I saw Verhoeven speak about his new book Jesus of Nazareth last night. It was a great talk and I really look forward to reading the book. I particularly liked the comparison of the last year of Jesus’s life with the final year of Che Guevara’s life.
Here’s an interview Verhoeven did with a local alt weekly:
WW: Many books have been written about Jesus, at least one of which is still in print. So why this book, and why now?
Paul Verhoeven: You could argue that nearly all books that are written about Jesus where people have done thorough research, are written by Christians. And here is somebody [me] who looks at it from a completely secular point of view. So I think that would be interesting for people who also have their doubts about divinity, but are still perhaps interested in the figure of Jesus, as a historical person who changed the whole world by his teachings. That’s what it is all about and not, not in my opinion, that Jesus was elevated to divine status. That, I think, was a mistake.
You’re trying to restore what you see as his ecumenical ethics to the man himself.
Yeah, clear. In my opinion Jesus was wrong about certain things, but even as he was really wrong in thinking that the Kingdom of God was going to be there shortly, and that the exorcisms were approved, at the same time—I call it a paradox nearly—he invented these parables, and the parables are expression of an innovative ethics.