She lives in Princeton, New Jersey. Since I had not been in church for a long time, I was startled by my response to the worship in progress——the soaring harmonies of the choir singing with the congregation; and the priest, a woman in bright gold and white vestments, proclaiming the prayers in a clear, resonant voice. As I stood watching, a thought came to me: Here is a family that knows how to face death. That morning I had gone for an early morning run while my husband and two-and-a-half-year-old son were still sleeping. The previous night I had been sleepless with fear and worry.
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Start your review of Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas Write a review Shelves: 21st-century , ancient-history , religion , non-fiction Long ago but not so far way I bought this book for my father, who was interested in reading the Gospel of Thomas. I had read an apocryphal Gospel one day while a student, happily nosing around in the reference section - it related how once when Jesus was a boy he was out playing in the street when some bigger boys came along, stamped on his mud pie and laughed at him.
Later their parents went round to Joseph and Mary and Long ago but not so far way I bought this book for my father, who was interested in reading the Gospel of Thomas. Joseph and Mary gave Jesus a good talking to, after which he raised the boys from the dead and restored them to life. Pagels frames the story of the quashing of spiritual interpretations of the meaning of the ministry of Jesus view spoiler [I am picking my words with as much care as I can after a mere couple of glasses of an indifferent white wine, I know what Rabelais would advise me to do in this case hide spoiler ] in favour of an Orthodox and Catholic church by the time of Constantine with her experience as a mother living through the death of a son, attending church first in crisis, later with her daughter for a Christmas service.
I felt this placed a discussion of religious matters in its proper context: the experience of life, rawness and loss, the openness to community, a sense of loss and a sense of the need for metaphysical meaning.
To do this Pagels assumes that the Gospel of John was written in response to the Gospel of Thomas, my concern here was that she advances no discussion of the possible date of composition for either, but at a pinch, reading, one can assume that the first was written, if not in response to the Gospel we can read at the end of this book ,then in general terms to beliefs that the author of John did not approve of view spoiler [ all of the Gospels are pseudonymous, nobody knows who actually wrote them.
On the one hand there were those who accepted what they were taught, on the other those who took this as a starting point to seek for themselves after truth. Or again that there are two types of conversion experience Pagel cites Heracleon who describes the first group as perceiving God as a strict, limited, but well-meaning master and father, who has decreed the death penalty for every one of his children who sins and yet loves them and grieves when they perish.
The alternative, for Heracleon, and I suspect for Pagels and for that matter Karen Armstrong is a conception of God as spiritual nourishment pp The story she tells in her book is that the first won out over the second. Luckily for us in the s, an Egyptian uncovered a stash of writings deemed heretical by Athanasius - repeatedly bishop of Alexandria view spoiler [ apparently he was a controversial figure even in his own lifetime and was deposed and reinstated as Bishop as other people pack away and bring out their Christmas decorations hide spoiler ] in the late fourth century and buried for safe keeping by Nag Hammadi.
One of those texts was the Gospel of Thomas. This reads as a stripped down version of the Gospel of Mark. It has no stories, only sayings attributed to Jesus, most of which seem in comparison to the conventional Gospels very familiar. Some are not familiar but similar. A few are a little bit different. With each subsequent book I read on faith, on the early Church, I imagine that I am a little like an exploratory spacecraft sent into orbit around a planet to build up velocity so I can fling myself sling-shot style further out in search of understanding.
In orbit one rotates round and round the same material, but sees it from a new angle with each approach. Slowly I learn the oddness of what had been taught to me in school as plain and uncontroversial.
Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas
Add to Cart About Beyond Belief In Beyond Belief, renowned religion scholar Elaine Pagels continues her groundbreaking examination of the earliest Christian texts, arguing for an ongoing assessment of faith and a questioning of religious orthodoxy. This bold new book explores how Christianity began by tracing its earliest texts, including the secret Gospel of Thomas, rediscovered in Egypt in The astonishing discovery of the Gospel of Thomas, along with more than fifty other early Christian texts unknown since antiquity, offers startling clues. 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. Drawing on new scholarship—her own, and that of an international group of scholars—that has come to light since the publication in of The Gnostic Gospels, Pagels shows that what matters about Christianity involves much more than any one set of beliefs.
Start your review of Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas Write a review Shelves: 21st-century , ancient-history , religion , non-fiction Long ago but not so far way I bought this book for my father, who was interested in reading the Gospel of Thomas. I had read an apocryphal Gospel one day while a student, happily nosing around in the reference section - it related how once when Jesus was a boy he was out playing in the street when some bigger boys came along, stamped on his mud pie and laughed at him. Later their parents went round to Joseph and Mary and Long ago but not so far way I bought this book for my father, who was interested in reading the Gospel of Thomas. Joseph and Mary gave Jesus a good talking to, after which he raised the boys from the dead and restored them to life.
She found it to be "the most spiritual of the four gospels". She started to learn Greek when she entered college, and read the Gospels in their original language, which proved to be a new experience  She graduated from Stanford University , earning a B. She headed its Department of Religion from until she moved to Princeton in Modern Library named it one of the best books of the twentieth century. The programme triggered a national furore, and marked a significant moment in the changes that religious broadcasting was already undergoing at that time. In , Pagels joined Princeton University as a professor of early Christian history.