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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: The Constantine Codex by Paul L. Maier

What could happen if a 1st Century copy of the Bible were found?
The Constantine Codex (Skeleton Series) by Paul L. Maier

    The Constantine Codex (Skeleton Series)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (May 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414337736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414337739
   Genre: Christian Fiction
   My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0

Product Description
Harvard Professor Jonathan Weber is finally enjoying a season of peace when a shocking discovery thrusts him into the national spotlight once again. While touring monasteries in Greece, Jon and his wife Shannon—a seasoned archaeologist—uncover an ancient biblical manuscript containing the lost ending of Mark and an additional book of the Bible. If proven authentic, the codex could forever change the way the world views the holy Word of God. As Jon and Shannon work to validate their find, it soon becomes clear that there are powerful forces who don’t want the codex to go public. When it’s stolen en route to America, Jon and Shannon are swept into a deadly race to find the manuscript and confirm its authenticity before it’s lost forever.
Review: This is an interesting story with lots of Christian detail.

When I first started this book I was very excited as it reminded me of a Christian version of an Indiana Jones adventure. Too bad that level of excitement did not remain although there is a remarkable archealogical find, a theft and a recovery.

Jon, a Harvard Professor and known Biblical scholar, and his wife, Shannon, an experienced archaeologist, are part of a group called Institute of Christian Origins or ICO. The institute’s purpose is to search church libraries world wide for manuscripts of historic importance, to catalog them, photograph and protect them.

Shannon finds some leaves in a church library in Pella which indicate that Luke may have written a Second book of Acts. They set out on a trip to Greece to have a foremost expert authenticate the leaves. Next Shannon discovers an ancient manuscript in the ‘cemetery’ or repair and storage room of a Greek Orthodox Church. Jon and Shannon realize that this codex appears to have been one of 50 copies commissioned by Constantine. They believe it was written in 335 and they are shocked to discover that it contains extra material not found in later Biblical translations. This is a phenomenal find but must remain secret and safe until it can be authenticated and announced to the world.

Jon has had a fatwa, an Islamic death order, placed on him due to an insult taken as the result of a typographical error in the Arabic translation of his latest work. This threat delays their trip to Greece and involves the FBI to secure their safety. The CIA is also brought in for security detail when Jon and Shannon go to Turkey where Jon has agreed to a debate with an Islamic leader challenging Christianity versus Islam as the more supportable faith.

The debate is an interesting and informative presentation of Christian arguments versus the Islamic views.  The different level of honest expression of dialogue is portrayed in Jon’s having to be particularly careful not to step on toes or cause offense in his debate responses.

The dialogue between Jon and Shannon is sweet and almost corny. There are some twists in the plot with the theft and subsequent recovery of the Codex and the discovery of the inside villain. The writing flow is easy although a little on the dry side as sometimes it seemed the author was presenting facts almost in lecture mode. Still, I did enjoy the wealth of details, statistics and faith arguments woven into the plot. I wouldn't call this gripping reading but it qualifies as interesting and informative.


Thank you to Glass Road PR for the book to read and review.

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