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Who is Elaine Pagels?

Elaine Pagels joined the Princeton faculty in 1982, shortly after receiving a MacArthur Fellowship. Perhaps best known as the author of The Gnostic Gospels, The Origin of Satan, and Adam, Eve and the Serpent, she has published widely on Gnosticism and early Christianity, and continues to pursue research interests in late antiquity.... she has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
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The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

Gnosticism's Christian form grew to prominence in the 2nd century A.D. Ultimately denounced as heretical by the early church, Gnosticism proposed a revealed knowledge of God ("gnosis" meaning "knowledge" in Greek), held as a secret tradition of the apostles. In The Gnostic Gospels, author Elaine Pagels suggests that Christianity could have developed quite differently if Gnostic texts had become part of the Christian canon. Pagels argues that Christian orthodoxy grew out of the political considerations of the day, serving to legitimize and consolidate early church leadership. Her contrast of that developing orthodoxy with Gnostic teachings presents an intriguing trajectory on a world faith as it "might have become." The Gnostic Gospels provides engaging reading for those seeking a broader perspective on the early development of Christianity. --F. Hall

Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas

by Elaine Pagels

The Gnostic Gospels ranges panoramically over the history of early Christianity, demonstrating the religion's initial tremendous diversity and its narrowing to include only certain texts supporting certain beliefs. At the center of her book is the conflict between the gospels of John and Thomas. Reading these gospels closely, she shows that Thomas offered readers a message of spiritual enlightenment. Rather than promoting Jesus as the only light of the world, Thomas taught individuals that "there is a light within each person, and it lights up the whole universe.

The Gnostic Paul : Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters

by Elaine Pagels

Elaine Pagels demonstrates how evidence of gnostic sources may challenge the long-established assumption that Paul writes his letters to combat "gnostic opponents" and to repudiate their claims to secret wisdom. It demonstrates how gnostic writers not only failed to grasp the whole point of Paul's writings, but dared to claim his letters as a primary source for their anthropology, Christology and sacramental theology.

The Origin of Satan
by Elaine Pagels

The Origin of Satan is a study of the role of the devil in biblical and modern times theorizes that dissident social groups that resisted Christianity, such as pagans and Jews, were typically portrayed as demons and therefore established as threats.


Adam, Eve, and the Serpent
by Elaine Pagels

Adam, Eve and the Serpent, deepens and refreshes our view of early Christianity while casting a disturbing light on the evolution of the attitudes passed down to us. Elaine Pagels examines how the founders of the Christian church permanently revolutionized the meaning of sexuality.

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