In The Nation, religion professor Elizabeth Castelli responds to the ongoing conversation about author Reza Aslan’s creditbility as a scholar and historian. An excerpt:
“One could go on through Zealot, pointing out places where Aslan represents a particular issue as straightforward and uncontroversial when, in fact, the matter remains the subject of considerable debate among specialists. Or one could ask about the method for his selection of scholarly works on which his discussion depends—and why many important works that would complicate his narrative are missing from the bibliography of the book. (The absence of traditional footnotes—the sine qua non of scholarly documentation—makes it quite difficult, if not impossible, to trace the lineage of many of the claims in the book, the lengthy bibliography at the end notwithstanding.) These would be among the numerous legitimate criticisms that historians of early Christianity and biblical scholars—specialists in the field—might lodge. But there is something else, more elemental to consider about the nature of this work.”
Prof. Castelli is Barnard’s Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Religion. She specializes in biblical studies, early Christianity, feminist/gender studies in religion, and theory and method in the study of religion.