Exclusive - Reza Aslan Extended Interview Pt. 1

  • Aired:  07/17/13
  •  | Views: 95,134

In this exclusive, unedited interview, "Zealot" author Reza Aslan disputes the notion of Jesus as a detached, celestial spirit. (5:09)

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

>> John: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT MY BESTSELLING

AUTHOR WHOSE NEW BOOK IS CALLED

"ZEALOT: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF

JESUS CHRIST."

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THE SHOW

THE FANTASTIC REZA ALSAN.

[APPLAUSE]

REZA, REZA, REZA, REZA, REZA...

>> JOHN, JOHN, JOHN, JOHN, JOHN.

>> John: TALK ABOUT JESUS.

>> YOU'VE HEARD OF JESUS?

>> John: I THINK EVERYBODY HAS

HEARD OF JESUS.

I THINK EVERYONE IN THE WORLD

HAS A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS

WHETHER THEY WANT ONE OR NOT.

THIS BOOK IS ABOUT JESUS THE

MAN, NOT SO MUCH JESUS THE

CHRIST.

>> IT'S ABOUT THE HISTORICAL

JESUS, NOT THE CHRIST OF FAITH.

BUT, I MEAN, THE FACT OF THE

MATTER IS WHETHER YOU BELIEVE

THAT JESUS WAS GOD INCARNATE,

GOD MADE FLESH OR NOT, YOU

BELIEVE THAT HE WAS ALSO MAN,

AND IF HE WAS MAN, THEN HE LIVED

IN A SPECIFIC TIME AND PLACE,

AND THAT TIME AND PLACE KIND OF

MATTERS.

IT'S LIKE IF YOU REALLY WANT TO

KNOW WHO HE WAS, YOU HAVE TO PUT

HIS WORDS AND HIS ACTIONS IN THE

CONTEXT OF THE WORLD IN WHICH HE

LIVED.

THE TEACHINGS HAVE TO BE SEEN

ACCORDING TO THE SOCIAL ILLS

THAT HE CONFRONTED AND THE

POLITICAL FORCES THAT HE

CONFRONTED.

>> JOHN: I LOVED THIS BOOK.

>> THANKS.

>> John: AND THE TIME AND

PLACE IN WHICH HE LIVED, IT WAS

TOTAL, TOTAL CHAOS, POSSIBLY THE

MOST CHAOTIC TIME IN THAT

REGION, AND THAT REGION IS THE

MIDDLE EAST.

[LAUGHTER]

>> YEAH.

>> THAT'S A HIGH CRAZY BAR.

>> THIS WAS ONLY THE MOST

TUMULTUOUS ERA IN THE HOLY LAND,

WHICH AS YOU SAY IS SAYING A

LOT, A TIME OF APOCALYPTIC

FERVOR, A TIME IN WHICH WE'RE

SLOWLY MOVING TOWARDS THIS HUGE

JEWISH REVOLT AGAINST THE ROMAN

EMPIRE THAT ULTIMATELY RESULTED

IN THE LEVELING OF JERUSALEM,

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE,

THE EXILE OF THE JEWS AND EVERY

WORD THAT WAS EVER WRITTEN ABOUT

JESUS IN THE GOSPELS WAS WRITTEN

AFTER THAT EVENT.

>> RIGHT.

YOU TALK ABOUT HIM HOW IN THE

BIBLE JESUS REFERRED TO HIM AS A

DETACHED, CELESTIAL SPIRIT.

WE WILL THINK OF HIM IN

PAINTINGS WITH BIRDS ON HIS ARMS

AND LIONS CURLED UP AT HIS

SHOES.

OKAY, OKAY.

THE LIONS CURLED UP AT HIS FEET.

BUT THIS IS MAN DIRECTLY

INVOLVED WITH THE POLITICS OF

HIS TIME.

>> IF YOU KNEW NOTHING ELSE

ABOUT JESUS EXCEPT THAT HE WAS

CRUCIFIED, YOU'D KNOW ENOUGH TO

UNDERSTAND WHO HE WAS.

CRUCIFIXION WAS A PUNISHMENT

THAT ROME RESERVED SOLELY FOR

CRIMES AGAINST THE STATE.

REBELLION, INSURRECTION,

TREASON, SEDITION.

THESE WERE THE ONLY CRIMES THAT

YOU COULD BE CRUCIFIED FOR.

THE THIEVES WHO WERE CRUCIFIED

ALONGSIDE JESUS WERE NOT

THIEVES.

THE GREEK WORD "LESTI" DOESN'T

MEAN THIEF.

IT MEANS BANDIT.

AND BANDIT WAS THE MOST COMMON

TERM IN JESUS' TIME FOR A REBEL,

FOR AN INSURE ARE EX-IST.

HIS CRIME WAS ACTUALLY ETCHED

ABOVE HIS HEAD, KING OF THE

JEWS.

FOR THE LIFE OF ME, I CAN'T

FIGURE OUT WHY MODERN CHRISTIANS

THINK THAT THIS IS SOME SORT OF

LIKE A ROMAN JOKE, YOU KNOW,

LIKE THE ROMANS WERE KNOWN FOR

THEIR SENSE OF HUMOR OR

SOMETHING.

EVERYBODY WHO WAS CRUCIFIED,

EVERYBODY WHO WAS CRUCIFIED HAD

THEIR CRIME PUBLICLY DISPLAYED

SO THAT PEOPLE WOULD KNOW WHAT

HAPPENS WHEN YOU DEFY THE WILL

OF ROME.

>> John: BUT WHY I RESPONDED

SO MUCH TO THIS AS WELL IS THAT

I'VE NOT HAD MUCH OF A

RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS, THE

CHRIST, IN MY LIFE BECAUSE AS A

CHILD, YOU HEAR THESE STORIES,

AND HE DOES SEEM TOO GHOST LIKE,

TOO UNREAL.

WHEN I WAS A KID GROWING UP, THE

STORY THAT I RESPONDED TO THE

MOST WAS THAT MOMENT ON THE

CROSS WHERE HE'S SCREAMING, "MY

GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE THOU

FORSAKEN ME?"

HE BECOMES REAL BECAUSE THAT'S

HUMAN ANGER.

>> I HAD A REAL EXPERIENCE

BECAUSE I CONVERTED TO

EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANITY WHEN I

WAS A KID AND REALLY BURNED WITH

THIS GOSPEL MESSAGE THAT I

HEARD, REALLY, REALLY FELT IT

DEEP IN MY LIFE.

AND THEN IN COLLEGE WHEN I BEGAN

TO STUDY THE NEW TESTMENT, I

BECAME FAR MORE INTERESTED IN

THIS HISTORICAL PERSON THAN I

EVER WAS OF THIS KIND OF

CELESTIAL CHRIST THAT YOU'RE

REFERRING TO, THIS MAN WHO LIVED

2,000 YEARS AGO WHO DEFIED THE

MOST POWERFUL EMPIRE THE WORLD

HAS EVER KNOWN, AND LOST, BUT

NEVERTHELESS, STOOD UP FOR THE

WEAK AND THE POWERLESS, THE

OUTCAST AND THE DISPOSSESSED AND

ULTIMATELY SACRIFICED HIS LIFE

FOR THOSE PEOPLE.

I MEAN, CHRISTIANS BELIEVE HE

SACRIFICED HIS LIFE TO FREE US

FROM SIN, A PERFECTLY FINE

INTERPRETATION FOR THE CHRIST,

BUT WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE MAN

JESUS IS HE WENT TO THE CROSS ON

BEHALF OF THESE OUTCASTS THAT HE

WAS FIGHTING FOR.

>> CAN YOU STICK AROUND AND GO

TO THE WEB?

>> YEAH.

>> John: I ABSOLUTELY LOVE

THIS BOOK.

YOU GOT TO GET IT.

"ZEALOT" IS ON THE BOOKSHELVES

NOW.

THE FANTASTIC REZA ALSAN.

[CHEERING AND APPLA

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