religion | July 28, 2013

The Surreal Reza Aslan Fox News Interview: “I Am a Professor of Religions”

A controversial Fox News interview with religions speaker Reza Aslan has gone viral. One article, at Buzzfeed, asked “Is this the Most Embarrassing Interview Fox News Has Ever Done?” Emily Nussbaum, of the New Yorker, called it “demented,” adding that Aslan “handled it with remarkable calm.” The ostensible subject of the interview was Aslan’s new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, which debuted at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list this week. But the actual topic—in the eyes of Fox News—was why a Muslim would write a book about Jesus. Aslan is a noted religions scholar with a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Doctor of Philosophy in the sociology of religion from UC Santa Barbara. He was asked, bluntly: “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” To which he calmly replied, “Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions, with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in Biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.” The interview went on in this vein, with Aslan answering every question. Watch for yourself above. For a more thoughtful discussion of Reza Aslan’s new book, try Terry Gross’ interview with him, “Christ in Context: “’Zealot’ Explores the Life of Jesus.”

By the way, after the interview aired, Zealot hit #1 on Amazon.

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science | July 25, 2013