Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Published by
Random House (2013-07)
Original language
Religion & beliefs


The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

by Aslan, Reza

Elegantly written, rigorously researched and scrupulously detailed—providing a brilliant and accessible portrait of a time, a man, and the birth of a religion.

Who was the Jewish peasant who, two thousand years ago, walked across what is now Palestine to gather followers with the goal of establishing the Kingdom of God? Weighing both gospel and historical truth, Reza Aslan crafts a startling biography about one of history's littlest known but most influential figures: Jesus of Nazareth. By placing this charismatic preacher within the turbulent contexts of his time and closely examining the testimonies of those who knew him best--his disciples--Aslan sifts through myths and probabilities to reveal "the Jesus of history." At a time when historical discussions and understandings of religion are reaching international flash points, this unique book will shed new light on one of history's most enigmatic characters. The very different Jesus that emerges from this biography is sure to generate debate. Aslan doesn’t shy away from voicing some controversial claims: among them, that the Nativity was cobbled together to address criticism of Jesus' legitimacy as Messiah; that Jesus likely began his ministry as one of John's disciples; and that the "Kingdom of God" that Jesus preached about was a call to rebel against the Roman Empire. The Jesus who emerges from these pages is a political revolutionary: a zealot who wanted to be king.

Dr. Reza Aslan is an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions. His first book, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, (published by Heineman in the UK) was a Guardian First Book Award finalist, and an international bestseller that was been translated into 13 languages. It was named by Blackwell as one of the hundred most important books of the last decade. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization and the End of the War on Terror (published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism), as well as the editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East. Born in Iran, he now lives in Los Angeles, where is he is associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk


[P]arts an important curtain that has long hidden from view the man Jesus…Aslan develops a convincing and coherent story of how the Christian church, and in particular Paul, reshaped Christianity’s essence, obscuring the very real man who was Jesus of Nazareth. Compulsively readable and written at a popular level, this superb work is highly recommended.

Review: Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reza Aslan argues that the historical Jesus was not an unworldly pacifist preaching a creed of universal love.

Review: Salon/Laura Miller

A bold, powerfully argued revisioning of the most consequential life ever lived.

Quote: Lawrence Wright

In Zealot, Reza Aslan doesn't just synthesize research and re-imagine a lost world, though he does those things very well. He does for religious history what Bertholt Brecht did for playwriting. Aslan rips Jesus out of all the contexts we thought he belonged in and hold him forth as someone entirely new. This is Jesus as a passionate Jew, a violent revolutionary, a fanatical ideologue, an odd and scary and extraordinarily interesting man.

Quote: Judith Shulevitz

A well-researched, readable biography of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus of Nazareth is not the same as Jesus Christ. The Gospels are not historical documents… Why has Christianity taken hold and flourished? This book will give you the answers.

Quote: Kirkus (starred review)

When religious scholar Reza Aslan was 15, he went to an evangelical Christian camp. For the first time, he heard the gospel story — the story of Jesus. It was a profound experience for him, and he immediately converted. But later, when Aslan went to college and began working toward a degree in the New Testament, he found he had doubts.

Quote: npr books

The story of Jesus of Nazareth is arguably the most influential narrative in human history. Here Reza Aslan writes vividly and insightfully about the life and meaning of the figure who has come to be seen by billions as the Christ of faith. This is a special and revealing work, one that believer and skeptic alike will find surprising, engaging, and original.

Quote: Jon Meacham

Accessibl[e] and strongly presented…Readable and with scholarly endnotes, Aslan’s book offers a historical perspective that is sure to generate spirited conversation.

Quote: Library Journal

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.

Quote: Huffington Post

Holland: Busy Bee / Balans Japan: Bungeishunju Brasil: Zahar UK/BC: Saqi SU: Gummerus HU: Scolar AUS: Allen & Unwin

Quote: Client

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