Why Religion?: A Personal Story
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Ecco / 2018 / Hardcover
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Why Religion?: A Personal Story

Ecco / 2018 / Hardcover

In Stock
Stock No: WW368546


Product Description

From the National Book Award-winning author of The Gnostic Gospels comes a raw and deeply personal exploration of faith. With the tragic deaths of her young son and husband, Pagels faced unimaginable loss. Here she draws on the perspectives of neurologists, anthropologists, and historians in a provocative look at the role religion plays in suffering. 256 pages, hardcover from Ecco.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Ecco
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 9 X 6 X 0.9 (inches)
ISBN-13: 9780062368539

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    4.5 Stars Out Of 5 288 Reviews Video

Publisher's Description

New York Times bestseller

One of PW’s Best Books of the Year

One of Amazon’s Best Books of the Month

Why is religion still around in the twenty-first century? Why do so many still believe? And how do various traditions still shape the way people experience everything from sexuality to politics, whether they are religious or not? In Why Religion? Elaine Pagels looks to her own life to help address these questions.

These questions took on a new urgency for Pagels when dealing with unimaginable loss—the death of her young son, followed a year later by the shocking loss of her husband. Here she interweaves a personal story with the work that she loves, illuminating how, for better and worse, religious traditions have shaped how we understand ourselves; how we relate to one another; and, most importantly, how to get through the most difficult challenges we face.

Drawing upon the perspectives of neurologists, anthropologists, and historians, as well as her own research, Pagels opens unexpected ways of understanding persistent religious aspects of our culture.

A provocative and deeply moving account from one of the most compelling religious thinkers at work today, Why Religion? explores the spiritual dimension of human experience.

Author Bio

Elaine Pagels is a preeminent academic whose impressive scholarship has earned her international respect. The Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University, Pagels was awarded the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Fellowships in three consecutive years. She is the author of The Gnostic Gospels, Beyond Belief, and Revelations.

Editorial Reviews

“Searing and wise. . . . tender and wrenching, sketched with exquisite detail.”
“A wide-ranging work of cultural reflection and a brisk tour of the most exciting religion scholarship over the past 40 years. . . . Pagels is as fearless as she is candid.”
“In this compelling, honest, and learned memoir, Elaine Pagels, takes us inside her own life in a stirring and illuminating effort to explain religion’s enduring appeal. This is a powerful book about the most powerful of forces.”
“With characteristic intelligence and wisdom, Elaine Pagels lays bare her own life-shattering losses, offering up the possibility that suffering might afford each of us membership in a profoundly connected human—and cosmic—community. Why Religion? is a revelation and an immense consolation.”
“Elaine Pagels has written an extraordinary memoir of loss, spiritual struggle, illumination and insight—emotionally heartrending, intellectually exciting, a model of what a memoir should be.”
“Pagels has done it again, but more personally. The scholar’s tale of loving, grieving, enduring, and searching will grab readers at the outset and never let them go. A memorable story unforgettably told.”
“Elaine Pagels’ study of new gospels and revelations challenged our understanding of ancient Christianity.  In this mesmerizing memoir, we see how she was also grappling with devastating loss and struggling within to find “the light that never fails,” even in deepest anger and guilt, grief and desolation. A must read.”
“A magnificent, searing, soul-affirming memoir. Pagels shines the bright light of her brilliant mind on the most essential of human dilemmas: how do we go on in the face of immeasurable loss?  I came away from this book transformed.”
“In clear, unsparing prose, Pagels enmeshes personal mourning, scholarly rigor, and one of the smartest modern testaments to the consolations as well as the inadequacies of spirituality. A small revolution in memoir to match the one she led in theology decades ago.”
“Looks back on a rich life of learning, writing, loving, seeking truth and, inevitably, suffering. . . achingly beautiful . . . Readers of all faiths and none can learn from her brilliance and courage.”
“You don’t have to be religious yourself to enjoy her thought-provoking work.”
“Beautiful . . . Pagels treats readers to the examined life behind her intellectual feats with extreme grace and depth. This luminous memoir strips religion to its elementary particles: love, suffering, and mystery.”
“Engaging both head and heart . . . this brilliant book . . . stimulates intellectual curiosity and thought while giving equal weight to Pagel’s emotional life.”
“Both fascinating and heart-wrenching, Pagels’s highly personal account presents behind-the-scenes glimpses into the inner workings of a brilliant scholar’s mind.”
“A raw and often moving autobiography . . . The story of her grief . . . will touch all. A meaningful tale of pain and hope on the edges of faith.”
“Pagels unpacks the relevance of religion in the twenty-first century—how religious traditions continue to shape the way we understand ourselves and the world and provide a framework for facing our most painful losses.”

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