Papias and the Mysterious Menorah is book three in the Art West series by Ben Witherington III and Ann Witherington. This installment follows Art West in his adventures in the Middle East and, given the setting, Papias is filled with biblical references. West explores potential changes in the origins of Scripture and the influence of church leaders of that period, so these topics would be appreciated by those who are interested biblical history and who enjoy a thriller twist.
The Witheringtons did an excellent job of creating interest and excitement out of a relatively dry topic. The exploration of biblical archeology will be intriguing to those who are already familiar with the topics discussed, or who have a specific interest in biblical antiquities. The explanation of different practices and the back story can be difficult to discern while going through the storyline.
The plot follows four different storylines that overlap at various points. The storylines appear to be based off of previous developments. An understanding of the first two books of the series helps piece them together. Having multiple storylines with a variety of characters creates the ability to study the integration of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths, as well as focus on the tensions among such cultures. However, the dialogue can be slow and not appear to contribute to the plot line. There is an overuse of exclamation points, and a repetitive use of clichés and puns.
I was interested in the history presented in Papias and the Mysterious Menorah. Connecting modern day consequences to historical actions is common in most modern/history crossovers, and the Witheringtons did a sharp job of this by using archeology as the vehicle in which the crossover occurs. – Emily Moore, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
In this fast-paced thriller, Ben Witherington, himself a NT scholar with a degree in English literature, together with his wife, Ann, invite readers to join in the adventures of an archaeologist and NT scholar and his trials and tribulations when another big find comes to light.
Regarding the first volume in the series, NY Times best-selling author Anne Rice stated, “There's no thriller quite like an archaeological thriller, and when we find ourselves in a biblical mystery, the suspense and the drama are especially delicious. Set against the intense, exotic, and vivid backdrop of modern Israel, yet delving into the deepest mysteries of the time of Christ, The Lazarus Effect won't fail to entertain and inform. Highly recommended.”
In this third adventure, Papias and the Mysterious Menorah, Art West is in hot water in more ways than one. After bathing in the famous thermal springs at Pamukkale, Turkey, the intrepid Bible scholar and archaeologist is invited to join an excavation at nearby Hierapolis. A papyrus related to Papias, the noted second-century bishop, has been discovered. However, demons unleashed by a cursed papyrus found in a menorah by Art's friend, the antiquities dealer named Khalil, are poised to attack. A visit to the Plutonium proves to be a real gas for Art, who must now discover the diabolical forces seeking to kill him.