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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Apr 06, Charlotte rated it liked it Shelves: But it had been a close run thing and Athanasius would probably not have won at all if it had not been for the intervention of the Emperor Constantine, who wanted a united Catholic Church to act as a powerful cement for his far-flung empire.
Though Pagels presents it as the only proper interpretation, there are other viewpoints that contest her hypothesis. InPagels joined Princeton University as a professor of early Christian history.
Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas
Based on your reading of Beyond Beliefhow should religious tradition and innovation be balanced? The fact is that humans, if they want one at all, generally craft the kind of religion that suits them. That which you do not have within you will kill you if you do not have it within you.
Pagels remains a champion for truth and an asset to people who want to know it, painting a more complete picture of Jesus and the evolution of Betond.
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 statements of beliefs. Nag Hammadi manuscripts Early Christianity. Or perhaps those who believed that at most only Jesus had at least some element of divinity in his nature view spoiler [and quite how much and in what way, were themselves to become hugely controversial issues hide spoiler ] and those who felt that everyone has sparks of the divine in them – this later was to become an important element in Jewish mystical tradition view spoiler [at times I wonder if the Early Christian church might be most interesting for Jews curious about the archaeology of some of their traditions since there seems to be a fair bit that isn’t attested in writing until centuries later in Jewish writings yet apparently was already current in the diversity of Christian belief in the first couple of centuries AD hide spoiler ].
Focus on is the “lost” Gospel of Thomas, part of the Nag Hamadi library–theory is that church leaders who came to power tried to destroy evidence of this report of Jesus’ teachings that centered more on Gnostic and mystic spirituality.
For what is she searching, as both a scholar and a Christian? The Nag Hammadi texts show modern scholars the diverse points of view that were present in early Christianity and that were excluded from orthodoxy and branded “heresy”; they suggest the historical reasons e.
Very well done and a compelling read. His outlook is that God is within all of us and Jesus told us to find the way to heaven.
BEYOND BELIEF by Elaine Pagels | Kirkus Reviews
However, certain church leaders from the second through the fourth centuries rejected many of these sources of revelation and constructed instead the New Testament gospel canon of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which has defined Christianity to this day. How can the title rlaine interpreted?
Pagels argues that the Gospel of John was written as a rebuttal to the viewpoints put forth in the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas.
Nov 03, Milt rated it did not like it. She doesn’t touch on the work of scholars who believe that the Gospel of John was originally written more sypathetically to the Gospel of Thomas, but that a later Redactor added the opening chapters and inserted additional material to change the perspective to refute Thomas.
This phrase can be extended to those people who continue to be beyonx today. In a stone jar was found at Nag Hammadi in upper Egypt containing other writings from the beginning of the Christian era.
It is what scholars call a sayings gospel, a list of aphorisms attributed to Jesus. So far, I think Pagels’ Gnostic Gospels was a better read. Pagels puts forward to the reader that there were two types of believers in the early church, a distinction that reminded me of Karen Armstrong’s A History of God. It’s really less about the Gospel of Thomas and more about diversity and meaning within the early Christian movement.
Pagels doesn’t give any strong proof for us to accept the Gospel of Thomas and also other so-called secret works. How can the Church maintain its traditions without suppressing the imaginative involvement of creative individuals? Only is the Gospel of John is there a character named Doubting Thomas.
I can’t help but wonder how Christianity would differ had other texts been selected for the New Testament.
Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels | : Books
But yeah, Pagel’s seem to suggest Irenaeus depictions here was accurate, and this may be in part why he turned against them so strongly, throwing every vindictive and hateful epithet their direction. I’m open to finding new truths and new Gospel accounts from the 20th Century’s discovered texts, but Elaine Pagels does something much more subversive–delightfully so! Though the Gospel of Thomas has a few truly eliane quotables, most of it is just a strange collection of disparate ideas, and reads more like annotations someone scribbled in their notebook while reading one of the four canonically approved Gospel accounts.
What it is not, is an analysis of the Gospel of Thomas but it does elaborate on the argument in the first book about the role of the gospel of John in the struggle against Thomas-type mysticism. Pagels reveals an astonishing expansion of the concept of Jesus from man to Pagela over time.
Beyond getting Christians to accept one immutable story and path to salvation, the orthodox leaders were trying to consolidate the religion in the interest of power and protection from outside forces.
At the same time beilef 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 helief a few on early Christianity.
I enjoyed reading the book, overall, but found myself more interested in what Pagels leaves out, and why In AprilPagels’s son Mark died after five years of illness, and in Julyher husband Heinz Pagels died in a mountain climbing accident. Mostly, the book focuses on how his teachings were repressed in favor of John in the creating of the canon of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.