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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The alternative, for Heracleon, and I suspect for Pagels and for that matter Karen Armstrong is a conception of God as spiritual nourishment pp I thought she was setting about showing her readers how great the Gospel of Thomas was compared to the Gospel of John, but it turns out, she succeeded much more by just showing us elain crazy the Gospel of John is, compared to the Synoptic Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

There was no salvation except through him. Retrieved 19 May Pagels argues that the Gospel of John was written as a rebuttal to the viewpoints put forth in the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas. Pagels, a noted theoretical physicist, and subsequently gave birth to two children. Dec 13, Nikki rated it liked it. Jun 25, David rated it really liked it Shelves: Studying early writings helped her see that there was a wide diversity of interpretations in the years following Christ’s death, and the creeds and beliefs statement culminating in the canonization of the books to appear in the Bible during the time of Constantine were a desperate effort to protect the “true faith” from the many groups with what seemed like strange and dangerous interpretations.

BEYOND BELIEF by Elaine Pagels | Kirkus Reviews

There is a reason John was included in the gospels of the new testament by the early Christians. Finally, her analysis of the role of Lagels in enshrining orthodox Christianity as the religion of the late Roman Empire is cursory. In Beyond Beliefrenowned religion scholar Elaine Pagels continues her groundbreaking examination of the earliest Christian texts, arguing for an ongoing elainr of faith and a questioning of religious orthodoxy.


Learn More About Beyond Belief print. It’s a shame the other parts of the book didn’t have more support or weight to help make them more convincing. Modern Library named it one of the best books of the twentieth century.

She has written several pxgels books as well on the history of Christianity, establishing her as the foremost popular scholar in the field. Having studied him myself rather intensively, I would only fault her for failing to emphasize how personal much of his invective is and for failing to note the irony of some this supposedly orthodox Father of the Church’s own beliefs, most particularly his claim that Jesus lived to a ripe old age.

Questions and Topics for Discussion 1.

What the farmer found

Pagels book is a revelation itself in pages Thomas shows us a Jesus not seen in the other gospels. 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 hope we can save the life-affirming aspects of eliane religion without depending on the structure of orthodoxy. For these reasons this book is actually an interesting read but I can’t give it a high rating because I find it fanciful to say the least. What bothers me is that Pagels creates this false dichotomy between orthodox doctrine and christian mysticism, without any mention of how these traditions intersect and complement each other within the orthodox faith.

What positive value is there in such experiences? It has no stories, only sayings attributed to Jesus, most of which seem in comparison to the conventional Gospels very familiar. In pahels, after studying the Pauline Epistles and comparing them to Gnosticism and the early ChurchPagels wrote the book, The Gnostic Paul which argues that Paul the Apostle was a source for Gnosticism and hypothesizes that Paul’s influence on the direction of the early Christian church was great enough to inspire the creation of pseudonymous writings such as the Pastoral Epistles First and Second Timothy and Titusin order to make it appear that Paul was anti-Gnostic.


Some are not familiar but similar. Recognize that this is one viewpoint and interpretation of early church history. Ever since the death of Jesus, Christians had been in hot and constant dispute about what we might call his ontological status.

Or was he God himself, for a time disguised in the flesh of the man from Nazareth, but now returned to his pre-existent state as the Eternal Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity? The New Testament canon, along with the Nicene Creed, effectively excluded all mysticism from bepief catholic lowercase church, while instituting a Catholic uppercase doctrine of atonement and original sin.

Mar 25, jcg rated it really liked it. Beyond Belief has been a formative book for me. Sep 24, Lee Pagela rated it it was amazing. Apr 06, Charlotte rated it liked it Shelves: The result is Pagels is a recognized scholar of religion, and the author of The Gnostic Gospels, among others.

Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels

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.

May 04, Pages Buy. However, both John and Thomas say something different, the latter very specifically: