- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Christian-turned-Muslim who penned a book about the life of Jesus and included such controversial findings as the son of God never considered himself a deity has catapulted into bestseller status, hitting No. 1 on Amazon sales lists for the United States.

And now British press is rushing to bring the book to print, ahead of its publication schedule. The U.K. Guardian reported that The Westbourne Press snapped up the foreign publication rights to the book in May, but has seen its explosiveness in the United States and wants to rush forward with sales.

The book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” by Reza Aslan, hit Amazon’s top sales list right after the author was interviewed on Fox News and explained why he was qualified to write the book.

Fox News host Lauren Green had asked what qualified Mr. Aslan, a former Christian who rejected the faith and converted to Islam, to write about Christianity’s key figure, and why he was interested in covering the topic in the first place. Mr. Aslan said he was schooled in religious studies and wanted to shed light on the life of Jesus.

But many find the book objectionable and say it skews biblical beliefs and blatantly misrepresents Jesus. One of Mr. Aslan’s findings: Jesus was not the “prince of peace” he claimed, but rather a tacit supporter of violence, The Blaze reported. Another: Jesus was crucified for breaking the law, and it had nothing to do with saving mankind from sins, The Blaze reported. And one more: Jesus was a messenger, but not the son of God.

Mr. Aslan suggested similarly during an interview on NPR, when he said: “I wouldn’t call myself a Christian because I do not believe that Jesus is God, nor do I believe that he ever thought that he was God, or that he ever said that he was God.”

Yet sales have skyrocketed. And U.K. publishers are anxious to bring the book to market and capture the revenues.

“The book would appeal to those who care nothing for religion, but care for history and biography. It addresses not Jesus Christ but Jesus of Nazareth, a historical figure, asking who was this man and what were the dynamics of first-century Palestine that give rise to the sort of zealotry from which he arose,” said editor Mitch Albert, with the U.K. publisher.