Paul Verhoeven's 'Jesus' flies off shelves

Director's book sold out three times within weeks

AMSTERDAM -- Dutch director Paul Verhoeven has scored a new hit in the Netherlands, but this time not on film.

Within a few weeks of publication, his book on the life of Jesus Christ has sold out three times. A fourth edition of the book is being printed by his Amsterdam-based publisher, Meulenhoff.

In "Jesus of Nazareth," co-written by his own biographer, Rob van Scheers, Verhoeven suggests that Jesus was the son of Mary and a Roman soldier who raped her.

A Meulenhoff spokeswoman attributed the success of the book to an extensive publicity campaign in which Verhoeven gave interviews on national TV and in the Dutch press. The publisher is in negotiations for a U.S. edition of the book. Last week, a deal was struck with German publisher Pendo.

Meanwhile, Verhoeven is still working on several film projects, including a biopic of Joan of Arc.