top of page




Dr. Jean-Pierre Isbouts is a humanities scholar, bestselling author and award-winning filmmaker, specializing in European history, the culture  of the Near East and Renaissance art. A doctoral professor at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA, he gained worldwide renown with his 2006 book The Biblical World, which became an international bestseller and is now in its fourth print. This success led to a series of National Geographic books, including the bestsellers In the Footsteps of Jesus (2011) and The Story of Christianity (2014).


Prof. Isbouts has been featured on a number of radio and television shows, including, most recently, the December 2015  BBC TV special on Leonardo da Vinci, and the upcoming documentary The Mona Lisa Code for PBS.


His new book is Ten Prayers that Changed the World, from Abraham to Gandhi. Published by Random House and National Geographic, it is supported by a major nationwide publicity campaign. His other 2016 book is Young Leonardo, which argues that Leonardo was not the favored court artist in Milan that traditional scholarship holds him to be.



Dr. Isbouts has also written and directed a number of television specials on modern history, including the Disney feature-length doc Walt: The Man Behind the Myth narrated by Dick van Dyke; Operation Valkyrie, a reconstruction of the plot to assassinate Hitler; The Civil War: A Photographic History, produced for Paragon; the period drama Manet in Love starring Richard Neil as Manet and Alissa Bresnahan as Berthe Morisot; the History Channel special Inside the Cold War narrated by Sir David Frost; and Van Gogh Revisited, narrated by Leonard Nimoy.


He also directed several awardwinning multimedia CD-ROMs, including Charlton Heston's Voyage Through the Bible starring Charlton Heston, and Hamlet: A Murder Mystery with Kenneth Branagh and Kate Winslet.


As a musicologist, Dr. Isbouts has produced a number of recordings as scores for his films, featuring the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and other ensembles and soloists, including works by Handel, Corelli, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, Fauré, and Debussy.



Jean-Pierre was born in Eindhoven, Holland and studied Attic Greek and Latin before pursuing graduate studies in archaeology, art history and musicology at Leiden University. He completed his doctoral research on the 19th century architectural firm of Carrère & Hastings at Columbia University in New York. He then joined the American Council for the Arts (ACA) in New York City, and was active in a number of federally funded arts programs. ​

In the 1990's, he founded the ArtSpace studio in Los Angeles, a unit of American Interactive Media, and produced a number of programs on Renaissance and 19th century art as part of the Great Art Series; many of these were subsequently translated in seven languages. He later served as Managing Director of Philips Interactive Media Europe, a joint venture with Polygram, from its head offices in London, UK.​


An award-winning filmmaker, Jean-Pierre has directed stars including Leonard Nimoy, Charlton Heston, Dick van Dyke and Morgan Freeman, working with Hollywood studios such as Disney, Castle Rock Entertainment, Hallmark and Agamemnon Studios. His TV programs have been broadcast on ABC, A&E, CNBC, History Channel, Hallmark Channel and PBS stations, as well as scores of television networks in Europe and Asia.

His first book, Charlton Heston's Hollywood, was published in 1998. Based on many hours of interviews with Charlton Heston, the book chronicles the astonishing transformation of post-war American cinema through the eyes of the only actor whose career spanned from Cecil B. DeMille to James Cameron. 

In 2007, National Geographic Books published his first major work, The Biblical World, which became a worldwide bestseller, and the first of several books for National Geographic Society. The success of Biblical World was followed by the 2012 publication of In the Footsteps of Jesus, which sold over a 100,000 copies in the first 8 weeks of release--an unprecedented record for a large hard-cover book at a $40 price point.

In 2013, Jean-Pierre wrote his in-depth study of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa ("The Mona Lisa Myth"), written with Dr. Christopher Brown, and  Who's Who in the Bible, a major reference work comprising over 2,000 men and women in the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament. 


Since then, Jean-Pierre has written two new illustrated books for National Geographic, The Story of Christianity and Jesus: An Illustrated Life, as well as a trade book, Ten Prayers that Changed the World. He is currently at work on two new publications, The Archaeology of the Bible, scheduled for November 2016, and a book on the early Islamic Caliphate.


Jean-Pierre is represented by Global Lion Intellectual Property Management, a literary agency based in New York, Los Angeles and Florida .


​Jean-Pierre is doctoral professor in the Social Sciences PhD program at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara. In his spare time (or what's left of it), he likes to discover new places in Asia and the Middle East with his wife Cathie, a production executive at Pantheon Studios. The father of four children, now in their mid-20's and early 30's, and grandfather of four beautiful boys, he and Cathie live in Santa Monica with a furry child named Katie, a very opinionated Labrador Retriever.

bottom of page