10 Questions for Reza Aslan

Iranian-American author and religious scholar Reza Aslan on Jesus, changing extremism and confusing surnames

Erik Tanner for TIME

Your book Zealot is about Jesus. Why write about such a well-studied historical figure?

My biography of Jesus is probably the first popular biography that does not use the New Testament as its primary source material. My primary source material is 1st century Palestine, the world in which Jesus lived.

Isn't that like trying to write a biography of Barack Obama by writing about 1960s Hawaii?

The New Testament is not a historical document. It was written by communities of faith many years after the events that they describe. So the historian has no choice but to...

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