A shocking discovery throws Harvard professor Jonathan Weber into the international spotlight---and could change the way the world sees the Bible. While touring Greek monasteries, he finds a manuscript that includes the lost ending of Mark and a 67th book. When the codex is stolen, Jon races to recover it---before it's lost forever!
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Customer Reviews for The Constantine Codex - eBook
Has one of the best arguments for Christianity vs. Islam I have seen without putting it down. An excellent guide as to how to respond to any Muslim friends you may have. All within and excellent intriguing plot.
I was not at all surprised that this book, like A Skeleton in God's Closet and More Than a Skeleton, kept my attention from start to finish. I wanted to read it in one sitting but had to break it into two very enjoyable evenings. If you ever have a chance to hear Dr. Maier speak, or to read any of his other books, don't miss it!
When a dig in Pella turns up less-than-stunning finds, Shannon Jennings Weber decides to visit the archives of a nearby church. She discovers brown leaves of parchment being used as a bookmark in Eusebius’ Historia Ekklesiastica. She brings the pages to her famous husband, Dr. Jonathan Weber, a professor at Harvard. What they discover is that these few brown pages could lead to the biggest discovery in Christianity since the Dead Sea Scrolls. Problems arise, and the Webers face more than their share of dangers as events unfold. Will this be the discovery of the century?
First let me say, I loved this novel! Paul L. Maier is a professor of Ancient History. He has done translations and commentaries on the historical works of both Josephus and Eusebius. While The Constantine Codex is a work of fiction it contains many historical facts regarding Christianity. I have been interested in church history for some time now, though I by no means admit to knowing much. But I am willing to bet that if you’ve never been interesting in the history of Christianity this book may make you curious. The story is fascinating and I actually learned a lot about manuscripts that scholars truly believe could exist. The story has a couple of sub-plots that keep everything moving along. As a whole, this is a very interesting and entertaining novel. Easily in my top 3 for the year.
What if the end of the Gospel of Mark was found? What if a continuation of Acts existed? Shannon Weber, a successful archaeologist, finds a document referring to a third book written by Luke, an Acts volume two. That such a manuscript would be found seemed unlikely, after all these years. Shannon's scholar husband Jon (Skeleton in God's Closet, More Than a Skeleton) has his life disrupted when a book he wrote on the life of Christ is mistranslated into Arabic. The mistranslation has a slur on Islam and a fatwa is announced. A moderate Muslim scholar challenges Jon to a debate. Jon accepts and it is set to take place in Istanbul. The Webers plan to work on a project of photographically preserving ancient Christian manuscripts. They continue the planning of the project as Jon prepares for and then successfully completes the debate. Jon & Shannon receive permission to view the manuscripts held by the Eastern Orthodox Church in Istanbul. They discover one of the fifty copies of the New Testament that the Emperor Constantine authorized Eusebius of Caesarea to prepare. It contains the missing ending to Mark's gospel and the third book Luke wrote to Theophilus, the second book of Acts. It is clearly equal or superior to the Sinaiticus, the Vaticanus, and the Alexandrinus. The discovery is the property of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as it was found in the basement of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate. The manuscript is left in the possession of the Orthodox Church in Istanbul. Jon brings back photographs for linguistic study and translation by his group of scholars. For the material study (carbon dating, for example), the Patriarch is invited to America and is asked to bring the codex. When the Patriarch arrives, Jon discovers the Patriarch has delivered a worthless imitation. The codex has been stolen.
Up to this point the novel was pretty exciting. After the codex turns up missing (the first time), the plot line and action gets repetitive. The codex is recovered and then caused to go missing again and is then found again. That seemed a bit much, to me. By that time the intrigue, for me, was gone and it seemed just a device to lengthen the book. One does learn a great deal in this novel about manuscripts, their evaluation, preservation, interpretation, etc. There are times, however, when I felt the dialogue between characters was very forced. Both people should have known the facts being discussed and the dialogue's only purpose, it seems, was to inform the readers of those facts.
Nonetheless, the are many issues addressed in this novel. Could it ever be that the canon would not be “closed”? Would it be possible to have a truly ecumenical council today, as the church had in the first centuries of its existence? There is also quite a bit about Islam in the book. One sees the radicals opposing the more moderate believers of that faith.
If you don't know very much about manuscript evidence this would be a great read for you. You'll learn lots.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
While on a dig at Pella, Shannon Jennings Weber makes a remarkable find within the Greek Orthodox Church of St. James the Just. Hidden within Eusebius’ HISTORIA EKKLESIATICA were five pages of the lost HEGESIPPUS CODEX.
Meanwhile her husband, Jon Weber is about to be caught up in an error that puts fatwa on both their heads. His book, LIFE OF JESUS has one word mistranslated in the Arabic version. What follows leads Jon and Shannon to Turkey and a Muslim-Christian debate held in the Hagia Sophia.
While in Turkey Jon and Shannon study the ancient manuscript collection held by the Eastern Orthodox Church, there they make a discovery that could change the Christian world. Hidden away is a Codex that contains not only the missing verses from the last chapter of the Gospel of Mark, but an 67th Book of the Bible - the Second Book of Acts!
But someone will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden. Various attempts at stealing or destroying the Codex or silencing Jon and Shannon follow.
Will the Constantine Codex be revealed to the world or will it be revealed as an elaborate Christian hoax? Only time will tell in this thrilling book!
Only if Indiana Jones were to discover a lost book of the Bible, battle his way past Islamic terrorists and later sneak into the inner recesses of the Vatican — only then, would an adventure story compare favorably with those envisioned by Dr. Paul Maier, professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University. Dr. Maier is famous for his academic work which includes accessible editions of Eusebius and Josephus. His fiction works, however, have sold millions of copies, and with A Skeleton in God’s Closet, he virtually created a new genre of fiction: the archeological/theological thriller.
The Constantine Codex, released by Tyndale House just last month, is the third book in the “Skeleton” series. It continues the story of archeologist and Christian scholar Jonathan Weber and his escapades. The tale begins with the discovery of a few leaves from the lost works on early church history written by Hegesippus, on whom Eusebius leaned in part for his monumental work on the early church. The contents of those leaves hint at a previously unknown book from the pen of Luke, the author of a Gospel (bearing his name), and the book of Acts — both of which are in the Christian New Testament. Fascinated by the implications, Jonathan Weber and his wife Shannon (who unearthed the missing leaves) plan to embark on a mission of discovery — searching for authentication of their discovery, and the cooperation of the librarians of many of the greatest treasures of ancient Biblical manuscripts. Before they can leave, a world-wide commotion erupts over the Arabic translation of Weber’s influential textbook on the New Testament, and Weber ends up on the receiving end of a fatwa (a death warrant given by a Muslim ayatollah). With the CIA fearing for their safety, the Webers push on and embark on their trip in pursuit of a lost chapter of church history. What they eventually find will change their lives, and the history of Christianity, forever.
This fast-paced tale takes the Webers from the Roman tomb of St. Paul, to a dark subterranean chamber reserved for manuscripts in disrepair, and leads to a world-class debate with a leading Muslim intellectual in no less a venue than the Hagia Sophia. And all of this pales in comparison to the incredible discovery of lost portions of the New Testament and the challenge this presents to Weber and his foundation of leading Christian scholars of multiple disciplines.
As Maier weaves this tale he includes equal potions of intrigue and suspense, with wonder and raw emotion. His technical discussion of the authentication of manuscript finds and ancient scribal practices is spot on, and his ability to describe and draw you into the scene is superb. Archeology, theology, textual criticism, church history and intra-church politics — all of these disciplines and more are tapped as Maier expertly crafts this story. The result is a tale which is intellectually satisfying, experientially rich and a fantastic read to boot.
Maier is a master writer, and The Constantine Codex stands testimony to that. Having not read Maier before, I was pleased to find that this did not detract from following the storyline of this book at all. If you’re looking for a great adventure tale, and especially if you are fascinated by archeology, theology or textual studies, you will want to read this book.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers via Glass Road Public Relations. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
The Constantine Codex by Paul L. Maier is the third book in the Skeleton series. Harvard Professor Jonathan Weber acquired a national reputation for great discoveries and wife, Shannon in previous books in the series. In this volume, Shannon is working on a dig in Pella when she discovers some fourth century pages that refer to a long lost book of the Bible. As the couple investigates those documents, they stumble upon a book that has the capacity to rock the Christian world. In the midst of the investigation, Jonathan has a fatwa placed upon his head and ends up in an internationally televised debate a Muslim professor about the viability of their respective religions. When the book disappears, Jonathan must scramble to recover it. Maier has created a fascinating "what if" story answering some of the hardest questions about the New Testament. His scholarship in ancient history gives the story lots of color and fascinating detail. The author digresses often, but the detours are often pleasant, adding insight to an aspect of faith or religion. However, the debate just eats up pages and kills any suspense building about the Codex. It has interesting dialogue about the differences between Christianity and Islam, but it seriously slows down the story. Maier suffers from the tendency of many professors in that he loves to teach his readers rather than entertain. The history and concepts are truly intriguing, but the romantic aspects are a bit clumsy, and Shannon, despite Maier's efforts, often serves as Jonathan's straight man for his numerous pranks and his student to allow him to show off his wealth of knowledge. I think Maier needs a sterner editor for future works to help him pare down the unnecessary side tracks and to strengthen the tension and keep suspense building.
Paul L. Maier in his new book, "The Constantine Codex" Book Three in the Jonathan Weber series published by Tyndale House Publishers gives us an adventure that will change the way we look at the Bible.
The Dictionary defines "Codex" as, " a manuscript book especially of Scripture, classics, or ancient annals". It seems that Constantine the Great had fifty copies of the Bible commissioned, remember back then there were no copiers everything was written by hand. Most of these Bibles were lost or destroyed but the plot of "The Constantine Codex" allows for Shannon, wife of Archaeologist Jonathan Weber, to find one complete manuscript. What causes worldwide attention is that this "codex" contains the ending of the Gospel of Mark and a Second volume of Acts written by Luke. As Jonathan is trying to authenticate this discovery the manuscript is stolen, his life is threatened and there are those that do not want this new information made public to the world.
Paul L. Maier knows how to tell a story and in "The Constantine Codex" he has given us a page-flipping thriller that not only entertains but gives us Church history and much to think about in terms of the Bible. How would you react if the events in these pages were true? We probably would react the same way the characters react, on one side or the other and with just as much passion. It is great to have Jonathan and Shannon Weber back again. Dr. Maier uses them to provide insight into the Bible that we might not be able to get otherwise. I liked this book and am looking forward to more of the Webers from Dr. Maier.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Glass Road Public Relations. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”