Last summer author and scholar of religions REZA ASLAN came out with a book that utilized a great deal of historical research to give readers a sense of the man, Jesus of Nazareth. ASLAN had taken on a similar task seven years earlier with his first book NO GOD BUT GOD, in which he tells the story of Mohammed. But the problem for some folks this time around is that Reza Aslan is a Muslim. In an interview that has been viewed at least a million and a half times on YouTube, Lauren Green of Fox News demanded to know, “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” – and that interview sent Aslan’s book, ZEALOT: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, to the top of best-seller lists for weeks.
REZA ASLAN has been a guest on Free Forum a number of times in the past, and I’m happy to welcome him back again, to talk a bit about the reaction, but much more about the content and meaning of his book. He examines Jesus through the lens of the time and place in which he lived, first-century Palestine, and labels him in the book’s title, a zealot – a radical political opponent of the Roman occupation. Because Jesus was crucified without overthrowing Roman rule, he is one of many failed messiahs. But why did this particular failed messiah become the starting point of one of the world’s great religions, wielding enormous influence over two thousand years later among more people than even existed during his lifetime?
ZACHARY KARABELL argues that the economies of China and the US have melded over the past 20 years, as billions of dollars flow east from the US for Chinese-made goods and return to this country from China in exchange for IOUs.
"This mega-economy is hiding in plain sight, unrecognized, unacknowledged, and unwanted by many millions whose lives are being reshaped by it." Karabell's not suggesting this is an unalloyed good thing, "but it's a fact. And it's better to deal with reality than live in a fantasy land."
ZACHARY KARABELL is President of River Twice Research, where he analyzes economic and political trends. He is also a senior advisor for Business for Social Responsibility, which develops sustainable business strategies. Previously, he was president of Fred Alger and Company; and portfolio manager of the award-winning China-U.S. Growth Fund, and launched the $30 million Spectra Green Fund, linking profit and sustainability.
Educated at Columbia, Oxford and Harvard, his previous books include A Visionary Nation: Four Centuries of American Dreams and What Lies Ahead, The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election, and Peace Be Upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian and Jewish Coexistence.