Patricia Hofer

Reza Aslan’s omissions

Aslan successfully draws readers into the time of Jesus. Too bad he doesn’t open end his discussion, trusting readers to draw their own conclusions.

1. Aslan wrote: “Jesus of Nazareth was first and finally a Jew.” (121) That might apply as an ethnicity or nationality. But Aslan omits all of the ways that Jesus doesn’t act within the exclusivity of Judaism.

2. Aslan wrote that Jesus was just like all of the other “miracle workers and magicians” of the time. But Aslan ignores the significance that Jesus charged nothing for what he did and told people not to advertise that he even had done it!

3. Aslan repeats over and over that Jesus was  “a poor uneducated Jewish peasant.” But then wrote that his followers included “fairly prosperous benefactors” and “wealthy patrons” and “Pharisees.” Why would these educated, powerful people find credible any teaching that came from the bastard son of a peasant mother?

4. Aslan wrote about the many would-be messiahs who aspired to be “king of the Jews.” And yet they and their armed revolutionaries are lost in the dustbin of history. Jesus, however, who didn’t lead even a ragtag army and who hid out so they couldn’t make him “be king,” continues to live  as “the king of kings” through the ages.

Was it Aslan’s intention that the power of his book lie between the lines of text, resonating in the omissions rather than in the assertions? If so, he succeeded.

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