Jun 15, Frank Kermode reviews book Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas by Elaine Pagels; drawing (M). A review of Elaine Pagel’s book. Beyond Belief, published in by Random House, is a sort of sequel to The Secret Gospels, in that it incorporates the new. Jun 24, One person’s hagiography is another’s heresy, observes biblical scholar Pagels, though that hasn’t stopped generations of Christians from.

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But the Gospel of Thomas leaves spiritual destiny up to each individual.

At the same time she slanders the Fathers of the Church, she equally attempts to redeem the Gnostics, portraying them as “spiritual seekers” and innocent victims of To be blunt, this was far and away the worst book I’ve yet read and I’ve read quite a few on early Christianity.

Why did Irenaeus and other early Christian theologians feel it was essential to unify Christian beliefs into a canon of orthodox teachings e,aine all Christians must accept?

Significantly, it is to Thomas in the Gospel of John that Jesus says: But then again I dreamt last night that I was employed by the British Velief to buy and sell warships to African heads of state, so your opinion may well be different view spoiler [ unless you were having the same dream, which would explain why I wasn’t able to sell any, not even to the one with really bad eyesight view spoiler [me and my dream are presuming that you’ve heard of how the UK government some years back managed to sell leaky submarines to the Canadians view spoiler [and to think a good chunk of the UK population believe that the country will thrive in a free trade environment hide spoiler ] hide spoiler ] hide spoiler ].

Pagels is a recognized scholar of religion, and the author of The Gnostic Gospels, among others. Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation She gives Constantine a pass, without noting the real role he played, the fact that as he lay dying he was baptized by an Arian bishop and not an orthodox bishop, and that the shields of his soldiers during THE pivotal battle to become Emperor may have borne the Cross on one side but ALSO bore the symbol of the Sun god on the other as he was hedging his bets.


On the one hand there were those who accepted what they were taught, on the other those belife took this as a starting point to seek for themselves after truth. May 03, Mike rated it it was amazing.

This began a search for her in determining at what point the church moved from the strong spiritual base in its early years to one of creeds and beeyond of beliefs.

The most important of these would seem to be, first, that what the Christ was we can be and, second, that there are many paths to such realization. What bothers me is that Pagels creates this false dichotomy between orthodox doctrine and christian mysticism, without any mention of how these traditions intersect and complement each other within the orthodox faith. This need is reflected in the text and transforms the book into much more than a scholarly treatise for the curious.

Nonetheless, I enjoy being reminded that orthodox Christianity as it exists today was not the only way that Christianity was understood to the first Christians. Pagels does not push this thesis. View all 20 comments. The Secret Gospel of Thomas. I find her writing to be interesting, although with sheer amount of dates and names, it can be a bit dry. As a Religion Prof a Princeton, Pagels has studied the debate of those years through not only those gospels included in the Bible but also the hidden 50 books that were not included and that were found in Neg Hammadi in Was he a divinely inspired man, a seer and a prophet, but still only a man?

The result is Pagels is a recognized scholar of religion, and the author of The Gnostic Gospels, among others. Return to Book Page. Some are not familiar but similar. I’m open to finding new truths and new Gospel accounts from the 20th Century’s discovered texts, but Elaine Pagels does something much The only things I didn’t like about this book were the subtitle and the attached Gospel of Thomas itself.


I have no doubts that Pagels has some merit of scholarship but I do not feel she’s above and beyond the many scholars who have looked and written about this issue extensively.

Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels | : Books

If you bring forth what is within you, what you will bring forth will save you. Later their parents went round to Joseph and Mary and complained bitterly about Jesus’ behaviour. Please try again later. May 04, Minutes Buy.

Elaine Pagels

While I enjoyed “Beyond Belief”, both the content and Dr. This is the book that turned me on elaiine Pagels’ scholarship, and I’ve felt a distant kinship ever since. According to Pagels, John is the only evangelist who actually states that Jesus is God incarnated. Pagels, a noted theoretical physicist, and subsequently gave birth to two children.

No specialized knowledge is required, the documentation being confined to endnotes, beyond a general familiarity with the Christian tradition. This book was written for the general public. As a Lenten exercise pxgels books were to be hunted down and destroyed. The Secret Gospel of Thomasbeyonr the Gospel of Thomas with the Gospel of Johnand argues that a close reading of the works shows that while the Gospel of Thomas taught its adherents that “there is a light within each person, and it lights up the whole universe [-] If it does not shine, there is darkness”, the Gospel of John emphasizes the revelation that God as Jesus Christ is the “light of the world”.

When he and his brother break the jar open, they discover a cache of 13 leather bound codices, bleief papyrus books, containing more than 50 tractates, including what came to be known as the famous gnostic gospels.