Dr. Paul L. Maier
Emeritus, Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History
Ph.D., University of Basel (1957)
Ancient Near East; Ancient Greece; Ancient Rome; Christianity and the Roman Empire; Reformation Era
Office: (269) 387-4816
Fax: (269) 387-4651
4356 Friedmann Hall
Department of History
Western Michigan Univeristy
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5334
Distinguished Scholar and Alumni Teaching Excellence awards; Professor of the Year award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
Dr. Maier's research includes a variety of methodologies involved in manuscript and text analysis, archaeology, and comparison of sacred and secular sources from the first century A.D.
A Man Spoke, a World Listened – The Story of Walter A. Maier (McGraw-Hill, 1963)
Pontius Pilate (Doubleday, 1968; Kregel, 1990)
(ed.) The Best of Walter A. Maier (CPH, 1980)
The Flames of Rome (Doubleday, 1981; Kregel, 1991)
In the Fullness of Time – A Historian Looks at Christmas, Easter, and the Early Church(HarperSanFrancisco, 1991; Kregel, 1997)
(ed., trans, with G. Cornfeld) Josephus – The Jewish War (Zondervan, 1982)
(ed., trans.) Josephus – The Essential Works (Kregel, 1995)
(ed., trans.) Eusebius – The Church History (Kregel, 1999)
A Skeleton in God’s Closet (Thomas Nelson, 1994)
More Than a Skeleton (Thomas Nelson, 2003)
(with H. Hanegraaff), The Da Vinci Code – Fact or Fiction? (Tyndale, 2004)
Many of these titles have been published in twelve foreign language editions.
Well over 200 articles and reviews in such journals as Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, Church History, Harvard Theological Review, Hermes: Zeitschrift für Klassische Philologie, Concordia Theological Quarterly, Concordia Journal, Mankind, Christian Century, Christianity Today, and Christian Herald.
Dr. Maier lectures and does seminars on a wide range of topics, and appears frequently in national radio, television, and newspaper interviews. He has also written four books for children, and written and hosted three four-hour video series, available from Tobias Communications (1-800-463-4685).
Dr. Paul Maier, professor of Ancient History and early Christianity, retired in June 2011 after fifty years in the Department of History. Maier first came to Western in 1958, after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 1957. He joined the history department in 1960 after briefly serving as the campus chaplain.
Thinking back on his career, what stands out for Maier is the amazing growth of WMU during this period, "the augmentation, of students, faculty, and buildings" over time. When Maier came to Kalamazoo, Western had only around 9000 students. The Department of History had just started its gradate program, and the twelve faculty members in the department shared an office in the Seibert administration building, with six desks all pushed together in the middle. The area where the Department now resides was the University golf course.
Maier has long been a favorite of undergraduate students. When he first arrived, he was teaching four courses per term, often all sections of Western Civilization. "I would teach all four back to back," he recalls. "I would tell the same joke in the course, and at 8am: nothing; at 9am they would smile; but I couldn't make them laugh until at least 10 o'clock."Maier still teaches HIST1000 and 1010, but he doesn't mind the improved offices and teaching conditions, which have allowed him to teach popular courses such as Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome as well as Western Civilization.
During his time at WMU, Maier has also supervised several graduate students. Dr. Mark Veldt, who finished his Ph.D. in 2007, calls Maier "one of the best teachers I've ever had, a terrific editor of my written work, and a faithful guide who helped me navigate through my masters and doctoral programs."
As popular as he is at WMU, however, Maier is also widely known outside the University, traveling nearly every weekend to give public lectures. He has written, translated, or edited more than a dozen books, which have, altogether, been translated into eighteen languages. Always attempting to reach a wide audience with his work, Maier also published several novels and children's books, and has given hundreds of lectures and public seminars over the years. Veldt describes Maier as working "easily in both classical and biblical scholarship, and was able to convey what was truly important from his research on a level that every lay person could understand. He then turned around and composed accessible historical fiction, mystery novels, and children's books. In his writing, as in his teaching, everything he touched he did with excellence."
As a tribute to Paul Maier for a 50-year career invested in the teaching and scholarship of ancient history, the Department of History has established a fund, the purpose of which is to perpetuate and strengthen the study, teaching, and research of ancient history at Western Michigan University.
The fund will be used to support projects in categories like the following:
If contributions reach the required amount to establish an endowment ($10,000), the department will create the Paul L. Maier Endowment in Ancient History, thus making the support of ancient history permanent at WMU. If this is not the case, an account will be established that can be expended from the original contributions, with the hope that supporters will continue to contribute in the future.