Since his headline-making 2013 debut with CNN’s Lauren Green, Reza Aslan has become one of the American media’s go-to authorities on Islam. Aslan, however, is not the scholar he makes himself out to be. Though he’s repeatedly claimed to have a PhD in the History of Religion, his PhD is actually in Sociology. (His alma mater has, in fact, never offered a degree in the History of Religion.) Aslan is clearly a very gifted communicator, which explains his success in recycling a discredited theory concerning Jesus in his bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Aslan is also never at a loss for words, no matter how ill-informed he may be. Indeed, he’s far better at smoke screening than giving solid content on Islam. That partly explains why news sources are so quick to turn to him. In our narcissistic age, outrageous claims sell.
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