Being a professor of Creative Writing doesn’t mean he’s not an historian. I DARE you to tell anyone of your former college professors who have passionately written and published an academic book that they are not scholars of their work. The fact that Aslan has been published and an international best-seller for historical-based works makes him an HISTORIAN. His degree from UCSB is a Ph.D. in the Sociology of RELIGION. If you think any of his four degrees would not involve thoroughly studying religion’s history, then I would have to question whether or not you’ve received higher education yourself. His saying he is “a Ph.D. in the history of religions” is only a short-form way of encompassing the entirety of his education; you can call a Spade something else, but it is still a Spade.
Actually, he has degrees as a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Doctor of Philosophy in the Sociology of RELIGION from the University of California, Santa Barbara. The fact that he teaches creative writing doesn’t mean he’s not an historian; it means he knows how to teach his students to write a book. Sounds like you did as much thorough research as this interviewer.