WMU News

Revised edition of 'The First Christmas' released

Dec. 12, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Believe it or not, there are still developments in the history of the first Christmas.

That's why the publisher of "The First Christmas," a documentary about the Nativity by Western Michigan University's Dr. Paul L. Maier, has released a new edition of that book.

"The First Christmas" was originally published in 1971 by Kregel Publications of Grand Rapids, Mich. Since then, Maier says, history has changed.

"Over the last 30 years, a number of new archaeological discoveries and biblical research have shed additional light on what happened in Bethlehem two millennia ago," Maier says. "As a result, each chapter of the book has new information."

The text's revisions include information on the varying genealogies of Jesus in the accounts of Matthew and Luke, as well as fresh detail on the Roman imperial census that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem.

The book is being released as a "gift book edition," a handsome hardback volume enhanced with full-color photographs, paintings, maps and charts. Most of those photographs were taken by Maier on various trips to the Holy Land.

AWMU faculty member since 1960, Maier is the Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History. A recognized authority on the origins of Christianity, he is the author of a number of publications including the nonfiction books "In the Fullness of Time," "Josephus--The Essential Works" and "Eusebius--The Church History." His novels include "A Skeleton in God's Closet," which was a national bestseller in religious fiction, as well as "Pontius Pilate" and "The Flames of Rome."

Maier is a frequent subject of national radio, television, and newspaper interviews. He appeared on last year's "Who is this Jesus?" which aired nationwide on affiliates of all major television networks. Maier also has penned three children's books and produced two four-hour video series dealing with Jesus and the Apostle Paul.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 269 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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