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Paul L. Maier

Paul L. Maier (born May 31, 1930)[1][2] is an historian and novelist. He has written several works of scholarly and popular non-fiction about Christianity and novels about Christian historians. He is the former Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, from which he retired in 2011, retaining the title of professor emeritus in the Department of History. He serves as Third Vice President of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Personal life 2
  • Career 3
  • Appearances 4
  • List of published works 5
    • Books for adults 5.1
    • Books for children 5.2
    • List of DVDs 5.3
  • Notes and references 6
  • External links 7

Early life and education

Maier is the son of Walter A. Maier (1893–1950), founder and long time speaker of The Lutheran Hour. He is a graduate of Harvard University (M.A., 1954) and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (M. Div., 1955). On a Fulbright Scholarship, Maier studied at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and Basel, Switzerland. At Basel, Maier studied under scholars Karl Barth and Oscar Cullmann. He received his Ph.D., summa cum laude, in 1957.

Personal life

Maier is married to Joan and has four daughters.


Maier's areas of interest include the Ancient Near East; Ancient Greece; Ancient Rome; Christianity and the Roman Empire; and the Reformation Era.

He is the author of sixteen published books, both historical fiction and non-fiction. His historical fiction includes the #1 national best-seller in religious fiction [3] A Skeleton in God's Closet (1993), as well as Pontius Pilate (1968), The Flames of Rome (1981), More Than A Skeleton (2003), and the children's book The Very First Christmas (1998). Maier's non-fiction work includes Josephus: The Essential Works, a translation and abridgement of the writings of Josephus; and The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea, a translation of Eusebius' Church History. Maier co-wrote The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? with Christian apologist Hank Hanegraaf. The book is a critical rebuttal of Dan Brown's 2003 topseller The Da Vinci Code. In addition, he has published well over 200 articles and reviews in such journals as Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, Church History, Harvard Theological Review, Hermes: Zeitschrift für Klassische Philologie, Concordia Theological Quarterly, Concordia Journal, Mankind, Christian Century, Christianity Today, and Christian Herald.

He travels and lectures frequently. In 2004, he was featured on the Christian daily talk show 100 Huntley Street in Canada for the entire year. He is a frequent guest on the show.[4]


Maier appeared in a 2004 episode of the Showtime TV show, Bullshit!, entitled The Bible: Fact or Fiction?. The show's hosts argued against a literal interpretation of the Bible. Maier was invited to provide both a counterargument and relevant background information regarding the text. He was opposed by Skeptics Society founder Michael Shermer.

List of published works

Books for adults

  • A man spoke, a world listened: the story of Walter A. Maier [1963]
  • Pontius Pilate [1968] ISBN 0-8254-3296-0 (Paperback), ISBN 0-8254-3261-8 (Hardcover)
  • First Christmas: The True and Unfamiliar Story in Words and Pictures [Harper & Row, 1971] ISBN 0-06-065396-5 (Hardcover)
  • First Easter: The True and Unfamiliar Story in Words and Pictures [Harper & Row, 1973] ISBN 0-06-065397-3 (Hardcover)
  • First Christians: Pentecost and the Spread of Christianity [Harper & Row, 1976] ISBN 0-06-065399-X
  • The Flames of Rome [1981] ISBN 0-8254-3297-9 (Paperback), ISBN 0-8254-3262-6 (Hardcover)
  • Josephus, the Essential Writings: A Condensation of Jewish Antiquities and the Jewish War [1988] ISBN 0-8254-2963-3
  • In the Fullness of Time: A Historian looks at Christmas, Easter and the Early Church [1991] ISBN 0-8254-3329-0
  • A Skeleton in God's Closet [1994] ISBN 0-8407-7721-3
  • Eusebius - The Church History: A new translation with commentary [1999], ISBN 0-8254-3328-2
  • More Than A Skeleton: It was one man against the world [2003] ISBN 0-7852-6238-5
  • The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? (co-written with Hank Hanegraaf) [2006] ISBN 1-4143-1035-8
  • A Skeleton in Rome [2011] [1]
  • The Constantine Codex [2011] ISBN 1-4143-3773-6

Books for children

  • The Very First Christmas [1998] ISBN 0-570-05064-2
  • The Very First Easter [1999] ISBN 0-570-07053-8
  • The Very First Christians [2001] ISBN 0-570-07175-5
  • Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World [2004] ISBN 0-7586-0626-5
  • The Real Story of the Creation (illustrated by Robert T. Barrett) [2007] ISBN 0-7586-1265-6
  • The Real Story of the Flood (illustrated by Robert T. Barrett) [2008] ISBN 0-7586-1267-2

List of DVDs

  • Christianity: The First Three Centuries [2003]
  • The Odyssey of St. Paul [2003]
  • Jesus: Legend or Lord? [2003]
  • How We Got the Bible [2009]
  • Christianity and the Competition [2010]

Notes and references

  1. ^ U.S. Public Records Index Vol 1 (Provo, UT: Operations, Inc.), 2010.
  2. ^ Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF) .
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ "Dr Paul Maier vs. Tom Harpur"; March 30, 2004

External links

  • Faculty Profile at Western Michigan University
  • Biography at Tobias Communications
  • Works by or about Paul L. Maier in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • 2000 Years Since...What? by Paul L. Maier
  • The Times and Places of Jesus by Paul L. Maier
  • History, Archaeology and Jesus by Paul L. Maier
  • Jesus — Legend or Lord? by Paul L. Maier
  • Josephus on Jesus by Paul L. Maier
  • A Bethlehem Grotto by Paul L. Maier
  • The Roman Governors by Paul L. Maier
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