Lionsgate has picked up the screen rights to Dr. Reza Aslan's bestseller "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth".
The provocative book looks at the life of Jesus through a fresh set of eyes, exploring the tumultuous times of first-century Palestine, an age of zealotry, would-be messiahs and fervent nationalism in the face of the Roman occupation.
Into this boiling pot came a charismatic, itinerant Jewish preacher who established a revolutionary movement so threatening to both the imperial authority and his own Jewish religious hierarchy, that he was ultimately executed as a state criminal for sedition.
Aslan says the Lionsgate's plan for the film is the same as his for the book - to tell the story with a humanistic and political context rather than a religious one. The book itself also explores the church's attempt to propagate Jesus' image as that of a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious insurrectionist.