Patricia Hofer

Un-baptizing the “Zealot”

Aslan’s book has the Gospel writers motivated by a “frantic attempt to reduce John’s significance, to make him inferior to Jesus.” The reality instead, according to Aslan, was that Jesus was a follower of John the Baptist and that he pushed John aside and set out to “echo” John’s ministry and to “mimic” what had made John successful (89).

The problem with this theory is that Jesus would have been the most unlike follower in history. Instead of living a solitary life in the wilderness, wearing a hair shirt, and eating locusts and honey, Jesus socialized with people in the towns, eating what they ate, drinking what they drank and wearing what they wore. The gospels don’t even say that Jesus himself ever baptized anyone.

The only “frantic attempt” going on is Aslan’s, who desires to turn Jesus into an ambitious zealot locked in the history of 2000 years ago.

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