An Amsterdam publishing house said Wednesday it will release a biography of Jesus written by filmmaker Paul Verhoeven.
Verhoeven is best known as the director of blockbuster films including "Basic Instinct" and "Robocop," but he is also a member of "Jesus Seminar," a group of scholars and authors that seeks to establish historical facts about Jesus, said spokeswoman Marianna Sterk of the publishing house J.M. Meulenhoff.
She said the book, "Jezus van Nazareth" includes several ideas that run contrary to Christian faith, including the "suggestion" that Jesus was the son of a soldier who raped Mary during a Jewish uprising against Roman rule.
The book, subtitled "A realistic portrait," also claims that Judas Iscariot was not responsible for Jesus' betrayal, she said.
The movie directors' claims are bound to cause skepticism among those who have dedicated their careers to studying the life of Jesus. One issue is that there is very little information about the life of Jesus, outside of the Gospels, that dates to the first century — and the Gospels as understood by Christians for nearly 2,000 years do not support Verhoeven's ideas.
Sterk said the book will be published in September and translated into English in 2009. Verhoeven hopes it will be a springboard for him to raise interest in making a film along the same lines, she said.
Verhoeven, 69, has dreamed of making a movie about Jesus' life for decades, she said.
Asked whether it would be difficult to follow Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" and Martin Scorsese's 1988 "The Last Temptation of Christ," she said Verhoeven knows he may be somewhat late to market.
"He is painfully aware of that," she said. "However, he has quite a different angle."