The Gnostic Gospels (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Jun 29, 2004 - Religion - 182 pages
235 Reviews
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

The Gnostic Gospels
is a landmark study of the long-buried roots of Christianity, a work of luminous scholarship and wide popular appeal. First published in 1979 to critical acclaim, winning the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Gnostic Gospels has continued to grow in reputation and influence over the past two decades. It is now widely recognized as one of the most brilliant and accessible histories of early Christian spirituality published in our time.

In 1945 an Egyptian peasant unearthed what proved to be the Gnostic Gospels, thirteen papyrus volumes that expounded a radically different view of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ from that of the New Testament. In this spellbinding book, renowned religious scholar Elaine Pagels elucidates the mysteries and meanings of these sacred texts both in the world of the first Christians and in the context of Christianity today.

With insight and passion, Pagels explores a remarkable range of recently discovered gospels, including the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, to show how a variety of “Christianities” emerged at a time of extraordinary spiritual upheaval. Some Christians questioned the need for clergy and church doctrine, and taught that the divine could be discovered through spiritual search. Many others, like Buddhists and Hindus, sought enlightenment—and access to God—within. Such explorations raised questions: Was the resurrection to be understood symbolically and not literally? Was God to be envisioned only in masculine form, or feminine as well? Was martyrdom a necessary—or worthy—expression of faith? These early Christians dared to ask questions that orthodox Christians later suppressed—and their explorations led to profoundly different visions of Jesus and his message.

Brilliant, provocative, and stunning in its implications, The Gnostic Gospels is a radical, eloquent reconsideration of the origins of the Christian faith.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
65
4 stars
105
3 stars
48
2 stars
13
1 star
4

A good, if narrow, introduction. - Goodreads
Fuel for arguments about relativism. - Goodreads
Elaine Pagels is a technically great writer. - Goodreads
It's researched and well thought out. - Overstock.com
Still, a decent introduction to the gnostic beliefs. - Goodreads

Review: The Gnostic Gospels

User Review  - Jamila Sule - Goodreads

Good book but was lost by a borrower. But it's okay, she has been cursed. Read full review

Review: The Gnostic Gospels

User Review  - Jan - Goodreads

Not surprising, a couple hundred years after the death of Christ there were different interpretations on what his life meant and what his essential message was. Christianity was becoming a ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
CONCLUSION
NOTES
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

ELAINE PAGELS earned a B.A. in history and an M.A. in classical studies at Stanford, and holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University. She is the author of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent; The Origin of Satan; and the New York Times bestseller Beyond Belief. She is currently the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University, and she lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with her husband and children

Bibliographic information