In my first article, I argued that Reza Aslan’s view on the evidence of the historical Jesus being fact was not a position of erudition but required as much faith as Christianity based on his acceptance of improvable presuppositions.
Part 2 of my dialogue with Aslan, I argued that Aslan’s assertions of Jesus being only a man are not only unoriginal but are incompatible with the assertions Jesus made of himself.
In Part 3 of my response to Reza Aslan’s book: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth based on his NPR interview, I want to discuss his statement:
“In the year 66 [common era], [a Jewish revolt resulted in] actually throwing Rome out of the Holy Land and keeping them at bay for three and a half [to] four long years. Of course, in 70 CE the Romans returned and ended up destroying Jerusalem, burning the temple to the ground, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Jews and scattering the rest to the winds. …
“What I think is important for Christians to understand is that every Gospel story written about Jesus of Nazareth was written after that event, this apocalyptic event which for Jews signaled the end of the world as they knew it.”
As one who holds a doctorate in in the sociology of religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Aslan has stated that the Gospels were written post AD 70 as fact when in reality, many scholars do not date the Synoptic Gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke- post-AD 70 (or 70 C.E. as stated by Aslan) and there are even scholars that do not hold the Gospel of John (a non-Synoptic Gospel) post AD 70 (though most believe John dates around AD 90).
Again, Aslan is making statements on topics that are uncertain into statements of fact. The only Gospel of the four written in the New Testament that a majority of scholars would agree to be post AD 70 would be John but all the Gospels would have been written around nineteen hundred and fifty years ago so there is no one who can assert any date as fact unless they can find a copy of one of the Gospels with a specific date on it. Since none of the manuscripts scholars have today possess a date marked by the scribes, every scholar putting forth a date on a New Testament Gospel is making their best educated guess.
In the literature, there are scholars who are arguing for an early date of the Synoptic Gospels, some as early as 40 CE or earlier while other scholars argue for a date as late as the second century. For Aslan to make this assertion that all the writers of the Gospels wrote after AD 70 is disingenuous in academic circles, and Aslan must also take leaps of faith. The issue of all four New Testament Gospels being written after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in AD 70 cannot be empirically proven.