Book Review: The Constantine Codex

29 Jun

Harvard Professor Jonathan Weber is finally enjoying a season of peace when a shocking discovery thrusts him into the national spotlight once again. While touring monasteries in Greece, Jon and his wife Shannon—a seasoned archaeologist—uncover an ancient biblical manuscript containing the lost ending of Mark and an additional book of the Bible. If proven authentic, the codex could forever change the way the world views the holy Word of God. As Jon and Shannon work to validate their find, it soon becomes clear that there are powerful forces who don’t want the codex to go public. When it’s stolen en route to America, Jon and Shannon are swept into a deadly race to find the manuscript and confirm its authenticity before it’s lost forever.


Dr. Paul L. Maier is the Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University and a much-published author of both scholarly and popular works. His novels include two historical documentaries—Pontius Pilate and The Flames of Rome—as well as A Skeleton in God’s Closet, a theological thriller that became a #1 national bestseller in religious fiction when it first released. The sequel, More Than a Skeleton, followed in 2003.

His non-fiction works include In the Fullness of Time, a book that correlates sacred with secular evidence from the ancient world impinging on Jesus and early Christianity; Josephus: The Essential Works, a new translation/commentary on writings of the first-century Jewish historian; and Eusebius: The Church History, a similar book on the first Christian historian. More than five million of Maier’s books are now in print in twenty languages, as well as over 250 scholarly articles and reviews in professional journals.

Dr. Maier lectures widely, appears frequently on national radio, television, and newspaper interviews, and has received numerous awards. He has also penned seven children’s books and hosted six video seminars dealing with Jesus, St. Paul, the early church, and current Christianity. Visit his Web site at

My Impressions:

I have struggled with what to write in my review of Paul Maier’s newest book, The Constantine Codex.  I really didn’t like the book, and I want to tell you why, but I don’t want to be rude or obnoxious about it.  Please note that these are my opinions and should be taken as such.  Other reviewers have loved this book. Here goes . . . .

Writing style — I found it to be stiff and somewhat formal.

Characters — The two main characters, Dr. Jonathan Weber, world-renowned biblical scholar and his wife Shannon Weber, famed archeologist, were annoying to me.  I found their interactions with each other and other characters not quite genuine. There is a scene in which Shannon is panic stricken from her fear of heights and Jon just makes jokes.

Genre — The novel is billed as a thriller, yet often reads like a travelogue and college lecture on the ancient world and manuscripts.   The thriller aspects, which really didn’t get started until the last 1/4 of the book, were, for me, overshadowed by the lectures on history, Christian-Islamic relations, and numerous visits to dust filled archives.

I have read reviews of The Constantine Codex that were far more positive than mine. I encourage you to seek these out to get a fair and balanced view of the book.  Renee Ann over at DoorkeeperKathleen at Reviews From The Heart and Brenda at WV Stitcher have very positive reviews that you should check out.

(I received The Constantine Codex from Glass Road PR in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone)

6 Responses to “Book Review: The Constantine Codex”

  1. Brenda June 30, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Beckie, I have always been interested in the lost books of the Bible and think thats probably why this one grabbed me, but honestly Biblical fiction is really becoming one of my favorite genres. I am just finishing up Martha, and I am really getting a true Bible lesson on Martha and her family, and because its fiction, it makes me open my Bible to see how close the fiction story follows the Bible. Thanks for adding my link in your review, I really appreciate it.

    • rbclibrary June 30, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

      You are welcome. I always like your reviews, whether I liked the book or not.;)

  2. Ann June 30, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Sounds like a difficult review for you to write. Thanks for the honest post.

    • rbclibrary June 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

      I wanted to be honest and not snarky. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Widsith July 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    I appreciate your honest and gracious review. I also noticed the same weaknesses in the characters and their dialogue. As for the subject matter, the info on Biblical history actually enhanced the reading experience for me. Everybody’s different, eh? Thanks again for your review!

    • rbclibrary July 1, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

      Thanks for your comments. I liked the info on Meteora and was disappointed that it didn’t play a larger role in the story.

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