“There is no greater challenge to the faith today than Islam,” says Dr. Paul Maier, author of over 250 scholarly articles and reviews, as well as several best-selling books.
Having been a Professor of Ancient History for fifty years, Dr. Maier doesn’t make that statement lightly. “One of my seminars is called ‘Christianity and the Competition,’” he says. “In it I survey the holy books of all the other competing world religious systems. There is no contest. Nothing even comes close. I have to admit the superiority of Christianity over Islam, and all the other world religions, I might add. There’s only one other religious faith on earth that has the credentials we have, and that’s our parent Judaism.”
The Christianity versus Islam debate is at the heart of Maier’s new novel The Constantine Codex, but it’s only one of the major plot threads. The other asks the question: How would the church react if another book of the Bible, the second book of Acts, and the lost ending of Mark were discovered? “The one thing I worry about is that there’s so much junk out today about the ‘lost gospels’,” Maier says. “I hope readers don’t think this is another one in that list. No, this is totally different. This lost book of the Bible totally confirms the rest of the Biblical record.”
Dr. Maier’s goal in all his work is to find the points of tangency between scriptural and secular historical records, and he often references Flavius Josephus as a prominent influence. That said, the foreground information in The Constantine Codex and its predecessors A Skeleton in God’s Closet and More than a Skeleton is of course fictional. It’s the backgrounds of archeology, identifying true from false, and the history of Eastern Christendom which are all very much real. Says Maier: “I hope readers are pleasantly informed.”