How perfect. The director of some of Hollywood's most revoltingly violent, sexually explicit, culturally corrosive movies has an even more destructive hobby on the side: iconoclasm.
Paul Verhoeven, director of "Basic Instinct," "Robocop" and "Showgirls," turns out to be a member of the academically suspect Jesus Seminar, and in September he will publish a book attacking the foundational Christian doctrine that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
For the past twenty years, the Dutch filmmaker has reportedly been attending meetings of the Jesus Seminar and researching his biography, "Jesus of Nazareth: A Realistic Portrait." Fox News quotes a spokesman for Amsterdam publishing house J.M. Meulenhoff saying Verhoeven "hopes it will be a springboard" for making a movie about Jesus' life.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Verhoeven concludes in his book 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."
None of this is surprising for a member of the Jesus Seminar, a bastion of liberal scholars who assert that Jesus didn't actually say at least 80 percent of the statements ascribed to him in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Critics say the Seminar rejects the accounts of Jesus' miracles and claims of divinity because of their pre-existing theological positions, leaving only the Jesus of their imagination, a preacher of an egalitarian, revolutionary social gospel.
How "realistic" Verhoeven's portrait of Jesus will be is in hot dispute. According to the Associated Press, Jesus Seminar founder John Dominic Crossan, "said that while Verhoeven was a [Seminar] member in good standing, there is little evidence for the view that Jesus was illegitimate." Verhoeven is not a Biblical scholar. He holds a doctorate in mathematics and physics.
Verhoeven directed one of the most disappointing movies in recent years, "Starship Troopers." The movie was based on Robert Heinlein's book of the same name, a powerful, controversial science fiction novel that delved deeply into human nature, the tension between rights and responsibilities, and the relationship between the individual and society. Verhoeven eviscerated Heinlein's masterpiece, reducing a provocative discourse on the philosophy of governance into a cosmic shoot-em-up between humans and a race of aliens resembling giant lobsters.
From all accounts, Verhoeven plans to do something similar to the New Testament.