Sep 17 2013
Wikipedia defines the acronym, WWJD as a phrase that “became popular in the United States in the 1990s … as a personal motto for adherents of Evangelical Christianity who used …[it] as a reminder of their belief in a moral imperative to act in a manner that would demonstrate the love of Jesus through the actions of the adherents.” Well, how do we know “what Jesus would do” in a particular situation?
The historical Jesus Christ is not one whose actual background, upbringing, or actions necessarily enter into religious discourses in church or during mass. Rather it’s stories of what writers of the gospels claim Jesus did or was, that is invoked – stories that have little to do with reality it turns out.
Much historical research has been done on the man who actually lived by the name of Jesus of Nazareth about 2000 years ago, and was crucified like many others were for challenging the authority of the Roman Empire.
A new and controversial book by religious scholar Reza Aslan called simply, Zealot, has topped the best seller list, in no small part because of a Fox News interview that, embarrassingly for Fox, questioned Aslan’s scholarship based on his Islamic faith. But the book itself merits the fame Fox has lent it – Reza Aslan distills decades of historical study into the historical Jesus Christ to reveal a portrait of a revolutionary teacher who challenged the brutality and oppression of Rome, was killed for it, and, posthumously spawned one of the world’s most important organized religions.
GUEST: Reza Aslan is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside, a Research Associate at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, and a contributing editor for The Daily Beast. He is best known for his earlier bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. I spoke with him recently in studio about his latest best-seller, Zealot, the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.