Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Constantine Codex - Paul L Maier

Shannon Weber discovers an old parchment in Pella, Israel that eventually leads to her and her husband, renowned Harvard Professor Jonathan Weber on an amazing discovery.

This discovery turns out to be the lost ending of Mark's Gospel and a 'Second Acts'. Can it be true? Would someone take their time to create an elaborate forgery? And if it is genuine, then surely this would be a fantastic discovery for the Christian world.

Not only do the celebrated Professor and his 'seasoned' archeologist wife contend with keeping this under wraps, the Professor is embroiled in an Christian/Islamic 'war' when a fatwa is placed on him after a typographical error in his book, Jesus of Nazareth.

Will the Christian/Islam debate that ensues deflect from Jon and Shannon make the announcement of "an addendum" to The Bible?

Initially, I found this novel to be a little long winded. The 'exciting' part of the story is really developed in the second half of the book. Maier details, I think, effectively the Christian/Islam debate and will give the reader a lot to think about. The discovery of the lost Mark ending and the conclusion to Acts, namely Acts 2, is again well written and thought out.

I wasn't as moved as the Professor and his wife were when they were making the translation of the text into English - but Maier is depicting devout Christians making this discovery, so therefore would be humbled by it. It certainly makes you think what would happened if a valuable document like the codex was unearthed. Would the Vatican and Greek Orthodox churches come together so easily? Would they allow the organization that the Professor belongs to (ICO - Institute of Christian Origins) to be in charge of such a valuable document even if they were the ones that discovered it?

Certainly an enjoyable novel, I found it a little too wordy. I appreciate that a certain amount of background has to be given, but I think this hindered the telling of the story. There are a couple of good twists, but as I previously mentioned, this happens in the 'second half' of the book.

There has been a plethora of books revealing a discovery of ancient text and hidden meanings, and those expecting a sensational story akin to The Da Vinci code may be disappointed. Maier has written a story about the discovery of a codex that, ironically, gets lost in the history of Christianity.

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