Realistically speaking, Jesus was pretty non-confrontational.

A friend

Maybe. We don’t really know because the earliest Gospel was written long after his death. And his cult was twisted by Paul into something he probably wouldn’t have recognized.

I’m a bit of a fan of Jesus literature (he is easily one of the most interesting and elusive figures in history). Two books that cast a different light on him and his ministry are Robert Graves’ King Jesus; and Zealot by Reza Aslan.

The former is a novel by a great scholar of Hebrew and Western mythology, and seems to paint the most compelling picture of the man and his origins, underscoring the point that is typically lost on modern Christians: whatever Jesus was, he was certainly a fundamentalist Jewish mystic, whose spiritual message was necessarily bowdlerized by the cosmopolitan Latin Paulists who interpreted him later.

Aslan makes a compelling case that Jesus was simply one of a number of contemporary Jewish revolutionaries, basically what we would today call a jihadi. His attack on the moneychangers is one of the authentic acts in the Gospels to support this, and of course it also solves the mystery of why a Jewish blasphemer was put to death by the Romans instead of the Sanhedrin, and explains Matthew 10:34 (the verse that got me banned from Calguns).

So while the picture of Jesus as a charismatic but essentially peaceful man is an attractive one, there is good reason to believe it’s a completely inaccurate image.