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A Skeleton in Gods Closet [Paperback]

Paul Maier
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 17 2005

When an ancient skeleton is discovered in Israel, will it shed new light on the life of Jesus or plunge the world into chaos?

Dr. Jonathan Weber, Harvard professor and biblical scholar, is looking forward to his sabbatical year on an archaeological dig in Israel. But a spectacular find that seems to be an archaeologists dream-come-true becomes a nightmare that many fear will be the death rattle of Christianity.

Carefully researched and compellingly written, A Skeleton in Gods Closet explores the tension between faith and doubt when science and religion collide. In the end, it’s a thought provoking page turner driven by one mans determination to find the truth—no matter what the cost.


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About the Author

Dr. Paul L. Maier is the Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University. He is also a historical novelist and serves as Second Vice President of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
This novel succeeds as a work of entertainment. It is also a very informative examination of archeology, with lots of interesting details about digs and the verification of artifacts.
The characters are reasonably well drawn, though the females seem to be celebrated more for their beauty than for their personality or character. There was room in this novel for an older or unattractive woman known for her warmth, wisdom or expertise. I liked the main female character in the book, I just felt that her chief virtue in the author's mind was her beauty.
Perhaps the book's greatest feature is that it encourages us to think about the nature of faith. The plot is very cleverly designed to make us think specifically about the details on which Christians base their faith in Christ.
The key theological issue in the book involves questions about the truth of the physical resurrection of Christ in the body. Whether Christ lived on after the crucifixion is not the consuming question of this novel, but rather whether he lived on in physical form. The question is not whether he ascended into heaven, but weather he did so in the flesh and blood body he bore while here on earth. As a result, this book is really a text written for Christians by a Christian in order to argue a particular theological point of interest primarily to Christians.
The argument seems a bit contrived at times because it sets up those who believe in a physical resurrection of Christ against those who believe that Christ had no true divinity. There is no room in this book for those who believe in a non-physical resurrection or who believe that Christ is not tied to the physical body he wore while on earth.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The first Theological Thriller Jan. 23 2004
Format:Paperback
Dr. Paul Maier recently released a sequel to this book, a classic that I read almost 10 years ago. The sequel is called "More than Just a Skeleton, it was one Man against the World" and was one of the best books I've read in years.
A Skeleton in God's Closet is well worth reading and I have reread it and enjoyed it many times. Not only will this book make you think about issues of faith versus knowledge, but it will also introduce you to the world of scientific verification of archaeological discoveries. It is the only accessible book to this highly technical feild that I have ever encountered.
The characters in Dr. Maier's book are realistic and easy to identify with. Some have criticised his inability to create deep female characters in his book, and perhaps there is some validity to this as the female character in this book is not really well-developed. The romance is juvenile, unrealistic and annoying. (My wife unfortunately never finished the book because of the cheesy romantic scenes). However the other strengths of the book make it well-worth skipping the remantic passages.
I highly recommend reading this book as a introduction to Dr. Maier's new work, which I believe is the best book of Christian fiction since C.S. Lewis wrote the "Great Divorce".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Theological Fiction July 6 2002
Format:Paperback
Dr. Maier's book is a very thought provoking story about what it would be like if something were uncovered that might possibly signal the end of Christianity. A word of caution to Christians reading this book. At the outset the book seems heretical in its subject matter, however, have no fear the author is Christian and makes all right in the end, once again proving that God can take evil intent and turn it to his bidding. The only problem I had with this book was a small amount of sexual content. I only bring this up because my twelve year old son wanted to read it and I had to tell him it was a little above him. I realize Dr. Maier wrote this for adults and not children. However, I feel a Christian writing a book about Christianity, albeit the subject matter ficticious, still has responsibilities to his fellow Christians. Having to explain to my son that he cannot read this book because of a minor amount of PG-13 material was a bit difficult, since it was written by a Christain. Otherwise the book was very good. It's a mysterical pager turner in the classic sense, and for Christians especially, it will be impossible to put down.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Premise; Mediocre Execution April 4 2001
Format:Paperback
What would happen if archaeology were to find Jesus' bones? That's the basis for this Christian thriller. Dr. Jonathan Weber has made this startling discovery. While he searches for the answers, the rest of the world panics. Millions abandon the faith while some still take the Bible at it's word and believe that Dr. Weber has uncovered the hoax of the century. His investigation seems to lead no where, but is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
I really have a mixed reaction to this book. The first hundred pages drag. It takes that long for our characters to find what they have. Meanwhile, the reader is bored waiting to learn something not on the back of the book. This part could have been told in 50 pages and kept the reader's interest more. Once the story gets going, it is interesting. The reactions of the general populace really made me examine what my faith was in, archeology or God's word. Still, the story spends a little too long on the archaeology details before it reaches its satisfying conclusion.
A good editing job could have taken this book from a mediocre book to a great Christian novel.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking Read!
"A Skeleton In God's Closet" is well worth reading on many levels. It is based on the 'discovery' of Jesus bones along with other artifacts that 'prove' its authenticity. Read more
Published on March 28 2010 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars intelligent and intense
I took a History at Western Michigan that Dr. Maier taught in the 1980's> I can still remember details of his lectures. He has a gift to tell a good story. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Went Beyond My Hopes!!
I've never been a big fan of Christian fiction, as I usually read books on Christian theology, philosophy, history, and apologetics. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2003 by Rob Nowogorski
4.0 out of 5 stars A Religious, Archaeological Mystery-Thriller
I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up because I'm interested in historical fiction, and the cover caught my eye. Read more
Published on May 2 2002 by Imperial Topaz
4.0 out of 5 stars What would you do?
This book makes you ask yourself, "If what is happening in this story really happened where would I be in my faith walk?" Very perplexing. Well written. Read more
Published on April 18 2002 by Deborah L. Woodstuff
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining yes, problematic? yes
I wasn't sure as I started to read this book if the publisher was a Christian house or not, so I wasn't sure (but suspected) how it would end, knowing it before hand probably makes... Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2001 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Test of Faith
This is the first novel I read by Mr. Maier and was extremely pleased. It is useless in telling what the plot is about since others have explained it and the main review gives it... Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2001 by Matthew Faulk
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently writen and researched
This is one of the best fiction thrillers that I have ever read and, even though I am also a theologian, I found myself questioning the basis of our belief system, not only in... Read more
Published on July 30 2001 by "asaintlouisprivateeye"
5.0 out of 5 stars Christian fiction thriller!
This is so good, I wish I had the means to bring this into film. It would be better than any Indiana Jones thriller with it also being so accurate in its details. Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2001 by rodboomboom
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