#1 Bestselling Author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
“A bold, powerfully argued revisioning of the most consequential life ever lived.”—Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
“This tough-minded, deeply political book does full justice to the real Jesus, and honors him in the process.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A vivid, persuasive portrait of the world and societies in which Jesus lived and the role he most likely played in both.”—Salon
“Why has Christianity taken hold and flourished? This book will give you the answers.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Zealot is that rare pop culture phenomenon—a serious book on a serious topic that has been embraced by a wide readership. As Publishers Weekly says, Zealot is “compulsively readable and written at a popular level . . . highly recommended.” On a speaking tour to promote the book, Aslan addressed standing-room only audiences. The Daily Beast, reviewing an appearance, writes, “The crowd in Powell’s was rapt—when it wasn’t doubled over in laughter. The scholar did a pretty remarkable job of explaining his viewpoint on history in a lucid, funny, self-deprecating, and engaging way.” Zealot has also been optioned for film by Lionsgate, to be produced by David Heyman (the Harry Potter films, Gravity).
In addition to speaking on the history of the man we know as Jesus, Reza Aslan speaks for a young generation of Muslims—socially conscious, politically active, and technologically savvy—who fight for democratic reform. Whether he’s talking about the legacy of the Arab Spring or Islamophobia, audiences listen. He attained hero status for calmly, and brilliantly, answering questions during interviews for CNN and Fox that both quickly went viral.
Reza Aslan is the author of the international bestseller No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been named by Blackwell Publishers as one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. It’s now available in 13 languages, and was re-released with new content to coincide with the tenth anniversary of 9/11. He is set to host the new CNN spiritual adventure series Believer (debuting in 2016), where he participates in endurance worship, rituals, and rites of passage, to learn about “worlds that have been molded by faith and tradition.” He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War, a contributing editor to The Daily Beast, and a member of many prominent foreign relations and policy councils. As the editor of two volumes: Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, and Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalties, Contentions, and Complexities, Aslan uses the arts to bridge the gap of understanding between East and West, and to strengthen Jewish and Muslim relations. His next book, The Story of God, will be published by Random House (release date TBA). He is also an executive producer of a new ABC TV drama, Of Kings and Prophets, which spins a Biblical tale about a king, a prophet and a shepherd, all of whom are “on a collision course with destiny” (debuting March 8, 2016).
Fear Inc.: Confronting Islamophobia in America
Reza Aslan is famous for his calm, intelligent responses in two separate TV interviews—one on Fox, the other on CNN—that both went viral. In one, Aslan had to defend his ability to write a fair and balanced book on Jesus as a Muslim scholar. In the other, he was forced to refute Bill Maher’s claim that Islam makes people prone to violence and misogyny. In a world where Muslim people are so often colored by one sweeping prejudicial brush—unduly targeted by authorities or the recipients of genuine hatred—Aslan’s principled and logical defense is a direly needed corrective.
This keynote, rich in historical and factual detail, is a wake-up call for North Americans to confront and abolish hatred and discrimination against Muslim people—otherwise known as Islamophobia. Like many phobias, this particular kind is largely the product of misinformation, propaganda, delusions, and outright lies. In fact, fear and hatred of Muslim people—all 1.6 billion of them!—has enabled politicians to justify disastrous military engagements, disrupt entire geographical regions, create racist immigration policies, and strangle civil liberties and freedoms at home. As the American Muslim population is predicted to more than double over the next two decades (from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2030), eradicating Islamophobia for good should be first and foremost in the minds of everyone who dreams of a more peaceful, equitable world.
Holy Wars: Religion and Violence at Home and Abroad
In the wake of recent global events, it’s crucial to understand how the next world war may not only be global, but cosmic in scope. In his book How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror, Aslan has described the origins, motivations, and end goals of holy warriors who perceive their war against secularism and modernity as playing out in a spiritual, rather than earthly, domain. In this talk, Aslan outlines the difference between fundamentalism, religious nationalism, and global jihad. He explains why people—especially young people—are drawn to waging holy wars and initiating apocalyptic scenarios. He discusses how extremism is fostered all around the world, by more than just Islamic radicals (and not just in the Middle East). And, perhaps most importantly, he outlines ways to manage, if not completely defeat, those who employ religious violence. Aslan’s suggestions involve reworking foreign and domestic policy, but more vitally, in rethinking the scale of global conflict. Misinterpreting the motivations of extremists has disastrous consequences—that’s why understanding what a modern holy war really means is the first step on the road to peace.
Jesus of Nazareth: The Christ of Faith and the Jesus of History
In this keynote, based on his new #1 New York Times bestselling book, Reza Aslan sifts through centuries of mythmaking to shed new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters. Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction. He explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself: the mystery at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity. Aslan’s fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched talk offers a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time, and the birth of a religion; and challenges long-held assumptions about the Christ of faith and the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth.
Believer: Reza Aslan’s Journey through the World’s Religions
In each episode of Believer, the upcoming six-part television event for CNN, host Reza Aslan explores one of the world’s major faiths. But rather than offering yet another dry documentary, Aslan performs an immersive deep-dive into each religion: an attempt to experience, and communicate, what it’s like to be a true believer. This means undergoing endurance worship, spellbinding rituals, and truly unusual rites of passage, opening a window on worlds shaped by ancient traditions and community-binding beliefs.
In this fascinating keynote, Aslan recounts his world-spanning journey into the heart of faith. He translates traditions, practices, rites and rituals that may at first seem strange and exotic, but become familiar when taken for what they are: as simply different manifestations of the human search for the divine. Whether relating Shia mourning ceremonies or ultra-Orthodox Jewish spirituality, Aslan’s humane and engaged study of religion is an opportunity for audiences to gain a global perspective, banish preconceptions, and embrace a deeper sense of empathy.
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth.
Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the “Kingdom of God.” The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal.
Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God.
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry—a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.
Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious “King of the Jews” whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime. Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity.
Zealot yields a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told even as it affirms the radical and transformative nature of Jesus of Nazareth’s life and mission. The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written biography with the pulse of a fast-paced novel: a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time, and the birth of a religion.
No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
Though it is the fastest-growing religion in the world, Islam remains shrouded in ignorance and fear for much of the West. In No god but God, Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed scholar of religions, explains this faith in all its beauty and complexity.
Beginning with a vivid account of the social and religious milieu in which the Prophet Muhammad forged his message, Aslan paints a portrait of the first Muslim community as a radical experiment in religious pluralism and social egalitarianism. He demonstrates how, after the Prophet's death, his successors attempted to interpret his message for future generations--an overwhelming task that fractured the Muslim community into competing sects. Finally, Aslan examines how, in the shadow of European colonialism, Muslims developed conflicting strategies to reconcile traditional Islamic values with the realities of the modern world, thus launching what Aslan terms the Islamic Reformation.
Timely and persuasive, No god but God is an elegantly written account of a magnificent yet misunderstood faith.
How to Win a Cosmic War
A cosmic war is a religious war. It is a battle not between armies or nations, but between the forces of good and evil, a war in which God is believed to be directly engaged on behalf of one side against the other. The hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, thought they were fighting a cosmic war. According to award-winning writer and scholar of religions Reza Aslan, by infusing the United States War on Terror with the same kind of religiously polarizing rhetoric and Manichean worldview, is also fighting a cosmic war--a war that can't be won.
How to Win a Cosmic War is both an in-depth study of the ideology fueling al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and like-minded militants throughout the Muslim world, and an exploration of religious violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Surveying the global scene from Israel to Iraq and from New York to the Netherlands, Aslan argues that religion is a stronger force today than it has been in a century. At a time when religion and politics are increasingly sharing the same vocabulary and functioning in the same sphere, Aslan writes that we must strip the conflicts of our world--in particular, the War on Terror--of their religious connotations and address the earthly grievances that always lie behind the cosmic impulse. How do you win a cosmic war? By refusing to fight in one.
Tablet and Pen
The countries that stretch along the broad horizons of the Middle East--from Morocco to Iran, from Turkey to Pakistan--boast different cultures, different languages, and different religions. Yet the literary landscape of this dynamic part of the world has been bound together not by borders and nationalities, but by a common experience of Western imperialism. Keenly aware of the collected scars left by a legacy of colonial rule, the acclaimed writer Reza Aslan, with a team of four regional editors and seventy-seven translators, cogently demonstrates with Tablet and Pen how literature can, in fact, be used to form identity and serve as an extraordinary chronicle of the disrupted histories of the region.
Acting with Words Without Borders, which fosters international exchange through translation and publication of the world's finest literature, Aslan has purposefully situated this volume in the twentieth century, beyond the familiar confines of the Ottoman past, believing that the writers who have emerged in the last hundred years have not received their full due. This monumental collection, therefore, of nearly two hundred pieces, including short stories, novels, memoirs, essays and works of drama--many of them presented in English for the first time--features translated works from Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Turkish. Organized chronologically, the volume spans a century of literature: from the famed Arab poet Khalil Gibran to the Nobel laureates Naguib Mahfouz and Orhan Pamuk, from the great Syrian-Lebanese poet Adonis to the grand dame of Urdu fiction, Ismat Chughtai--connected by the extraordinarily rich tradition of resplendent cultures that have been all too often ignored by the Western canon.
By shifting America's perception of the Middle Eastern world away from religion and politics, Tablet & Pen evokes the splendors of a region through the voices of its writers and poets, whose literature tells an urgent and liberating story. With a wealth of contextual information that places the writing within the historical, political, and cultural breadth of the region, Tablet & Pen is transcendent, a book to be devoured as a single sustained narrative, from the first page to the last. Creating a vital bridge between two estranged cultures, "this is that rare anthology: cohesive, affecting, and informing" (Publishers Weekly).
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