Last weekend Premier Radio in the UK aired a lively discussion between me and Reza Aslan (author of Zealot). If you've read the book and listened to the podcast, you'll notice that Dr. Aslan's thesis seems to be improving post-publication. My friend, the brilliant Ryan Hemmer, summed it up well with this comment, "It was pretty frustrating to listen to. His thesis is whatever it needs to be to deflect criticism."
Today (upon the news that his book might be turned into a film), I would like to highlight a very odd statement by Dr. Aslan. In our exchange, he said:
“If Rome deems you worthy of crucifixion, you probably were worthy of crucifixion.”
At this point I'm less concerned with the thesis that Jesus was a zealot. What is troubling here is the assumption that Rome was generally right about who was an enemy of the state. What is even more troubling is the assumption that the Roman practice of crucifixion (cruel and torturous by any standard) was justified at all! Can this be said with integrity about any regime?