ASLAN: There were many zealots in Jesus’ time. It was a phenomenon that was quite widespread, and that led to a number of rebellions and insurgencies throughout the first century. And the argument of the book is that those zealot ideals and principles are at the heart of Jesus’ teachings and actions.
Now, this is not a simple question. This is in fact the quintessential test of zealotry in Jesus' time. The zealots being deeply anti-Roman refuse to pay tribute to Rome. The tribute was seen as an abomination. It was sort of proof that the land belonged to Rome instead of God. And so by asking Jesus this question, should we pay the tribute or not, what they were really saying is, are you or are you not a zealot.
Another problem is that one of the key texts that Aslan uses to buttress his thesis that the proto-Zealot Jesus was planning for some kind of apocalyptic showdown with his enemies, is taken from the very same chapter in Luke:
Another writer, Frank K Flinn, states a similar claim. Again, we go back to Zealot Jesus Data#1 : Jesus was crucified because he was an enemy of the state. (And the INRI on the cross wasn’t sarcastic, but a title)