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Jul 29 2013

Give this man a prize

This interview with Reza Aslan about his new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth has been all over the internet but I got to watch it only today. The scholar of religions amazingly keeps his cool with what has to be one of the most obtuse interviewers I have ever seen. Even though he ends up explaining basic things about the nature of academic studies to Lauren Green like she was a child, she still does not seem to get it.

Green seems absolutely flabbergasted that a Muslim would have the nerve to write a book about Jesus. Does she have any idea about the number of Christian scholars who write about other religions? She seems to suspect that Aslan’s book was a hatchet job motivated by Islam but it was clear that she had no idea what was actually in the book and simply quotes other people’s criticisms. Given that Aslan treats Jesus as a historical figure (as Muslim orthodoxy asserts) and not a fictional one the way that some other scholars do, he has already gone further to satisfy Christians than others might have done.

The interview was quite hilarious but made me wonder: Where does Fox News find these people?

You can read some of the Twitter jokes inspired by the interview here.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    Matt G

    Did she refer to Jesus as the “founder of Christianity”? Isn’t Paul given that distinction? And she anchors a program on religion (which for most Americans means Christianity)? Oy!

  2. 2
    Chiroptera

    Seeing how Jesus is an important prophet to the Muslims, a Muslim has as much right to write a book about him as a Christian does about Moses or Abraham.

  3. 3
    csrster

    I’ve heard about this interview but can’t even pluck up the stomach to watch it. I don’t suppose Aslan happens to mention that the single most eminent Jesus-scholar of modern times, Geza Vermes, wasn’t a Christian either.

  4. 4
    csrster

    Mind you, I’ve just read his Preface to “Religion and the New Atheism : A Critical Appraisal” and wasn’t exactly impressed: all the usual cliches about atheist “fundamentalism” and not taking proper, sophisticated, academic theology seriously. He ends with this “What the new atheists do not do, and what makes them so much like the religious fundamentalists they abhor, is admit that all metaphysical claims— be they about the possibility of a transcendent presence in the universe or the birth of the incarnate God on earth— are ultimately unknowable and, perhaps, beyond the purview of science.”

    Whut? I have no idea what he means by “unknowable”, but I can assure him that every atheist I know will happily concede that all such claims are _untestable_. That’s precisely the point!

  5. 5
  6. 6
    MNb

    Still Aslan has a point – liberal, tolerant, progressive don’t get criticized nearly enough.

  7. 7
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    “all metaphysical claims…are ultimately unknowable and, perhaps, beyond the purview of science.”

    Perhaps?
    Beyond or beneath?
    Surely the whole point of a metaphysical claim is that it is unknowable.
    Professor Aslan’s claims about Jesus are just as blasphemous from a muslim viewpoint as a christian one- more so, perhaps, as christians- well, some christians- have been making a distinction between the “historical Jesus” and the role of Jesus in christianity for some time and Aslan’s claims contradict the divinely-dictated koran. It’ll be interesting if Aslan moves on to examine Mohammed in the same way…

  8. 8
    Scott

    Whichever way one’s critique of Aslan’s work goes, I am amazed at his patience with this obviously ignorant woman!

    Where does one go to get that kind of calm and patience?

  9. 9
    slc1

    Prof. Singham doesn’t think that the Fascist News Channel hires women like Lauren Green for their intelligence does he?

  10. 10
    Reginald Selkirk

    FoxNews has advice for Aslan: How to neutralize mean girls

  11. 11
    One Day Soon I Shall Invent A Funny Login

    That is an amazing interview. Aslan is a veritable Bill O’Reilly in his ability to talk over and through somebody. He does a fabulous job of schooling the ignorant interviewer. He is forceful and articulate in correcting her every slur. In short, he hands her her butt. And I bet he sells a lot of books from this. Good on ‘im.

  12. 12
    Reginald Selkirk

    Apparently Lauren Green is taking The importance of journalists being adversarial way too seriously.

  13. 13
    reverendrobbie

    I love the idea of using a criticism by WLC to suggest that another scholar is biased.

  14. 14
    Corvus illustris

    Doesn’t every Muslim have the right to write a book, as long as s/he isn’t named Salman Rushdie?

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