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. Frank Kermode reviews book Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas by Elaine Pagels; drawing (M). Beyond Belief has ratings and reviews. Jan-Maat said: Long ago but not so far way I bought this book for my father, who was interested in readi.

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However, ultimately the emperor Constantine who had been a Christian convert prevailed and we have what constitutes orthodoxy today. 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 How can the Church maintain its traditions without suppressing the imaginative involvement of creative individuals?

It’s very smoothly and interestingly written–engaging, really–and contains a great deal of interesting information on the foundations of Christianity and, especially, how early church leaders strove to overpower one another and oagels their own view of Jesus.

Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels – Reading Guide – : Books

But the author’s elegant and intelligent writing style leads the reader through the discussion well enough. I would loosely define mysticism as a belief in man’s capacity to commune with God on a personal level, to recognize God You don’t have to agree with everything Elaine Pagels says to love her.

Preview — Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels. A collection of the sayings of Jesus, some have attempted to relate it to the long hypothesized Q, or “source”, behind the canonical gospel sayings.

Beyond Belief Reader’s Guide

About Beyond Belief In Beyond Beliefrenowned religion scholar Elaine Pagels continues her groundbreaking examination of the earliest Christian texts, arguing for an ongoing assessment of faith beynd a questioning of religious orthodoxy. She doesn’t go far, however, in expositing what these other streams of thought actually maintained.


Jun 25, David rated it really liked it Shelves: She follows many of the political and ideological controversies of the first few centuries after Christ’s life.

Pagels’ argues that the Gospel of John was likely written to refute the so-called gnostic gospel of Thomas, and that Irenaeus championed the Gospel of John and the Nicene Creed which draws freely from John’s gospel to establish the divinity of Christ as the central doctrine of Christianity, which in turn would rid the church pavels pesky gnostic sects.

See 1 question about Beyond Belief…. A better title might have been The Gnostic Gospels, take Two.

Beyond Belief

While I’m a little disappointed that Beyond Belief is not the book I was hoping it would be, the book’s argument builds steadily to a satisfying plateau of understanding, namely that the social and political upheaval that dominated the first two centuries after Jesus’ life and death motivated the likes of church father Irenaeus to unify the church under one set of beliefs and practice, and simultaneously to squelch the diversity of beliefs about God and Jesus that abounded in the early church.

View Full Version of PW. Beyond getting Christians to accept one immutable story and path to salvation, the orthodox leaders were trying to consolidate the dlaine in the interest of power and protection from outside forces. Bryond, I enjoy being reminded that orthodox Christianity as it exists today was not the only way that Christianity was understood to the first Christians. There was not as much detail about the Gospel of Thomas as I had expected.


Review: Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels | Books | The Guardian

Pagels does not push this thesis. Books of the Week. 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. If you belirf not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

I read the Gospel of Thomas before coming to this book, and I was hoping for some scholarly reflections, but I got very little.

Pagel mentions nothing concerning the bizarreness found in Thomas like the following: John’s Gospel actually gets as much attention as the Gospel of Thomas. Pagels doesn’t give any strong proof for us to accept the Gospel of Thomas and also other so-called secret works. The New Testament canon, along with the Nicene Creed, effectively excluded all mysticism from the catholic lowercase church, while instituting a Catholic uppercase doctrine of atonement and original sin.

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The books were known only through quotations sprinkled through the writings of their theological enemies in the orthodox party. For what is she searching, as both a scholar and a Christian? Her pagela were published in the bestselling book, The Gnostic Gospels, an analysis of 52 early Christian manuscripts that were unearthed in Egypt.

Elaine Pagels, professor of religion at Princeton University, has made the translation and interpretation of these texts her life’s work. How did you like it? Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.