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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Pagels reveals an astonishing expansion of the concept of Jesus from man to God over time. Instead, she takes this and, to a lesser extent, other extra-canonical gospels to represent the actual diversity of early Christian belief and practice, a diversity suppressed by the affiliation of one section of the movement with the Powers and Principalities of Rome.
Naturally, this may be off-putting to those who prefer to focus on traditional perspectives of the Bible. In compiling the bible, the “editor” in the form of Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon was the one who decided which books to include, and which to leave o The book compares the gospel of John with the gnostic gospel of Thomas.
There Jesus treats us as equals, or at least as struggling siblings: For centuries scholars wondered what was in these heretical books, which they dubbed Gnostic, because it was believed they claimed to promote a secret spiritual knowledge available only to the elect. 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.
Apr 06, Charlotte rated it liked it Shelves: Throughout the book Pagels gives us an account of a man named Irenaeus, the bishop of Lyons, and his struggle to suppress what he viewed as heretical works of the day being put forth. This bold new book explores how Christianity began by tracing its earliest texts, including the secret Gospel of Thomas, rediscovered in Egypt in See all books by Elaine Pagels.
When he and his brother break the jar open, they discover a cache of 13 leather bound codices, or papyrus books, containing more than 50 tractates, including what came to be known as the famous gnostic gospels.
According to Pagels, John is the only evangelist who actually states that Jesus is God incarnated. Goodreads belier you keep track of books you want to read.
Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas – Elaine H. Pagels – Google Books
But that belier a bit like getting your information on Senator Kerry from the Drudge Report. One of those texts was the Gospel of Thomas.
Based on your reading of Beyond Beliefhow should religious tradition and innovation be balanced? Victors always rewrite history and scholars suspected that that’s what had happened here. Pagels begins each chapter with a personal reflection. Feb 07, Ivy-Mabel Fling rated it it was amazing. Beyonf again that there are two types of conversion experience Finally, her analysis of the role of Constantine in enshrining orthodox Christianity as the religion of the late Roman Empire is cursory.
Long ago but not so far way I bought this book for my father, who was interested in reading the Gospel of Thomas. Preview — Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels.
I also learned a lot about Constantine, Nicaean Creed, and the origination of the New Testament canon. Beyond Belief has been a formative book for me. Jesus said, “If they say to you, ‘Where did you come from?
Beyond Belief is a thought-provoking book that will engage readers interested in how Christian beliefs developed and how the church became a power to be reckoned with. The discovery of flaine Gospel of Thomas, along with more than pqgels other early Christian texts, some unknown since antiquity, offers clues.
Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. John’s emphasis is on communing to God through Jesus Christ.
Mar 03, Sean Patrick Brennan rated it it was amazing. This book dissects and examines the history of that war and demonstrates how the results of this war shaped, and continues to shape, the Christian world today. Does John want to claim the beloved is John, but find it politically expedient to only imply it? She points out the following passage as bwlief Gnostics may have used to identify themselves. Pagels herself was apparently disillusioned with orthodox Christianity at an early age and asked herself ‘how could people with different beliefs belirf condemned to hell?
The theological aspects aren’t nearly as interesting as the political ones. Pagel mentions nothing concerning the bizarreness found in Thomas like the following: Has velief read this book?
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. Provocative and moving, Beyond Beliefthe most personal of her books to date, shows how the impulse to seek god overflows the narrow banks elzine a single tradition.
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The main investigation of the book is how to tell the difference between divinely inspired texts and those that are human imagina I thought the book was going to be about the Gospel of Thomas, but it is really an overview of early Christianity tied in with Elaine Pagels personal search for something to make sense of the world. Feb 09, Minutes.
In ellaine of the Nag Hammadi texts, suppressed by the Church in A. This book was written for the general public. 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.
Her findings were published in the bestselling book, The Gnostic Gospels, an analysis of 52 early Christian manuscripts that were unearthed in Egypt. 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 belieef 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 Elain and Jesus that abounded in the early church.