Reza Aslan’s Historical Method

David Wood and Mike Licona analyze Reza Aslan’s historical method and point out the way Aslan tries to claim that only he has the right view of the historical Jesus.

Wood and Licona have exposed a massive contradiction in Reza Aslan’s book.  He wants to have “have his cake and eat it too” so to speak.   As David Wood says, “Reza tries to hedge his bets”.  Aslan tries to come across as balanced by saying that every interpretation and argument of the historical Jesus has an equal and opposite valid interpretation, but then later, he says his view is the right view.  That’s a big contradiction.

“There are a few things we need to keep in mind before we begin our examination.  For every well attested, heavily researched, and eminently authoritative argument made about the historical Jesus, there is an equally well-attested, equally researched, and equally authoritative argument opposing it.”  (Reza Aslan, Zealot, Location 81, Kindle edition)

In the next sentence, he says, “. . . I have constructed my narrative upon what I believe to be the most accurate and reasonable argument, based on my two decades of scholarly research into the New Testament and early Christian history.”  (Ibid, Kindle Edition)

Later, Reza Aslan points out that “Scholars tend to see the Jesus they want to see.  Too often, they see themselves – their own reflection- in the image of Jesus they have constructed.” (Location 234, Kindle Edition)

Then, Aslan asserts that he has been able to peel away the layers of redaction and additions by later writers, and get to “the only Jesus that we can access by historical means.” (Ibid)

Wait, I though there would be “an equally well attested, equally researched, and equally authoritative argument opposing it.” ?

Aslan claims to be a Muslim, a Sufi, “informed by the symbols and metaphors of Islam”, but in his book, he makes it clear that one of the most historically reliable facts about Jesus is His death by crucifixion:  “he was arrested and executed by Rome for the crime of sedition.” (Location 221, Kindle Edition)

“In the end, there are only two hard historical facts about Jesus of Nazareth upon which we can confidently rely:  the first is that he was a Jew who led a popular Jewish movement in Palestine at the beginning of the first century C. E.; the second is that he was crucified for doing so.” (location 180, Kindle Edition)

He has clearly contradicted the Qur’an in Surah 4:157, so what kind of a Muslim is he?   or can he really be a true Muslim?

Reza also denies the virgin birth of Jesus Al Masih, which also contradicts the Qur’an and Islamic belief, so how can he be a real Muslim? (Surah 3 and 19 have extended sections on the virgin birth of Al Masih, but the Qur’an also denies that Jesus’ nature is Divine or “the Son of God”.)

For more on Reza Aslan’s book and Worldview, see here.   (Many other links to others who have analyzed Aslan’s book, Zealot, are there.)

And here.   (Understanding John Dominic Crossan, one of the main modern proponents of the separation of the Jesus of history vs. the Christ of faith, which is basically the worldview of naturalistic materialism, that no miracles or theology or supernatural events or prophesies are allowed in historical research.)

And here. 

About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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2 Responses to Reza Aslan’s Historical Method

  1. Pingback: Reza Aslan’s Historical Method |

  2. Ken Temple says:

    Unfortunately, Reza Aslan is a hypocrite on some principles (as the article linked to below shows), and has a very dirty mouth when he is confronted and questioned and resorts to disgusting language when he knows he cannot win an argument over accuracy about Islam and politics, etc. The left wing media will not call him out – but he is very similar in character, to Martin Bashir,

    formerly of MSNBC, and NBC, who made a disgusting rant against Sarah Palin.

    Aslan’s dirty mouth and bullying tactics have been pointed out by others, but not enough yet.

    He seems to be catering to the younger generation of those that follow John Stewart’s comedy Central show, The Daily Show, and the level of secular -left-liberalism, cursing, and clever humor of John Stewart.

    That seems to be most of his emphasis in his other books and interviews and discussions – a strong left wing liberalism. He has said his version of faith in God is “informed by the symbols and metaphors of Islam” – whatever that means.

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