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by Elaine Pagels

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Author: Elaine Pagels
ISBN: 0330431978
Language: English
Pages: 256 pages
Category: Churches & Church Leadership
Publisher: Pan MacMillan; paperback / softback edition (December 31, 2004)
Rating: 4.2
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Elaine Pagels, one of the world’s most important writers and thinkers on religion and history, and .

Elaine Pagels, one of the world’s most important writers and thinkers on religion and history, and winner of the National Book Award for her groundbreaking work The Gnostic Gospels, now reflects on what matters most about spiritual and religious exploration in the twenty-first century. This bold new book explores how Christianity began by tracing its earliest texts, including the secret Gospel of Thomas, rediscovered in Egypt in 1945.

In Beyond Belief, renowned religion scholar Elaine Pagels continues her groundbreaking examination of the .

In Beyond Belief, renowned religion scholar Elaine Pagels continues her groundbreaking examination of the earliest Christian texts.

Includes bibliographical references and index. explores how Christianity began by tracing its earliest texts, including the secret Gospel of Thomas, rediscovered in Egypt in 1945. compares such sources as Thomas' gospel. with the canonic texts to show how Christian leaders chose to include some gospels and exclude others from the collections we have come to know as the New Testament.

explores how Christianity began by tracing its earliest texts, including the secret Gospel of Thomas, rediscovered in Egypt in 1945.

Pagels, a writer and thinker on religion and history, winner of the. Start by marking Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

I thought that this book would be an analysis of the Gospel of Thomas, I wanted to see if this author had a different perspective than others I had already read. It was more of a historical outline of how the new testament books were selected, and why others were excluded. It was a good read none the less, just not what i had expected.

In Beyond Belief, renowned religion scholar Elaine Pagels continues her groundbreaking examination of the earliest Christian texts, arguing for an ongoing assessment of faith and a questioning of religious orthodoxy

In Beyond Belief, renowned religion scholar Elaine Pagels continues her groundbreaking examination of the earliest Christian texts, arguing for an ongoing assessment of faith and a questioning of religious orthodoxy. As she arrives at an ever-deeper conviction in her own faith, Pagels reveals how faith allows for a diversity of interpretations, and that the rogue voices.

The Secret Gospel of Thomas. Elaine Pagels, professor of religion at Princeton University, became famous – well, at least well known – with the publication of her book, The Gnostic Gospels, in 1979. published 2003 by Random House, New York. She has written several other books as well on the history of Christianity, establishing her as the foremost popular scholar in the field. Beyond Belief, published in 2003 by Random House, is a sort of sequel to The Secret Gospels, in that it incorporates the new scholarship that has come to light since that book was published.

In Elaine Pagels' Beyond Belief, Richard Holloway discovers that a lost Gospel could have added another dimension to the . Anyway, by Lent 367 Athanasius felt confident enough to indulge in a bit of heretical book banning

In Elaine Pagels' Beyond Belief, Richard Holloway discovers that a lost Gospel could have added another dimension to the Bible. Anyway, by Lent 367 Athanasius felt confident enough to indulge in a bit of heretical book banning. He announced his approval of the 27 books that were to become known as the New Testament, and went on to denounce another set of texts that had been around as long as the ones he was now officially canonising as part of the Christian Bible. He described the works he wanted to outlaw as empty and poisonous myths that led people astray. As a Lenten exercise these books were to be hunted down and destroyed.

Her other books include The Origin of Satan (1995), Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas (2003) .

On Pagels' interpretation, the Gospel of Thomas claims, along with other apocryphal teachings, that Jesus was not God, but rather, a human teacher who sought to uncover the divine light in all human beings. This apocryphal viewpoint is in contradiction with the four New Testament gospels.

When her infant son was diagnosed with fatal pulmonary hypertension, award-winning author Elaine Pagels was moved to explore her faith. In Beyond Belief, her spiritual journey becomes a springboard for an intellectual and professional re-examination of early Christian faith. Controversial and thought-provoking, this international bestseller investigates the politics of Christianity and how the church crafted a Bible and a faith far more stringent than previously thought. In her search for meaning, Elaine Pagels discovers that the history of the Church and therefore the history of the Western world could have been significantly different. This moving testament to history, faith and humanity, Pagels will challenge and transform everything you know of Christianity. 'Those who are moved by religion but who find that they can no longer accept the official doctrines of their church will find this marvellous book a source of inspiration and hope' Karen Armstrong 'This is writing about religion of the first order: enlightening, intelligent, inclusive and humane' Peter Stanford, Independent
Comments (7)
Dogrel
Only half way through, but love it so far. The historical info on the Gnostic Christians is excellent. I never really agreed with the churches I attended and their demands for money and adherence to a certain dogma. This book explains my true feelings and that my personal relationship with God and Jesus is exactly that - personal. I do not need the instructions of a church to establish my beliefs in Jesus and God. Wonderfully eye opening. Definitely worth a read if you question established religious dogma.
Chilldweller
Elaine Pagels is an intense investigative scholar who minutely examines early Christian texts, searching for an ongoing assessment of faith, while able to question religious orthodoxy. Pagels reveals the various diversity of many interpretations. She believed that the "rogue" voices of Christianity encouraged "the recognition of the light within us all.
Pagels struggled with her own faith after her two and one half old son was diagnosed with a rare lung disease.
She believed that Thomas taught that all human beings had divine light. Thomas believed that Jesus was an exemplar of God, not God himself, that the individual can access the divine through deep reflection, prayer, and staying close to God through Christian Community rituals. The trust here is a 're-interpretation of the Gospel of John. The doctrinal squabbles provided thought stricture, and effectively squashed writings that might have been included within orthodox teaching.
Those who are sincerely interested, and want to understand what Jesus taught, and what happened in the early centuries, within the church, following his death would benefit from this book. Those who share an intuitive grasp of transcendence that taught in many religious traditions, will certainly discover verification for their beliefs. The desire for knowledge of the experience of, an individualized Oneness with God, is desire for benevolent propitiousness and therefore, overwhelming.
Untangling some of the complex strands of the divine conflict has practical and intellectual consequences. One must unlearn previous teachings, and open the mind, to see, to understand, previously hidden precepts. No one can ban the imagination, but too often, the imagination has been herded toward supporting and expressing already established beliefs. Interpretation is manifold. Controversy arises when only one side can speak "the truth," while others are deemed, or branded, as speaking lies. This is a powerful book written carefully and thoughtfully. The researcher has been tested by the fire. Excellent.
Boyn
The author is a well known scholar of Christian history, and in this book she evaluates the impact of the gospel of John in shaping the beliefs of early Christian faith. Using the historical facts, all available gospels, and political, social and economic factors during second to fourth century, she observes that the major players were bishop Irenaeus of second century living in Gaul, France and Emperor Constantine helped to establish the Christian faith. Much of the principle beliefs of the church were founded on the gospel of John. john refers to Jesus as "My Lord and my God" in John 20:28, his message is simple in that the Life of Jesus, death and resurrection and the narrative scenes of wedding at Cana, encounter with Nicodemus, meeting a Samaritan woman near a well, Pilate asking his prisoner for truth, and resurrection are widely celebrated today

A brief summary of this book is as follows: Early church was described as a meeting place for people seeking miracles; healing the sick, driving out demons, and raising the dead. To join the church, one had to repudiate family and their values. When Justin Martyr was baptized in 140 A.D., in Rome, he described his experience as walking on to the spiritual side, away from bad habits. In 4th century, when Emperor Constantine became a Christian, he decriminalized Christianism and convened a meeting of church leaders to cull a common statement of beliefs and early traditions to define Christianism as a faith.

The author notes that Paul, John and Luke connect Jesus with Passover. According to them, Jesus blesses the bread and wine and instructed them to eat in remembrance of him; just as Passover recalls how God delivered Israel through Moses. John gives a different chronology, according to him the last meal occurs before the feast of Passover. His version of last supper is different from that of Paul, Mark, Matthew, and Luke in that Jesus did not perform the rituals of Holy sacrament in which he washes the feet of his disciples. According to him Jesus was arrested on Thursday and brought to trial on the following day, at about noon, on the day of preparing the Passover lamb. Jesus was sentenced to death, tortured and crucified. In this narrative, John draws a parallel with sacrificial lamb. After crucifixion, the Roman soldiers don't break the bones assuming Jesus is dead. Therefore, according to John, Jesus is the living bread that comes down from heaven and whoever eats this bread and drink his blood lives forever (John 19:36, 6:35-60). Paul strengthen this claim by proclaiming that whenever you eat his bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death, until he comes (I Corinthians 11:26). This was a highly contested debate among the rest of the apostles and Christians of that time. The key concepts of John were simple; God = Word of God = Jesus Christ. "All things were made through him and without him nothing was made (John 1:3). God manifests himself in and through this world as Jesus. These were powerful messages.

Irenaeus observed that Gnostic gospels were delusional and demonically inspired. He argued that John understood Jesus more than any other apostles and welded John with well liked Matthew and Luke. Irenaeus anticipated wrong interpretation of canonized gospels that may lead to a theology that he did not envision, so he created orthodox apostolic Christianity. After about 200 years, when Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria in 367 C.E., believed Irenaeus and ordered to destroy all gospels except the canonized texts.

Irenaeus wrote the basic architectures of Christianity and instructed his congregation to keep only those revelations that defined an orthodox movement. He foresaw a strong faith of the future with a canon of truth and apostolic tradition that transformed into the very early versions of New Testament. Irenaeus observed Matthew tracing Jesus' family back to King David; Luke emphasizing Jesus' role as a priest; and Mark referring Jesus as a prophet. For Irenaeus these three fall short of calling Jesus as God, but John has no hesitancy in doing so. Irenaeus determined that John is "more elevated" than the other three apostles since they missed something that John understood. Irenaeus goes further in his five volume refutation of heretics and Jews as someone who killed the Lord of Christian faith. Emperor Constantine translated Christian prejudice against Jews into legal precedence. He forbade Jews from entering Jerusalem. He also forbade Jews accepting Christians becoming Jewish converts, conversely any Jew preventing another Jew converting to be a Christian will be condemned to die. To strengthen the church, he convened a meeting of all bishops of various Christian groups at Nicaea to formulate a standard for belief and practices of the church. Apostle John, bishop Irenaeus and Emperor Constantine are responsible for the Christianism to be a powerful religion of modern times.

Irenaeus, Libros Quinque Adverses Hearses, edited by W.W. Harvey (Cambridge, 1851)

Irenaeus, the "Canon of truth and the gospel of John: making a difference through hermeneutics and ritual' In Vigiliae Christianae 56.4 (2002), 339-371.

1. Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation
2. The Secret Teachings of Jesus: Four Gnostic Gospels
3. The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts Complete in One Volume
4. The Gnostic Gospel of St. Thomas: Meditations on the Mystical Teachings
5. Codex Sinaiticus
6. Irenaeus: Life, Scripture, Legacy
7. On the Apostolic Preaching
8. Against Heresies
9. Interpreting the Gospel of John (Guides to New Testament Exegesis)
10. Early Christianity (Classical Foundations)
Quellik
This book is beyond excellent and is informative to the tenth power!. Any person who has any thoughts about alternative religious views should read this book. Dr. Pagels is first, a very accomplished writer, and second, has more knowledge than anyone this reader has encountered concerning Gnostic thoughts and beliefs. In addition Dr. Pagels gives "chapter and verse" as to where the information has been obtained and what the impact of the information might reveal to the interested reader. I would recommend this book to any person who has interest in Christianity and how it evolved, and what was omitted, and who might have been responsible for the omissions.