Author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
- The Oregonian
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 thirteen languages, and was re-released with new content to coincide with the tenth anniversary of 9/11. 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. He is also 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. These literary anthologies use the arts to bridge the gap of understanding between East and West, and to strengthen Jewish and Muslim relations.
His lastest book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth is a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth.
Youth Revolt: The Future of the New Middle East
A drastic shift is taking place in the Middle East. A new generation of young people are clamoring for their rights and freedoms—Âand they drastically outnumber their elders. 75% of the population of the Middle East is under the age of 35, and 50% is under the age of 25. Young, educated, and politically motivated youth in places like Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and beyond have a new vision—one that represents their values, not the values of a ruling elite of previous generations. In this talk, Reza Aslan reveals the true nature of these historic societal changes, and where it will all lead. What motivates the Muslim youth of today? How will these sudden regime changes affect the world's economic and political climate? With authority and eloquence, Aslan unravels the complexities of the new Middle East and shows us what the future holds for this oft-misunderstood part of the world.
The Promise and Perils of Social Media (with Jessica Jackley)
Reza Aslan and Jessica Jackley know about the social web's remarkable ability to build communities and incite social change. As the founder of Aslan Media, which alters perceptions of the Arab world through traditional and online entertainment, Aslan has traced the impact of social media in the Middle East. As the co-founder of KIVA, the world's largest microlending website, Jackley has harnessed the power of one-to-one relationships. Together, this husband and wife team explores the future of online collaboration. How has social media gone from simple news gathering to revolutionizing the concept of community? What changes must our government, business, and educational institutions make in order to catch up to our new web-based society? And what can an individual do to ensure that social media reaches its full potential as a force for global change?
The Next War: Iran, Israel and America at the Crossroads
As tensions mount between Iran, Israel and the U.S., the world is marching towards a major crossroads. Reza Aslan goes behind the political rhetoric to give an unbiased look at what is shaping up to be a potential international crisis. How will all of this affect the ordinary citizens of Iran, Israel, the rest of the already-tumultuous Middle East, and citizens in America? With refreshing objectivity, Aslan delivers a no-nonsense guide to the future of this hotly-watched situation.
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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