Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Real Root of Reza Aslan's Worldview and book, Zealot

This interview of Reza Aslan by Jennifer Danielle Crumpton reveals the real underlying worldview and presuppositions of Reza and his book, Zealot.  Jennifer Crumpton got her M. Div. from Union Theological Seminary, no surprise there, and is ordained in the "Christian Church" (Disciples of Christ) denomination.   Jennifer is a Pastoral Associate of Park Avenue Christian Church in Manhattan, New York.  This is one of the most liberal of all mainline churches; along with the United Church of Christ and affiliated denominations.  (Hard to say which one is the most liberal.)

She also says she is a blogger and minister to young people, Gen-Xers and Millennials, etc. a "Femmevangelical" (her web-site), and most of what she writes seems to be similar to other post-moderns and Emergent/Emerging church thinking.  She writes for the Huffington Post and other liberal leaning blogs.   If you look further at her web-site and videos on You Tube, it is obviously she is against the complimentarian position of women's roles in the Bible and church and family, and very negative against Patriarchal society in the Bible.  Unfortunately, the past sins of some men against women are being imputed to God and the Bible itself. (Nothing new there either.)

The scholars who have criticized Reza Aslan's book, Zealot, have focused on the fact that his theory that Jesus was a revolutionary against Rome is not new, but not many of them talk about the roots of his worldview in the book, and the separation of "the Jesus of history" vs. "the Christ of Faith".

A roundup of significant reviews of Zealot:

John Dickson - this one seems to me to be the most devastating to Aslan.  (per Denny Burk's blog)
seems like Denny Burk's blog is being hacked, or having problems sometimes, so below is the direct link:

John Dickson

Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition. 

Larry Hurtado  (by way of Ben Witherington III) 

Warning - this link shows Reza Aslan's frequent cursing, dirty language, and bullying on twitter and media outlets, with anyone whom he doesn't agree with. (on the second page)

Aslan is classic liberalism that has come back with a vengence in our society through the Emerging/Emergent church movement and their spokespeople like Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, and Rachel Held Evans.

It is the same classic Rudolph Bultmann type stuff I heard in the liberal United Methodist Church that I grew up, in the 1960s and 1970s.   But the ministers never admitted it until the Lord saved me in 1977 as a teenager, and then, later, in 79-81, when I went and asked them specific questions, I learned where they were coming from.  

The biggest problem is that in sound bite media and Reza Aslan's interviews (like on PBS programs and the Daily Show and Huffington Post type blog/video interviews, and this one above; is his views are "baptized" in the general idea that "The Jesus of History" is separate from "The Christ of Faith", and that seems to be overall worldview of most liberal and modern scholars today - John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, Bart Ehrman, etc. - they don't allow truth of theology and miracles to be brought into history or historical research. Doubt and skepticism toward the gospels and Bible are the takeaway message in our sound-bite culture.
Most people seeing these things (interviews, media videos and blogs) don't care about Reimarus or S. G. F. Brandon, (Though it is good for thoughtful readers to know about that and that those theories have already been dealt with in earlier times); but what dumbs everything down and the basic message that gets spread, is that Jesus existed and was crucified, but beyond that, we cannot trust anything else, because it is suppossedly out of the realm of the canons of historical research to allow miracles or theology into it.

I am still reading the book Zealot, I have probably read 3/4 of it; but to be honest, it is boring!!  Liberalism is boring to me; and before I cull together specific quotes and specific problems, I thought I would give an overview of the basic worldview first.

See also my earlier post about "Understanding John Dominic Crossan". 


Unknown said...

The problem of Aslan's book is that he assumes Jesus was an ordinary man of this time.
But if so, why didn't the followers of other apocalyptic preachers develop the belief that their dead master was ressurected ans even the son of God?

Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

Ken said...

Even worse than that, Reza Aslan

1. Separates "the Jesus of history" vs. "the Christ of faith and theoloy" into two separate realities.

2. Thinks that all the narrative was made up and not historical and is myth in order to teach a lesson. (Bultmann and Crossan, Borg)

3. Even asserts that the Biblical authors themselves are not meaning that anyone understand them as communicating history or accurate facts.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

Even worse than that, Reza Aslan separates "the Jesus of history" vs. "the Christ of faith and theoloy" into two separate realities

What's wrong with that ? :-\

Ken said...

Makes no sense. I don't get your web-site. Some of it is really weird.