This brief introduction to the Gnostic scriptures discovered at Nag Hammadi is instantly recognizable as a classic It is beautifully written, deeply informative, and utterly fascinating Pagels presents the Gnostics as representing various competing doctrines in the charged religious landscape of the first few centuries of the first millennium, competing against groups that would eventually ascend as canonical and orthodox representatives of the catholic church of Christ Pagels is clearly inte This brief introduction to the Gnostic scriptures discovered at Nag Hammadi is instantly recognizable as a classic It is beautifully written, deeply informative, and utterly fascinating Pagels presents the Gnostics as representing various competing doctrines in the charged religious landscape of the first few centuries of the first millennium, competing against groups that would eventually ascend as canonical and orthodox representatives of the catholic church of Christ Pagels is clearly inter For over four years I occupied one of the cheapest singles in Union Theological Seminary s Hastings Hall The room had been used for guests and, so, was larger than any other single, a wall having been apparently torn out Consequently, it was large enough to accomodate both myself and my girlfriend, Janny, after she transferred from Grinnell to Barnard College a couple of blocks away south on Broadway.I d gone to Grinnell also, having done my thesis there on the subject of scholarly theories ab For over four years I occupied one of the cheapest singles in Union Theological Seminary s Hastings Hall The room had been used This book is a classic It describes, catalogues, quotes, and interprets portions of the secret gnostic gospels which were ordered destroyed in the 4th century after Christ How, then, did we gain access to them Some crafty monk shoved bits and pieces of papyrus into a clay jar and buried it, like a time capsule, for 20th century archeologists to discover and historians to argue about for another 16 centuries.What do the gnostic gospels disclose Well, read if you want the full story, but let s This book is a classic It describes, catalogues, quotes, and interprets portions of the secret gnostic gospels which were ordered destroyed in the 4th century after Christ How, then, did we gain access to them Some crafty Reread.This is one of the most fascinating books on the history of early Christianity Although it does contain just quotes and selections from the texts themselves, Pagels does a remarkable job analyzing and giving them a greater historical context.The Gnostic texts also gave a radical re evaluation of the history of early Christianity, the nature of God, the figure Jesus, the resurrection, the role of women and whether or not a Church as it exists in the Catholic tradition, was always extant Reread.This is one of the most fascinating books on the history of early Christianity Although it does contain just quotes and selections from the texts themselves, Pagels does a remarkable job analyzing and giving them a greater historical context.The Gnostic texts also gave a radical re evaluation of The Nag Hammadi texts, containing the Gnostic Gospels, were found in Egypt in 1945 These codices were compiled in the 4th century AD, but the gospels themselves date to the 2nd century AD The Gnostic teachings are quite different from those of the orthodoxy The Gnostics had an egalitarian approach to the sexes Sex itself was held a sacrament, and Jesus himself had a consort in Mary Magdalene All this points to one of the most fundamental differences of Gnosticism to the Orthodox Christianit The Nag Hammadi texts, containing the Gnostic Gospels, were found in Egypt in 1945 These codices were compiled in the 4th century AD, but the gospels themselves date to the 2nd century AD The Gnostic teachings are quite different from those of the orthodoxy The Gnostics had an egalitarian approach to the sexes Sex itself was held a sacrament, and Jesus himself had a consort in Mary Magdalene All this points to one of the most fundamental differences of Gnosticism to the Orthodox Christianity, which snuffed it out God is ultimately male and female.A second major difference is the consideration of the scriptures themselves They were stories, and a fundamentalist interpretation of them was impossible The ver 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 hierarchical institution that understood itself as the guardian of the true faith Beliefs and practices outside of the canon was consider heresy and had to be destroyed A number of documents were buried at that time and not discovered until 1947 These alternative gospels show some of the different interpret 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 hierarchical institution that understood itself as the guardian of the true faith Beliefs and practices outside of the canon was consider heresy and had to be destroyed A number of documents were buried at that time and not dis This is a really fascinating book, and a great introduction to Gnosticism It s learned, it places theological ideas in a socio political context, and it s enjoyable to read Pagel s biggest success is in the way she ties the controversy between gnostic and orthodox ideas into contemporary social and political issues and uses them to explain why orthodox ideas ultimately won out It paints a picture where orthodox Christianity isn t the camp that won because it s ideas were any truer, but beca This is a really fascinating book, and a great introduction to Gnosticism It s learned, it places theological ideas in a socio political context, and it s enjoyable to read Pagel s biggest success is in the wa The Gnostic Gospels is a well written, thoroughly researched book on the gospels that were purposefully not included in what is now known as the Christian Bible These include the famous scrolls found in a cave and known as the dead seas scrolls among other writings all of which have been dated and authenticated Having been subjected to an ultra conservative parochial school education whose science and history never made sense to me and whose religious timeline for history never quite fit The Gnostic Gospels is a well written, thoroughly researched book on the gospels that were purposefully not included in what is now known as the Christian Bible These include the famous scrolls found in a cave and known as the dead seas scrolls among other writings all of which have been dated and authenticated Having been subjected to an ul As someone who was subjected to Catholic school for 12 years, I ve always been somewhat interested in all the Gnostic texts that didn t get included in the bible So when I saw this on my girlfriend s bookshelf, I had to give it a read.Chapter 1 Chapter 1 examines whether or not Christ actually rose from the dead or if it was a symbolic, not literal event Chapter 2 Chapter 2 covers the structure of the Catholic church and how it ties back to Peter and the Apostles, one of many church ideas th As someone who was subjected to Catholic school for 12 years, I ve always been somewhat interested in all the Gnostic texts that didn t get included in the bible So when I saw this on my girlfriend s bookshelf, I had to give it a read.Chapter 1 Chapter 1 examines whether or not Christ actually rose from the dead or if it was a symbolic, not literal event Chapter 2 Chapter 2 covers the structure of the Catholic church and how it ties back to Peter and the Apostles, one of many church ideas the Gnostics challenged It also examines the Gnostic believe that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament weren t the same God, something that formed the basis of Karl Edward Wagner s Kane series.Chapter 3 Chapter 3 examines the lack of female symbolism in Christianity and talks about Gnostic texts that assign female characteristics to the Holy Spirit and other aspects of Christianity, like the creation in Genesis and God s traditional depiction.C 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.