Why all the hullabaloo? Lauren Gren, the host of "Spirited Debate" a weekly Fox News webcast, asked the author how come he, a Muslim, had written about Jesus, the founder of Christianity.
A loaded question that made the video clip with, as the NYT put it in an article about this, "the irresistibly clickable headline, 'Is This the Most Embarrassing Interview Fox News Has Ever Done?'" an instant success in spite of its length (10 minutes). But here's a shorter version put together by the Huff Post ( under 3 minutes) and you get the idea:
Yes, definitely the dream publicity any author would wish to have! But Mr. Aslan got several other things right on his book as well:
(a) the research - as he defines himself, he's a "scholar of religion 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."
(b) the writing - Mr. Aslan also happens to be an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.
(c) traditional publishing - his book is published by Random House and started out quite well in the world of traditional printed non-fiction books: since its publication on July 16, it has been praised by many respected reviewers, including Adam Kirsch in Tablet magazine, Mr. Aslan has hit the publicity circuit with many book debates on TV and the book is happily sitting on the New York Times print hardcover best seller list at No.4.
Yes, no doubt that's the perfect recipe for a bestseller. Not a recipe available to many authors...
Is there anyone around who's a Christian professor and also a Muslim scholar? Quick, write a book about Mohammed!
In any case, this is a book I'm putting on my TBR list. How about you? What do you think of this controversy?