I am still working through Reza Aslan's book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. When I finish it, I hope to write some blog articles and comments on the substance of the book. The ghosts of classic liberals like Reimarus, Adolph Von Harnack, Rudolph Bultmann, F. C. Bauer, Walter Bauer and modern "Jesus Seminar" type liberals like John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, the late Robert Funk, Raymond Brown, and John P. Meier, James Tabor, and Geza Vermes are all through his book; and the end-notes/works cited/bibliography are full of this stuff. In that sense, Aslan's book is nothing new; and will probably be a "flash in the pan". But many younger people, bloggers, skeptics, and atheists today are reading this book. It it interesting for me, because Aslan has become a famous western Iranian, and just knowing his material is helpful in my ministry with Iranians. Therefore, I wanted to read Zealot, as I had also already started his other book, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. I got it in English and Farsi to improve my language skills.
A lot of Aslan's experiences and thinking are typical for westernized Iranians that fled the Iranian Islamic Revolution, lead by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. Aslan was 7 when his family fled the Iranian Revolution; and he says that his family was very nominal Muslims and enthusiastic atheists. He says his mom prayed when no one was looking, and maybe a Qur'an could be found in a drawer hidden away; and for the most part, his father tried really hard to scrub Islam and religion from his family. Many Iranians go that route when they flee Iran and come to the west. I have meet many Iranians like this here in the USA.
In order to get a grasp on what Aslan really means, one needs to understand John Dominic Crossan.
Dr. White debated Dr. Crossan on the Bible - this one is worth ordering here. Debate Title: "Is the Bible True?" I love Dr. White's comment he has made several times over the years about J. D. Crossan, "He is the nicest heretic you will ever meet." (something like that)
Dr. White and James Renihan also debated John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg:
William Lane Craig on John Dominic Crossan: (this is a very good and I think WLC nailed this. Similar to J. Greshem Machen calling out Liberalism as another religion and not Christian at all.)
The book that WLC mentions, Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? (A Debate between John Dominic Crossan and William Lane Craig; edited by Paul Copan) I read this years ago; and it was good to pull it out and go through some of it again.
Here is a very interesting doctoral dissertation for Southern Seminary by Tawa J. Anderson on John Dominic Crossan's theology. I found this very helpful in getting a better overall handle on understanding John Dominic Crossan. (the first couple of pages are blank, so scroll down to start reading it.)