion was transformed into the fictitiously divine Christ of a peaceful, heavenly kingdom.
You can read my review of Zealot here.