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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Instead, she alludes, mostly by quotation, to some characteristic positions later rejected by the Church. This bold new book explores how Christianity began by tracing its earliest texts, including the secret Gospel of Thomas, rediscovered in Egypt in John’s Gospel actually gets as much attention as the Gospel of Thomas.

Jun 25, David rated it really liked it Shelves: While I enjoyed “Beyond Belief”, both the content and Dr. When her infant son was diagnosed Pagels, a writer and thinker on religion and history, winner of the National Book Award for The Gnostic Gospelsreflects on what matters most about spiritual and religious exploration in the 21st century.

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. Preview — Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels. Pagels is great at pulling together the details that allow us to understand not only what people were arguing about but why.

What the farmer found

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. 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.


Pagels’ infant son was diagnosed with fatal pulmonary hypertension, her pursuit of knowledge about who Jesus really was has become a question of personal urgency for her. Thomas has more of a Buddhist approach – looking for God inside yourself. Jun 10, David Withun rated it it was ok Shelves: Eline buy this expecting a dull, scholarly exposition on the Gospel of Thomas. In Beyond Beliefrenowned religion scholar Elaine Pagels continues her groundbreaking examination of the earliest Christian texts, arguing for an ongoing assessment of behond and a questioning of religious orthodoxy.

Review: Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels | Books | The Guardian

It is what scholars call a sayings gospel, a list of aphorisms attributed to Jesus. There pageos no salvation except through him. 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.

To stabilize the emerging Christian church in times of devastating persecution, the church fathers constructed the canon, creed, and hierarchy—and, in the process, suppressed many of its spiritual resources. When her infant son was diagnosed with fatal pulmonary hypertension, Pagels’ spiritual and intellectual quest took on a new urgency, leading her to explore historical and archaeological sources and to investigate what Jesus and his teachings meant to his followers before the invention of Christianity.

Pagels puts forward to the reader that there were two types of believers in the early church, a distinction that reminded me of Karen Armstrong’s A History of God.

Return to Book Page. This book was written for the general public. Athanasius of Alexandria was one of the most determined clerics in Christian history, but it had taken him a long time to get his own opinions established as the official doctrine of the Catholic Church. Perhaps distressingly to “true” Christians the concept or idea of the Trinity was solidified here. She compares such sources as Thomas’ gospel which claims to give Jesus’ secret teaching and finds its closest bflief with kabbalah with the canon to show how Christian leaders chose to include some gospels and exclude others from elajne collection many call the New Testament.


Mostly, the book focuses on The book compares the outlook of the apostle Thomas with the writings that became the book of John. But then again I dreamt last night that I was employed by the British Government to buy and sell warships to African heads of state, so your opinion may well be different view spoiler [ unless you were having the same dream, which would explain why I wasn’t able to sell any, not even to the one with really bad eyesight view spoiler [me and my dream beliwf presuming that you’ve heard of how the UK government some years back managed to sell leaky submarines to the Canadians view spoiler [and to think a good chunk of the UK population believe that the country will thrive in a free trade environment hide spoiler ] hide spoiler ] hide spoiler ].

Elsine fact is that humans, if they want one at all, generally craft the kind of religion that suits them.

It is elxine analysis of the Gospel of John, which apparently was written in response to the Gnostic oagels, the Gospel of Thomas. The discovery of the Gospel of Thomas, along with other early Christian texts, offers revealing clues. A prime example is the label of heresy attached to the Gospel of Thomas, and its subsequent suppression.

What this book is concerned with mostly is the internecine war for dominance between the proponents of the Gospel of John and the proponents of every other Gospel. 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.

Want to Read saving…. May 04, Pages. If you want a modern version of this ancient conflict you could compare the fluffy affirmations of New Age spirituality with the flinty negations of Vatican Catholicism. Very well done and a compelling read.