Monday, April 5, 2010
Paul Verhoeven's Search for the Historical Jesus
Filmmaker Paul Verhoeven publishes a historical portrait of Jesus...
In Jesus of Nazareth, Verhoeven relates the story of how as a four year old boy he once asked his father if Jesus had felt any pain while nailed to the cross. His father thought that Jesus probably had. Little Paul replied, "But if he was the son of God, couldn't God have made the pain go away?" Verhoeven says he doesn't remember what his father said in reply, but this was a formative moment in the filmmaker's lifelong interest in Jesus Christ.
In 1985 Verhoeven heard of the Jesus Seminar, comprised of scholars and theologians, and later joined it. The group is concerned with what the historical Jesus actually did and said. Verhoeven is the only non-theologian ever admitted into the Seminar.
The book is split into an introduction, ten chapters and an epilogue. The ten chapters are:
1. From Conception to Early Adulthood
2. John the Baptist and Jesus
3. Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
4. Jesus the Exorcist (I particularly dug this chapter title: very evocative... Could be a great movie)
5. Jesus Flees
6. The Transfiguration
7. The Confrontation
8. Lazarus is Killed
9. The Last Day of Jesus' Life
10. The Traitor
There are also two appendices: A) The Secret Gospel of Mark, and B) Did Jesus Select the Twelve Disciples Himself?
Some things I learned from Paul Verhoeven in this book:
1) Hitler farted a lot in meetings with his staff and generals, and they had to stand by and breathe in the "stench."
2) Jesus and his disciples, being itinerant, "subsisted on whatever food came their way, so they probably had gastrointenstinal problems. Jesus' companions must have heard him snore, snuffle, and fart."
3) Verhoeven writes about farting quite a bit.
4) Jesus was essentially a fugitive (according to Verhoeven and others)
5) That Jane Schaberg presented the idea that Jesus might have been the product of a rape in her book The Illegitimacy of Jesus: A Feminist Theological Interpretation of the Infancy Narratives.
Those are just a few things you will learn in Verhoeven's Jesus of Nazareth.