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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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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking Read! March 28 2010
Format:MP3 CD
"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. It is very thorough in its academic approach to the archeological aspects of the story - perhaps too much so, in some cases. I found myself skimming through some of the more dry scientific stuff to get back to the story. The story itself, however, is well written. I especially appreciated the skill in which the author described the scenery and even the emotional turmoil of the main character, Dr. Jon Weber. However, i did find some of the romantic scenes a bit 'cheesy', if I may say. That part of the story just didn't read as natural. Over all, however, I enjoyed the book - the intrigue, the subterfuge and the disturbing question itself - what if Christianity is a grand hoax? I caught myself feeling disheartened and disillusioned along with the 'world' as the story progressed - the mark of good story telling, I think! I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in investigative stories, archeology, and of course, Christian fiction.
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars intelligent and intense Jan. 28 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
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. And his books are also very good. He knows his subject very well. I just finished reading the Skeleton and The Di Vinci code. The skeleton is far better written far more interesting and far less mis-leading then the Di Vinci code. Dr. Maier clearly states that this is a work of fiction. He clearly states that the words are his own. He respects his readers intelligence. Most of what I have read by Dr. Maier has been very good indeed. This is worth hunting down. Because it is out of print you will
need to find creative ways to find this book. Maybe buy used or look around at differant resources. My husband is reading more than a skeleton right now but I will start that one as soon as he finishes.The story is very intense and interesting. It is also easy to follow and read because it is well written.
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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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Most recent customer reviews
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 Thought Provoking Theological Fiction
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. Read more
Published on July 6 2002 by Raymond A. Smith
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. 23 2001 by Michael Beverly
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"
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Premise; Mediocre Execution
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. Read more
Published on April 4 2001 by Mark Baker
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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