Reza Aslan, Fox News, and the Historical Jesus

by hamiltonmj1983

As it has since gone viral, most of you will have heard of the terrible interview that Lauren Green of Fox News did with Reza Aslan. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here it is:

Green (and more importantly, Green’s producers and writers) seem to have a blatant bias and believe that a Muslim should not be writing about Jesus. I want to share a quote by Hershel Shanks from The Search For Jesus: Modern Scholarship Looks at the Gospels, a publication of a 1993 symposium at the Smithsonian Institution. It is found on page 4 of the introduction, and it starts out with a quotation from Time magazine:

“The Churches have always taught that Jesus Christ was a man as well as God, a man of a particular time and place, speaking a specific language, revealing his ways in terms of a specific cultural and religious tradition.” That is our subject. And because of the terms of the discussion, because we will be looking at the evidence as objectively as possible, people of all faiths, or no faith, can participate. And that’s one of the wonderful things about historical Jesus studies. It brings people together, regardless of their confessional perspective. Indeed, the various perspectives we bring to the task enrich the venture.

This two-decade old quote is telling that the attitude of Fox News towards a Muslim writing about Jesus is (a) nothing new, and (b) dead wrong. Fox News is still trying to defend their view, but it really is a lost cause to get them, or any modern money-hungry media to seek truth.

Now, although Aslan obviously deserves more respect than he received, and his voice deserves to be heard, his book is not fairing so well with Historical Jesus scholars. You see, Aslan is a generalist trying to fish in specialist waters. I’ve not read the book yet, but hope to soon. Historical Jesus is not my field, however, so I will not be offering a review or critique. Instead, I will link this one by Anthony Le Donne.

Also, I want to note that I am teaching a section of New Testament Survey this Fall, and am very excited about working this controversy into my class somewhere!