The Gnostic Gospels   -     By: Elaine Pagels
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The Gnostic Gospels

Random House / 1989 / Paperback

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Product Description

In 1945 an Egyptian peasant unearthed what proved to be the Gnostic Gospels, the sacred books of one of the earliest Christian sects. This landmark study, a winner of both the National book Award and the National book Critics Circle Award, draws on those texts to illuminate the world of the first Christians and to examine the different ways in which both Gnostics and the orthodox constructed God, Christ, and the Church. Did Jesus literally rise from the dead? Was there only one God, and could He be both Father and Mother? Whose version of Christianity came down to us and why did it prevail? Brilliant, provacative, and stunning in its implications, The Gnostic Gospels is a radical yet accessible reconsideration of the origins of the Christian faith.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Random House
Publication Date: 1989
Dimensions: 8.03 X 5.19 X 0.66 (inches)
ISBN: 0679724532
ISBN-13: 9780679724537

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Publisher's Description

A provocative study of the gnostic gospels and the world of early Christianity as revealed through the Nag Hammadi texts.

Editorial Reviews

"The first major and eminently readable book on gnosticism benefiting from the discovery in 1945 of a collection of Gnostic Christian texts at Nag Hammadi in Egypt." --The New York Times Book Review

Product Reviews

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  1. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    October 31, 2007
    Carissa Fox
    I had to read this book for a class I was taking at a secular college. Even though Pagel is obviously secular, and she wrote it in an era of feminism, she does provide invaluable insight into how Gnostics viewed their own belief system. The use of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues as a justification for creating false gospels. She even suggests how a Gnostic could conceive the idea that what they spoke was from an actual apostle. However, she is very critical of orthodox Christianity, and promotes the modern idea that religion is used as an institution to control others. Despite the fact that orthodox teachers had very little power at all, and were considered irrational by the majority of Romans.
  2. 2 Stars Out Of 5
    November 2, 2006
    This is a landmark work which presents a good introduction to gnostic writings.However, Pagels is not reliable when she discusses Irenaeus and her interpretations of him and other church fathers should be taken with a grain of salt.
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