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  1. I would like to hear educated opinions about Reza Aslan's book, "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth." In my previous readings, which have been extensive for a layperson, I haven't read as full a description of the context of Israel / Roman rule / Judaism during the 3-4 decades prior to Jesus' public ministry, for instance--fascinating! Is that historically accurate, as much as is possible from the vantage of 2014? What about Jesus being a disciple of John the Baptist--more than I had ever considered before--accurate, do you think? I had thought Jesus returned to Galilee shortly after his baptism and wilderness experience, which I imagined to be Jesus alone, and not with the Baptist. "Zealot" would have Jesus and the Baptist in the wilderness together, and suggests a longer time that Jesus spent as a follower of the Baptist before returning to Galilee--much more influenced by him than I had thought. Spong, Borg, and others support the idea of Jesus' being much more political than traditional Christianity might suggest--in fact, being crucified for political reasons rather than as God's plan for atonement for human sin. "Zealot" takes the political to another level! What do you think?? Has Aslan used credible sources and interpreted them with credibility?
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