Mustafa Akyol, author of The Islamic Jesus, discusses his book with Steve Watson, senior pastor of Reservoir Church in Cambridge.
When Reza Aslan's bestseller Zealot came out in 2013, there was criticism that he hadn t addressed his Muslim faith while writing the origin story of Christianity. In fact, Ross Douthat of The New York Times wrote that if Aslan had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus, that would have been something provocative and new.
Mustafa Akyol's The Islamic Jesus is that book.
The Islamic Jesus reveals startling new truths about Islam in the context of the first Muslims and the early origins of Christianity. Muslims and the first Christians the Jewish followers of Jesus saw Jesus as not divine but rather as a prophet and human Messiah and that salvation comes from faith and good works, not merely as faith, as Christians would later emphasize. What Akyol seeks to reveal are how these core beliefs of Jewish Christianity, which got lost in history as a heresy, emerged in a new religion born in 7th Arabia: Islam.
Akyol exposes this extraordinary historical connection between Judaism, Jewish Christianity and Islam a major mystery unexplored by academia. From Jesus Jewish followers to the Nazarenes and Ebionites to the Qu ran's stories of Mary and Jesus, The Islamic Jesus will reveal links between religions that seem so contrary today. It will also call on Muslims to discover their own Jesus, at a time when they are troubled by their own Pharisees and Zealots.
Mustafa Akoyl is a regular columnist for the Hurriyet Daily News, Al-Monitor.com, and the International New York Times. His prior book, Islam without Extremes, has been reviewed and quoted by The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Washington Post, NPR, The Guardian, National Review, and Washington Times. Akyol has appeared on Fareed Zakaria's GPS on CNN, Hardtalk on BBC, and TED.com. Islam without Extremes was long-listed for the 2012 Lionel Gelber Prize literary prize.
Steve Watson joined the staff of Reservoir Church as its senior pastor in July, 2013. Prior to that, he served as the headmaster of Watertown High School, as a middle- and high-school English teacher in the Boston Public Schools, and as a campus staff minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. In all of his endeavors, Steve has maintained great passion for teaching, coaching and mentoring, organizational and community development, and really good chocolate. Steve attended Brandeis University, where he graduated with a B.A. in music, and has immersed himself in graduate and self-directed studies in secondary English education, educational leadership, Bible, theology, and ministry—some of which have resulted in completed degrees.