Paul Verhoeven Moving Forward with Controversial JESUS OF NAZARETH Picture

by     Posted 2 years, 72 days ago

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With Darren Aronofsky’s Noah moving forward and directors Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott progressing on their Gods and Kings and Moses epics respectively, Paul Verhoeven has decided to go for the literal king of Biblical personas.  Verhoeven has landed financial backing and a writer for his controversial picture centering on Jesus Christ.  In his writing corner will be Roger Avary, an Oscar winner who shared writing credits on Pulp Fiction with Quentin Tarantino. Providing the greenbacks will Chris Hanley of Muse Productions, whose credits include American Psycho. Hit the jump for more on Jesus of Nazareth.

Some of Verhoeven’s jesus-christ-paul-verhoevenopinions on the life of Jesus Christ may not rile up all that much controversy, depending on an individual’s level of religious conservatism.  Verhoeven appears to take a grounded look at Christ’s life as a man, a politician and a revolutionary thinker, and less a man of miracles.  There are, however, points that will be sure to angry up the blood, as Deadline reports:

“Jesus might have been the product of his mother being raped by a Roman soldier, which Verhoeven said was commonplace at the time, and that Jesus was a radical prophet who performed exorcisms and was convinced he would find the kingdom of Heaven on earth, and did not know he would be sentenced to die on the cross by Pontius Pilate.”

Also from Deadline comes a quote from Verhoeven himself:

“If you look at the man, it’s clear you have a person who was completely innovative in the field of ethics. My own passion for Jesus came when I started to realize that. It’s not about miracles, it’s about a new set of ethics, an openness towards the world, which was anathema in a Roman-dominated world. I believe he was crucified because they felt that politically, he was a dangerous person whose following was getting bigger and bigger. Jesus’ ideals are about the utopia of human behavior, about how we should treat each other, how we should step into the shoes of our enemy.”

Here’s a look at the book description from Verhoeven’s Jesus of Nazareth (via Amazon):

jesus-of-nazareth-paul-verhoevenBuilding on the work of biblical scholars—Rudolph Bultmann, Raymond Brown, Jane Schaberg, and Robert Funk, among others—filmmaker Paul Verhoeven disrobes the mythical Jesus to reveal a man who has much in common with other great political leaders throughout history—human beings who believed that change was coming in their lifetimes. Gone is the Jesus of the miracles, gone the son of God, gone the weaver of arcane parables whose meanings are obscure. In their place Verhoeven gives us his vision of Jesus as a complete man, someone who was changed by events, the leader of a political movement, and, perhaps most importantly, someone who, in his speeches and sayings, introduced a new ethic in which the embrace of human contradictions transcends the mechanics of value and worth that had defined the material world before Jesus. “The Romans saw [Jesus] as an insurrectionist, what today is often called a terrorist. It is very likely there were ‘wanted’ posters of him on the gates of Jerusalem. He was dangerous because he was proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven, but this wasn’t the Kingdom of Heaven as we think of it now, some spectral thing in the future, up in the sky. For Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven was a very tangible thing. Something that was already present on Earth, in the same way that Che Guevara proclaimed Marxism as the advent of world change. If you were totalitarian rulers, running an occupation like the Romans, this was troubling talk, and that was why Jesus was killed.”




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  • Bastardo

    It’s just Jesus tbh, if people don’t like it then don’t see it. Personally it sounds a bit boring but I could see it making a good drama I suppose.

  • ccraw13

    I have done quite a bit of academic study of Jesus and his life… Pretty sure none of what was listed above holds water with honest scholars.

  • DDGmike

    Paul, you are incorrect, sir. You couldn’t be more wrong. Thank you for playing. Your consolation prize is TBD.

  • Masshuu il Thulcandra

    Judging by Verhoeven’s list of liberal scholars esp. Funk, no surprise in his approach. No longer being a ‘Traditional’ Christian I won’t have any problems with it even though I don’t think it will do well after the first weekend and word of mouth. Casper Van Dien as Jesus, Denise Richards as Mary Magdalene, Dina Meyer as the Virgin Mary, Gary Busey as Pontius Pilate and Jake Busey as Judas – what more could anyone ask for! Oh yes, giant insects as Roman Legions. That’s the ticket!

  • Masshuu il Thulcandra

    Judging by Verhoeven’s list of liberal scholars esp. Funk, no surprise in his approach. No longer being a ‘Traditional’ Christian I won’t have any problems with it even though I don’t think it will do well after the first weekend and word of mouth. Casper Van Dien as Jesus, Denise Richards as Mary Magdalene, Dina Meyer as the Virgin Mary, Gary Busey as Pontius Pilate and Jake Busey as Judas – what more could anyone ask for! Oh yes, giant insects as Roman Legions. That’s the ticket!

  • Northern Star

    “and did not know he would be sentenced to die on the cross by Pontius Pilate.”

    That’s news to Jesus, he predicted his own death THREE times before it actually took place, Verhoeven may be a terrific director, but he’s an anti-semite who’s called Israel a “fascist state”, so his opinions aren’t exactly rational…

    • Alan

      So, if you criticise Israel then you’re automatically an ‘anti-semite’? Right …

    • tarek

      Northern, remember, even Avraham Burg who was a former Jewish Agency Chairman and Speaker of the 15th Knesset has said the same, and much more. Because alas it is the truth. Now he abandoned his Israeli citizenship and took the French citizenship.

  • victorinox

    They messed with Total Recall, he messes with the Bible. PAYBACK.

    • Daath

      the bible is so full of messed up stories that it doesn’t really matter

      • beka

        obviously you haven’t spent much time reading the bible, so I don’t really see you as being much of a resource on the subject

  • dogg

    Just another brave director taking on the religion he knows won’t behead him.

    • Charles Martel

      Bingo — a cutting-edge producer/writer wpuld make a film about Muhammad. Of course, he would have to live in hiding and have round the clock security for the rest of his life.

      • Judson

        Sounds like muslims are pretty pragmatic

    • d

      *sigh* Ever consider maybe he’s MORE INTERESTED in the story of Jesus Christ than he is in that of Muhammad? You’re acting like he must have looked at a list of religious figures, and had equal interest in all of them, before deciding on Christ. Which is not how it happened.

      • Sam

        Leftism, Political correctness and fear of islam : this is just how it happens.

  • Andrew

    Man, you can’t even have a story about Jesus without bringing out the Islamophobes these days.

    • zilch

      but brown people is scary. i just got pizza at a place owned by muslims and they skimped on the pepperoni. we got to take them on with an insulting movie so everybody knows our pepperoni distribution dogma is right.

  • Cpt. Hindsight

    Sounds like a cool idea. Political drama with Jebus as the politician. I don’t care if its trying to be the “real world” non mystical version jebus living in a Roman dominated political system. I’m not religious. I do like the idea of Mr. Total Recall, Robocop, Starship Troopers giving me an entertaining different version of the Jebz than we’ve seen. A more real world non magic Jebus. Not what he actual did but what is the most reasonable explanation in a Hollywood version of the guy that filmed Hollywood’s most famous beaver shot of the 90′s.

  • sccitylhh

    Catholicism WOW

  • peej

    So, the majority of you are out to crucify Verhoeven for expressing his thoughts, which may or may not change your thinking, and which to your mind are radical and blasphemous. Roaming into familiar territory? Chews you up, does it?

    • guy

      He needs to offer an argument to support his decision to ignore Jesus’s divinity claims. For example, the argument would need to show that somehow all of Jesus’s claims to be divine were not actually made by Jesus and were fabricated later. He needs to support that claim VERY THOROUGHLY though, not just suggest it. If it doesn’t have rock solid support then just about every other historical document from the era could be subjected to similar fabrication claims, which is ridiculous. So, to avoid being just a crackpot scholar, he needs to offer very convincing support that Jesus’s divinity claims were not in fact made by Jesus. I think most people are betting that he isn’t going to have very solid support for his approach.

    • guy

      I think most people are worried that he will probably say that Jesus’s claim to be divine is a fabrication, i.e. that Jesus never actually claimed to be divine. To support such a claim he needs very, very strong empirical evidence. Without very strong empirical evidence, virtually every other document from that historical era could be subjected to similar fabrication claims, which would be ridiculous. So, if he doesn’t want to be crackpot he really needs to have strong support for ignoring Jesus’s divinity claims. You can’t really offer a secular take on Jesus without proving that he never actually claimed to be divine. It would be like offering a religious take on George Washington. It just wouldn’t make sense.

      • tarek

        What is “empirical evidence” my Precious ?

    • guy

      @ tarek, empirical evidence Gollum would be evidence that showed statements attributed to Jesus in the Bible were not actually made by him. Maybe a letter about the conspiracy or some other document, perhaps an “untampered” gospel text that lacks the divinity claims. Considering Verhoeven will be using Biblical texts for his argument, he needs to be able to distinguish between what Jesus actually said and what, perhaps, Jesus did not actually say.

      • tarek

        Yeah…especially when we know that the original bible was written in Aramaic. Did you ever read or even seen an original bible ?
        That was my empirical 2 cents. ^^

  • iwern

    Cant wait for FOXNEWS to get ahold of this and start crying the liberals are out to make Jesus a progressive…

  • DeezNuttz

    When did Jesus EVER claim to be divine? And don’t give me some ghost-written passage from the Bible; I want an actual testament written by the man himself. Huh? Whaddya mean you don’t have one? Most of what we know about Jesus is from the Bible, a document edited and screwed with by scholars for centuries? Really? Damn..

    • belegit

      I am guessing you have no idea how the bible was actually transcribed or how documents are considered to be historically accurate or not. You do the research, the Bible holds it own just fine ;) Everyone is always proud of their own knowledge, even though we don’t seem to do the best with it always. Believing in Jesus and what “HE” claims he is really makes more sense then anything else in the world.

    • beka

      Dee u r Nuttz

  • guy

    @ tarek, sorry it won’t let me reply; claims a duplicate post. By empirical evidence Gollum I do not mean empirical evidence that Jesus was actually divine. I mean empirical evidence that he did not say he was divine.

    Considering Verhoeven will be using Biblical texts for his argument, he needs to be able to distinguish between what Jesus actually said and what, perhaps, Jesus did not actually say. In the bible Jesus repeatedly claims to be a divine figure. Such claims do not mesh with the Jesus Verhoeven presents. I’m not a christian but I just want to see some actual scholarship going into this.

    Empirical evidence would be evidence that showed statements attributed to Jesus in the Bible were not actually made by him. Maybe a letter about the conspiracy or some other document, perhaps an “untampered” gospel text that lacks the divinity claims but includes everything else.

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  • Jesus-IS-God

    Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, God, Creator of the Universe, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Put that script in the trash and burn it. Only God can save your soul.

  • beka

    Paul verhoeven is no more than an ignorant puppet being lead around with a ring through his nose by satan himself. Him and his whole crew of misfits no doubt will be spending eternity in hell with their pal the devil. And anyone else who wants to join them there can waste their time and money on his ridiculous move.

  • beka

    obviously you haven\’t spent much time reading the bible, so I don\’t really see you as being much of a resource on the subject

    • beka

      above commit for Daath

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  • sad and distressed

    Consider:

    …that in just the second quotation cited in this article, Verhoeven makes comment that belies is ignorance of the Bible and the things that Jesus actually said. Jesus DID know of his death. He spoke of it with his disciples on multiple occasions. He even cited prophetic scripture regarding his death. And yet, many consider Verhoeven some type of authority on Jesus and many more will eat up his sad construct of hyperbole and lies.

    …the uproar in our society by those offended by something similarly offensive being purported about Mohammed. We live in a deceived culture that is decaying because of things like this.

    The USA was founded by Christian people who were committed to Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our only Savior. They would have vehemently rejected such treatment of Jesus by anybody. We have lost our way and we will continue on our path to destruction until we wake up.

  • Robert

    These slanderous attacks on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ rear their ugly heads from time to time. Nothing really new here. But neither is the “Jesus” Mr. Verhoeven describes anything like the One portrayed in the Scriptures. Of course, once one abandons the clear teaching of the Gospels, as he has done, anything goes. The identity of Christ, and His incarnation in the womb of a young virgin is made clear. To turn his back on that, and on Bible’s record of the powerful miracles of Christ, is to eschew scholarship and embrace fantasy. Not only so, but to denigrate the Person of the Son of God is blasphemy, and an offense to sincere Christians everywhere. I hope the project is abandoned, and that Mr. Verhoeven will repent of his folly.

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  • ReasonableMan

    I’ve just read the book Jesus of Nazareth and found its account highly plausible even if the conclusions Verhoven arrives at are conjectural, the core of it feels right. The conclusions and the more conjectural ones are based on detailed analyses of the gospels and other books.

    This is the first account I have read that makes sense of the story of Jesus life. In particular, why it is he could create an ethics of forgiveness and peace, yet be one of an armed group when he is arrested (one of his companions cuts off an ear of the arresters). At last someone has answered the questions my sunday school teachers were either unable or unwilling to address

    I’m an atheist, not even an agnostic. So its strange, but even so I found the account rather bleak. I see Jesus as a kind of ethical ‘Einstein’, transforming the world for the better forever with his ideas. Yet the possibility he may have ended up aligned with more militant revolutionaries is a slightly sad, though understandable. Nevertheless, his ‘character arc’ reads as a plausible one.

    I look forward to a movie with relish.

  • Pradeep

    Good images

  • clayton3120 clayton3120

    This is completely blasphemous and erroneous. Verhoeven wants to be taken seriously? When pigs fly!

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