Many of the prophets of Jesus's time were thought to just be mad men, just sort of crazy people who were claiming to channel the divine. Perhaps that means we should be a little less judgmental of some of our own crazies talking about God on the corner. They might actually have found a pretty comfortable place in Jesus's time.
The key to recognizing who Jesus was is to recognize this fundamental truth: He was a Jew.
It is the job of the historian to say what is likely, and of faith to say what is possible.
I am a scholar of religions 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 happens to be Muslim.
In the 5,000-year history of Jewish thought, the notion of a God-man is completely anathema to everything Judaism stands for.
There were dozens of people who walked through the Holy Land claiming to be the Messiah, curing the sick, exorcising demons, challenging Rome, gathering followers. In a way, there's nothing unique about what Jesus did. In fact, many of these so-called false Messiahs we know by name.
I'm a person of faith, and the language that I use to define my faith, the symbols and metaphors that I rely upon to express my faith, are those provided by Islam because they make the most sense to me.
Religion doesn't make people bigots. People are bigots and they use religion to justify their ideology.
Whether you're talking about MSNBC or Fox or CNN, it's all about getting enough interest out there, sensationalizing the story in such a way that people are compelled to tune in.
Islamophobia has become so mainstream in this country that Americans have been trained to expect violence against Muslims - not excuse it, but expect it. And that's happened because you have an Islamophobia industry in this country devoted to making Americans think there's an enemy within.
In the history of the prophetic biblical canon that starts with Genesis, the Koran is by far the most tolerant of the views of other religions.
The Jews integrated themselves into American life to the point that the argument that the Jews aren't American sounded so stupid, that people stopped thinking it.
What the printing press is to Christianity in the 16th century, that's what the Internet is doing to Islam now. It has opened up the monopoly over the interpretation of Islam that used to solely belong to the religious class.
I believe in God, which means I am open to some absurd possibilities. But I understand the power of that faith, and I understand the metaphor of that belief.
There's only one reason to be crucified under the Roman Empire, and that is for treason or sedition. Crucifixion, we have to understand, was not actually a form of capital punishment for Rome. In fact, it was often the case that the criminal would be killed first and then crucified.
It is no exaggeration to say that Syria holds the key for nearly all of America's foreign policy goals in the Middle East. As Syria goes, so goes the region.
Nobody, absolutely nobody, straps a bomb on their body because they were recruited from the Internet. It takes an enormous amount of personal face-to-face contact and time in order to recruit a young person into the cause of jihad.
The New Testament is not a historical document.
I have watched Muslims chant 'Death to America!' on the streets of Tehran, then privately beg me to help them get a visa to the United States.
Literature offers not just a window into the culture of diverse regions, but also the society, the politics; it's the only place where we can keep track of ideas.