Wednesday, December 18, 7:30 pm
The book choice for the December Book Club meeting is The Zealot
by Reza Aslan
. This book is the story of the charismatic Jewish rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, who preached, healed, and performed magic in Israel in the first century. Written by a Muslim academic, the book has generated great controversy. It has been reviewed meaningfully in both The Jewish Review of Books on August 11, 2013 (which faults the author for ignoring the emergence of Rabbinic Judaism in the first century) and Christian Century on October 16, 2013 (which finds fault with the Gospel interpretations and the inferences made about Jesus's life).
Dale Martin, Professor of Religious Studies at Yale wrote in Books of the Times on August 5, 2013, "Mr. Aslan is not a scholar of ancient Judaism or Christianity. He teaches creative writing. And he is a good writer. Zealot is not innovative or original scholarship but it makes an entertaining read. It is also a serious presentation of one plausible portrait of the life of Jesus of Nazareth."
The Zealot is a fascinating read, and it will challenge your knowledge of both history and beliefs as you are introduced to a view of Jesus in the context of his times as presented by Aslan. We at TBE have been blessed with many opportunities to learn about the teachings of our sages, both ancient and recent, and the times in which they lived. In how many classes have we heard the story of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai and the establishment of Yavneh as a place where the rabbis could continue to study and teach after the destruction of the Second Temple and the expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem? Read what Aslan has to say about this tumultuous period in our history. Then come and share your thoughts on December 18th.
The Bookseller's Sonnets
Wednesday, January 29, 7:30 pm
A mysterious package from an anonymous artifact donor arrives on the desk of Jill Levin, the senior curator at a Holocaust museum: a secret diary, written by the eldest daughter of St. Thomas More, legal advisor to and close friend of Henry VIII. As Jill and her colleagues work to authenticate this rare find, letters arrive to convey the manuscript's history and the donor's unimaginable story of survival. At the same time, representatives from the Archdiocese of New York arrive to stake their claim to this controversial document, hoping to send it to a Vatican archive before its explosive content becomes public. As the process of authentication hovers between find and fraud, and as the battle for provenance plays out between religious institutions, Jill struggles with her own family history, and her involvement in a relationship she fears will disrupt and disappoint her family.