If Jesus of Nazareth were to visit a modern-day church, he would be dumbfounded by the peace-loving, gentle Christ described in the sermons and songs. And if he were to discover these songs of worship were referring to him, Jesus might burst into tears or laughter or, even more likely, start a riot.
Such is the Jesus we find in Reza Aslan’s impressive book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” Aslan follows up his best-selling description of the origins of Islam, “No god but God,” with an exploration of early Christianity and the controversial figure at its center. Balancing impressive scholarship and highly accessible prose, Aslan sets out to extract the historical Jesus from the faith-inspired Gospels and testimonies.
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Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Random House, $27
Austin writer Owen Egerton, whose latest is “Everyone Says That at the End of the World,” will be in conversation with Reza Aslan at 4 p.m. Saturday in the House Chamber.