November 19, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- A Western Michigan University historian who is an internationally recognized expert on the origins of Christianity will be among scholars appearing on the premier telecast Thanksgiving weekend of a four-hour special on the Arts & Entertainment network.
Dr. Paul L. Maier, the Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at WMU, is among scholars interviewed for "The Rise of Christianity -- The first Thousand Years." The first two hours of the special will be broadcast at 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, and the second half will be shown at 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.
Filmed on location in the Near East and Europe by FilmRoos Productions of Hollywood, the series is narrated by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Maier, who served as the project's specialist for the first three centuries of Christianity, was flown to Hollywood last summer for the filming of his interview. Aside from his on-air involvement, Maier served as a consultant for the project beginning in the program's planning stages.
The new special marks Maier's fourth appearance on an A&E project since December 1996 when he was a featured expert on the award-winning "Biography" series. In 1997, he appeared on two segments of the network's "Mysteries of the Bible" series. Producers for the network originally made contact with Maier through the University's Office of Marketing, Public Relations and Communications.
The author of numerous books on the rise of Christianity, Maier's insights have been sought by numerous other media including the U.S. News and World Report, The Learning Channel and Voice of America. Maier's 1994 book, "A Skeleton in God's Closet," became a number one national best seller in the religious fiction category.
For more information, call Maier at (616) 387-4816 or contact Cheryl Roland, WMU Marketing, Public Relations and Communications, at (616) 387-8412.
Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org
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