Saturday’s Washington Post once again promoted the Muslim author Reza Aslan’s history-mangling Jesus book “Zealot,” this time by reproducing a top-ten “most intriguing religion books” list from Religion News Service. Not every selection was a liberal journalist's pick to click, but these books were laid out with large, color images of the covers.
John Murawski of RNS praised Aslan's work for providing a “much-needed antidote” to how Christians have ethnically and historically sanitized Jesus buried in “aspic”:
If not for Aslan’s fortuitous Fox News interview — in which the creative writing professor was badgered on national TV to explain why a Muslim would write a book about Jesus — “Zealot” might not have made a dent in the public consciousness.
Aslan’s premise, that Jesus of Nazareth preached socialism and plotted sedition against the Roman Empire, is not exactly original, and depends on a selective reading of the Gospels. But the YouTube clip of the Fox interview went viral and catapulted Aslan’s book into the best-seller stratosphere. Vivid and cinematic, Zealot offers a much-needed antidote to the ethnically sanitized, anodyne Jesus preserved in aspic in the Sunday hymnal.
Perhaps Aslan can use that last sentence to sell a paperbck edition. This sales language was too brief to include how Aslan even mangled his own professional history in his Fox News online interview.