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Reza Aslan’s Explanation

Two weeks ago we noticed that Reza Aslan’s scholarship seemed to be about 20 years out of date. He was simply recycling claims made by Bart Ehrman and the Jesus Seminar with seemingly no knowledge of the numerous scholarly rebuttals that have come out over the past decades. As it turns out, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for Dr. Aslan’s oversight: he isn’t actually an advanced student of 1st century history or Christian origins. Rather, he is a specialist in sociology and creative writing!

Now, one of our beliefs at TCI is that emphasizing specialization and making it a litmus test for credibility is very often a bad thing, and that it is no disqualification at all for a scholar to work “outside his field” and to attempt a renaissance comprehension. Unfortunately, Dr. Aslan gave no evidence that he was doing anything like that either. Instead, he was selling an odd combination of, well, sociology and creative writing. Such is his right, of course, as it will likely prove a more successful publishing venture than history. He just needed to have been up front about it all. And NPR certainly should have conducted itself better. As it stands, we’ve learned a bit about their competency as well.

By Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the associate pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a Director for the Davenant Institute.