Beowulf writer Roger Avary has joined Paul Verhoeven's biblical biopic Jesus of Nazareth. He will adapt the book of the same name, written by Paul Verhoeven, Susan Massotty and Rob Van Scheers. Chris Hanley of Muse Productions is financing the project.

The book was written after the director immersed himself in the history of the biblical story for nearly 20 years. He believes that the immaculate conception and resurrection of Jesus did not happen. In a more controversial subject, he believes that Mary was raped by a Roman soldier, which was common at the time. He paints the Christian savior as a radical prophet who performed exorcisms and hoped to find Heaven on earth.

Here is what Paul Verhoeven had to say about his views in a recent interview.

"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."

The director is best known for his work on the action classics Robocop and Total Recall. The writer won an Academy Award for co-writing Pulp Fiction with director Quentin Tarantino.

No production details have been released for this project.