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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Trivia About Beyond Belief: 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. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television.


Recognize that this is …more This is a well-written, accessible book to introduce you to the thesis of alternative Christian traditions in the early church. Pagel’s think maybe some of the Gospel of John was written in opposition to this.

The author’s personal beliefs are, of course, fine and she is welcome to them The book compares the gospel of John with the gnostic gospel of Thomas. I am no scholar, nor am I well-educated on the finer points of Orthodox doctrine, but I do know that the Orthodox Church does not hold a doctrine of atonement or original sin in the same sense as the Roman Catholic churchbut does promote the concept of theosis, a mystical journey wherein man is ultimately joined to God, becoming divine by grace.

Pagels herself w First and foremost I think Elaine Pagels writes nicely. She wants to know what Christ meant to his followers before doctrine and dogmas, in other words, before Christianity was invented by the Church.

Pagels’ argues that the Gospel of John was likely written to refute the so-called gnostic gospel of Thomas, and that Irenaeus championed the Gospel of John and the Nicene Creed which draws freely from John’s gospel to establish the divinity of Christ as the central doctrine of Christianity, which in turn would rid the church of pesky gnostic sects. Apr 06, Charlotte rated it liked it Shelves: It’s really less about the Gospel of Thomas and more about diversity and meaning within the early Christian movement.


That which you do not have within you will kill you if you do not have it within you. It is an analysis of the Gospel of John, which apparently was written in response to the Gnostic text, the Gospel of Thomas. Third, she discusses the original imperially-sponsored Council of the Church which capped the early stage of ideological repression. According to Pagels, John is the only evangelist who actually states that Jesus is God incarnated. One of those gospels, the Gospel Of Thomas, is Pagels emphasis here.

Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels

Athanasius of Alexandria, and the other great Church Fathers in as bad a light as possible, even lying, twisting the truth, and covering up facts. The rest mentioned previously is the gilding on the frame; the meat of this book is the incisive examination of the winners the Orthodoxy and the losers the Gnostics.

Pagels seems to equate the acceptance of Christ’s divinity with a denial of mysticism. Focus byeond is the “lost” Gospel of Thomas, part of the Nag Hamadi library–theory is that church leaders who came to power tried to destroy evidence of this report of Jesus’ teachings that centered more on Gnostic and mystic spirituality. Pagels’ study of the Nag Hammadi manuscripts was the basis for The Gnostic Gospelsa popular introduction to the Nag Hammadi library.

Sep 17, David Elkin rated it really liked it.

At the center of her book is the conflict between the gospels of John and Thomas. As always, the most ruthless win. Thomas Merton, the twentieth century writer and Trappist monk, agreed with Tolstoy but interpreted his kingdom mystically rather then practically.

Books by Elaine Pagels. 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. 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.


A few are a little bit different.

Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels | : Books

Focus on is the “lost” Gospel of Thomas, part of the Nag Hamadi library–theory is that church leaders who came to power tried to destroy evidence of this report of Jesus’ teachings that centered more on Gno I used this for my MA thesis.

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 so I assumed from the title. Jun 10, David Withun rated it it was ok Shelves: Or again that there are two types of conversion experience We are separated from God by beyohd sin, therefore we cannot have access to God without a mediator Christ.

Was he a divinely inspired man, a seer and a prophet, but lagels only a man? So it’s not surprising that so many people take to the hills.

Pzgels their parents went round to Joseph and Mary and complained bitterly about Jesus’ behaviour.

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. Except that scholars like Pagels are beginning to regret that the victory was so overwhelming and one-sided. For translations of the Gospel of Thomas see: In a nutshell, the New Testament is elane end result of a protracted and often bitter media war.

At the same time she slanders the Fathers of the Church, she equally attempts to redeem the Gnostics, portraying them as “spiritual seekers” and innocent victims of the institutional Church. You don’t have to agree with everything Elaine Pagels says to love her.