Jesus Of Nazareth Book "Zealot" To Be Adapted Into Feature Film

Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, the subject of a rather infamous interview, was picked up by Lionsgate.

Dr. Reza Aslan Alex Wong / Getty Images

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, the somewhat controversial historical book about Jesus by Dr. Reza Aslan, will be adapted by Lionsgate into a feature film, the studio announced late Wednesday.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Lionsgate,” Aslan said in a statement. “Their vision for Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth is aligned with my objective in writing the book, which was to illuminate the life of Jesus in a humanistic, as opposed to religious, context.”

There are no other filmmakers attached to the project.

Aslan’s book came under scrutiny less for its historically based assertions — for one, Aslan contended that Jesus’ mother Mary was likely not a virgin when Jesus was born — than for Aslan’s Muslim heritage. Aslan was born in Iran to a secular Muslim family, and after moving to America, converted as a teenager to Christianity before leaving the faith and returning to Islam.

He also spent 20 years working as a religious scholar, earning a Ph.D. in the sociology of religions from the University of California, with a speciality in the New Testament. Those extensive credentials especially became a focal point during a contentious interview on’s Spirited Debate, in which the host of the show kept asking Aslan about his qualifications to write a book about Jesus.

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