Reza Aslan implies that the crucifixion was a story hatched by “illiterate peasants from the backwoods of Galilee.” (178). Then he questions why they hung around Jerusalem when they could have “fanned out across Galilee” with their story. The dead zealot wouldn’t have asked them to stay in Jerusalem. Could it perhaps have been the resurrected Jesus (Luke 24:49)?
Aslan likes to describe the disciples as anchored to Brother James in Jerusalem. And yet there is some historical evidence that James the son of Zebedee got as far as Santiago, Spain. And his brother John got as far as Greece. And Peter to Rome.
And then too, if Jesus were only a zealot from Nazareth with a nationalistic message for the Jews, why would “the Seven” (180), Hellenists from outside Judea, be drawn into Jesus’ message at all? What was Stephen dying for?