WMU News

Paul Maier is a featured scholar on ABC News special

March 30, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Dr. Paul Maier, the Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, is one of the top religion scholars from around the world slated to appear on next week's three-hour primetime ABC news special that looks at Jesus and Paul and the first 30 years of Christianity.

"Peter Jennings Reporting: Jesus and Paul--The Word and the Witness" airs at 8 p.m. Monday, April 5, on the ABC network. The program includes the perspectives of a wide variety of biblical scholars--secular and religious, Christian and Jewish, liberal and conservative--who were interviewed about how Christianity took hold and spread during the three decades following Jesus' death.

ABCNEWS.com will feature companion programming, including a comprehensive interactive map and timeline of Paul's journey, a gallery of images, Web-exclusive articles, more about the scholars interviewed in the program, and a message board for viewers to debate ideas. The broadcast will also appear on ABC News Live, the 24/7 Internet news channel for a broadband audience available to subscribers at ABCNEWS.com.

Maier, an internationally known expert on the early days of Christianity, will join some two dozen scholars whose taped comments will air on the show. He was interviewed for the program by ABC News journalist Jenna Millman, and that interview will be included as well on a separate ABC show about the first Easter, which is scheduled to air in June. Other scholars slated to appear along with Maier on the April show hail from such universities as Princeton, Duke, Columbia and Boston. Also contributing to the program were U.S. and British clerics and scholars from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

The author of numerous books on the rise of Christianity, Maier's insights have been sought by numerous media including the U.S. News & World Report, The Learning Channel, the Voice of America and the Arts & Entertainment network. Maier's 1994 book, "A Skeleton in God's Closet," became a number one national best seller in the religious fiction category, and he recently released a sequel, "More Than a Skeleton."

Additional information about the ABC special can be found on the show's Web site <abcnews.go.com/sections/WNT/World/jesus_paul_promo-1.html>.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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