|A card from a favorite game: Ascension|
Enthusiasm is generally regarded as a good thing, but a person can go overboard, and zealots often do. Zealots are not content merely to love something with all their hearts, they want you to do so, too. They've got pamphlets and manifestos for you to read. They are evangelical.
Zealotry is often associated with religion or politics (which might actually be the same thing for some people). In any case, with big systems. Fanatic and cult are other words that you might hear tossed around with zealot. The suggestion being that zealots might be just this side of crazy.
In thinking about the word, I thought of Simon the Zealot. I'm hardly a Bible scholar, but I am drawn to Biblical narratives and Simon is interesting because I know so little about him. I remember his name from my foray into Christianity when I was fourteen or so.
He's one of the twelve. Different sources give me different reasons for his moniker. Some suggest that he is called zealot because he was a rigid adherent to Jewish law. Some that he was just really fervent in his following of Jesus. Others that he had been known as a political activist (zealot being a political designation) before signing on as an Apostle.
I wonder if the nickname was simply to distinguish him from other Simons, like I might say "Tall Michael" or "Bearded Michael" to indicate which of three men named Michael in the room I am indicating. Or was his zealotry his overriding feature? The first thing that others would notice about him?
His representation in the Bible is pretty much limited to the mentioning of his name in a list of apostles. He doesn't have any good lines or independent story lines. Whoever he was, what remains of him in history and legend is little more than this name, and, at least for me, curiosity.
This post is part of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.