As my colleague Erik Wemple points out, pretty much everything about the FoxNews.com interview of Reza Aslan, scholar and author of “Zealot,” a new book on the historical Jesus, is completely terrible. The only thing that the interviewer seems to know about Reza Aslan is that he is a Muslim and HOW DARE HE WRITE ABOUT JESUS? TWENTY YEARS OF SCHOLARSHIP, SHWENTY YEARS OF SCHOLARSHIP! You can’t write about someone you don’t believe in! This is why no one publishes any scholarship about Zeus!
It really is that bad. Here’s the video.
You are a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?
Aslan: Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim. So it’s not that I’m just some Muslim writing about Jesus. I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions. I have been obsessed with Jesus…
Green: But it still begs the question: Why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?
Here are some other interviewees who would no doubt baffle her:
-You’re a human being, Rachel Carson, but I can’t help noticing that you wrote about birds. What could possibly interest you in birds if you are not a bird yourself — or even a tree? Do you worship birds?
-Jane Goodall, I can’t help noticing that you are not a chimpanzee. Why this book?
-David McCullough, I see you’ve written a biography of John Adams. Yet — correct me if I’m wrong — you are a Christian, not an, uh, Adams-ite, and you don’t seem to think that John Adams was divine. How can you possibly write a book about him then?
-How can ANYONE write about Odin, ever?
-I notice you’ve written about Napoleon. But you’re not French!
-John Steinbeck, this book is called “Of Mice and Men” but — you’re not a mouse, correct? How can you presume to write about them? (I am basing everything I ask you about this book on its title and cover.)
-Ayn Rand, you’ve got this book here called “Atlas Shrugged.” First, Atlas? I haven’t seen you sacrificing any hecatombs to the Greek gods lately. Second, you’re a woman. What possible interest could you have in writing about a man? Did you mistake him for knitting?
-Herman, you’re not a big whale. Yet I have in my hand this copy of “Moby Dick,” which appears to be about a big whale. What gives you clearance to write this?
-You’re a woman. Yet you’re writing about Abraham Lincoln, a man. Discuss, Doris Kearns Goodwin.
The only way this could have been worse would be if she had just stared blankly into the camera and said, “Oh, I’m sorry. Based on your name I thought you would be a big allegorical lion.”