Patricia Hofer

“Zealot” Anoints Brother James

Using smoke and mirrors, Aslan’s Zealot regenerates and redraws the picture of James, the brother of Jesus.

1. Aslan asserts that “historical evidence attests” that Jesus’ brother James is “the undisputed leader of the movement Jesus left behind” (200). But the majority of this  refurbished “evidence” comes from the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas and the epistles of Peter, considered to be 2nd and 3rd century documents.

2. Aslan is comfortable with the pseudonymous naming of books in the New Testament—as long as they don’t interfere with the thesis of his book. But, according to Aslan, the book of James undoubtedly “represents what he [James] believed” and is drawn from “an edited and expanded version of a sermon he [James] gave” (204).

3. And then Aslan has the audacity to say, “one sure way of uncovering what Jesus may have believed is to determine what his brother James believed” (204). How many people would say that about their siblings? Jesus did not even trust brother James with their mother. Instead Jesus said to John, “Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home” (John 19:27).

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