Elaine Pagels, née Hiesey (born February 13, 1943), is an American historian of religion. She is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University. Pagels has conducted extensive research into early Christianity and Gnosticism.
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Elaine Pagels, née Hiesey (born February 13, 1943), is an American historian of religion. She is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University. Pagels has conducted extensive research into to the lead Christianity and Gnosticism.
Her best-selling book The Gnostic Gospels (1979) examines the divisions in the to the front Christian church, and the habit that women have been viewed throughout Jewish archives and Christian history. Modern Library named it as one of the 100 best books of the twentieth century.
Elaine Pagels's Quotes
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I got to thinking about the Book of Revelation that was written by a Jewish prophet who was also a follower of Jesus who hated the Roman Empire. I realized that the Book of Revelation could be a way to reflect on the issue of religion's relationship to politics.
Orthodox theologians insisted that the rest of humankind were only transitory creatures, lost in sin - a view that would support what would become their dominant teaching about salvation, offered only through Christ, and, in particular, through the church they claimed to represent.
The Gospel of Judas really has been a surprise in many ways. For one thing, there's no other text that suggests that Judas Iscariot was an intimate, trusted disciple, one to whom Jesus revealed the secrets of the kingdom, and that conversely, the other disciples were misunderstanding what he meant by the gospel.
The Gospel of Thomas claims to be the secret sayings of Jesus. There are 114 of them, so it says many things, but the central message is that Jesus is the one who reveals the divine light that brought the universe into being, and that you and I also reveal that light.
Throughout the ages, Christians have adapted John of Patmos's visions to changing times, reading their own social, political and religious conflicts into the cosmic war he so powerfully evokes. Yet his Book of Revelation appeals not only to fear and desires for vengeance but also to hope.
There are some kinds of Christianity that insist you have to believe literally in doctrine. The Gnostic gospels open out the complexity and multiplicity of approaches to this. If you think the story of the virgin birth is mistranslated, for instance, it doesn't mean you have to throw out the whole thing.