Paul Verhoeven takes on Jesus


AMSTERDAM -- Dutch director Paul Verhoeven will publish his long-awaited biography of Jesus of Nazareth in September.

Published by Amsterdam-based Meulenhoff, the book is the result of more than 20 years of research. Over the years, Verhoeven was a regular attendee of U.S. scholar Robert W. Funk's Jesus seminars, which call into question miracles and statements attributed to Jesus.

Verhoeven claims to portray Jesus in the most realistic way in his book, co-written by his biographer, Rob van Scheers.

One of his conclusions deals with the fact that Jesus was probably the son of Mary and a Roman soldier who raped her during the Jewish uprising in Galilee. Verhoeven also claims that Christ was not betrayed by Judas Iscariot.

Verhoeven, who turns 70 in July, has had a lifelong ambition to make a film about Jesus, based on scientific research. Verhoeven decided to write the book to raise interest in the project. His publisher is in negotiations for an English-language translation.