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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No specialized knowledge is required, the documentation being confined to endnotes, beyond a general familiarity with the Christian tradition. Two thousand years ago those arguing for one belief over another used the same techniques of persuasion that we see today. Some monks based near the town of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt decided to defy him.

More than the Gospel of Thomas is covered here. Please try again later.

She briefly comments on a handful of saying such as: Pagels, ElaineBeyond Belief: I enjoyed Pagels’ guidance through the debate of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries regarding the life and teachings of Jesus. At the time I was acquainted with paels and Heinz, neither seemed particularly religious, but as the text indicates, these losses caused her to reconsider her position.

Pagels seems to be attempting to say there was a better form of Christianity that was destroyed by the dogmatic catholics, which is what most of the book is about. What this book is concerned with mostly is the pagela war for dominance between the proponents of the Gospel of John and the proponents of every other Gospel.

Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels

Looking for More Great Reads? Apr 05, Arthur George rated it really liked it. 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. Fast forward 1, years to December First, The Gospel of Thomas, a version of which was discovered in Egypt in Elainw Jesus treats us as equals, or at least as struggling siblings: Questions and Topics for Discussion 1.


Some are not familiar but similar. This book followed on from the ‘Gnostic Gospels’ and I found it a useful introduction to the controversies and general circumstances that led to the establishing of the scriptural canon.

History books The Bible reviews.

Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas

Quotes from Beyond Belief: Slowly I learn the oddness of what had been taught to me in school as plain and uncontroversial. Pagels book is a revelation itself in which Thomas shows us a Jesus not seen in the other lagels. Her best-selling book The Gnostic Gospels examines the divisions in the early Christian church, and the way that women have been viewed throughout Jewish history and Pagela history. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. I enjoyed her personal story and how she believes that there is more than one way to discover God, but again this book is supposed to be about the Gospel of Thomas or belieg While I enjoyed beyknd Belief”, both the content and Dr.

Oct 06, Chip rated it really liked it. Feb 07, Ivy-Mabel Fling rated it it was amazing. Stay in Touch Sign up. Pagels feels that if the Gospel of Thomas were included in the New Testament instead of that of John, or even if it were included along with John, the development of Christianity would have been quite different.

When her infant son was diagnosed with fatal pulmonary hypertension, Pagels’ spiritual and intellectual quest took on a new beyonc, leading her to explore historical and archaeological sources and to investigate what Psgels and his teachings meant to his bekief before the invention of Christianity.

As a young researcher at Barnard College, she changed forever the historical landscape of the Christian religion by exploding the myth of the early Christian Church as a unified movement. 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 eoaine a questioning of religious orthodoxy.

Pagels compares it to the Gospel of John which states that belief in Jesus is the on Like some of Bart Ehrman’s books, Pagels deals extensively with conflicts among elwine Christian sects and how the Bible ended up being what it is today. 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.


John’s Gospel actually gets as much attention as the Gospel of Thomas. According to Pagel’s interpretation of an era different from ours, Gnosticism “attracted women because it allowed female participation in sacred rites”.

Pagels begins each chapter with a personal reflection. I’m very pagfls this book exists. Pagels’ infant son was diagnosed with fatal pulmonary hypertension, her pursuit of knowledge about who Jesus really was has become a question of personal urgency for her.

Jun 25, David rated it really liked it Shelves: To ask other readers questions about Beyond Beliefplease sign up.

Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels – Reading Guide – : Books

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

Refresh and try again. Pagels puts forward to the reader that there were two types of believers in the early church, a distinction that reminded me of Karen Belisf A History of God. A prime example is the label of heresy attached to the Gospel of Thomas, and its subsequent suppression.

That said, I was troubled by Pagels’ tendency to equate mysticism and gnosticism, and I think this is problematic to her argument. Paels 16, Carol rated it it was amazing. During the time of persecution of Christians, the church fathers constructed the canon, creed and hierarchy, suppressing many of its spiritual resources in the process, in order to avoid conflict with Roman law and religion.