The Gnostic Gospels By Elaine Pagels

12 posts / 0 new
Last post
Yossarian's picture
The Gnostic Gospels By Elaine Pagels

Has anyone read it? It’s a study of early Christianity and the Nag Hammadi texts. I thought it was interesting to see a mixing of eastern philosophy into early Christianity and the differing factions, how they hated each other, and the rise of the Roman Catholic Church.

Subscription Note: 

Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.

Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Reading it as you were

Reading it as you were writing!

Cognostic's picture
I thought it was interesting

I thought it was interesting that Jesus ate sperm, Mary or Judas was the chosen disciple depending on what gospel you read, That the Pauline Christians were making up stories, that Jesus killed his playmates, and so much more. I did not read here book, I read the Gnostic Gospels. Most are available on line.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Cog

@ Cog

I too have read nearly the gnostic gospels, I am re reading them in conjunction with Elaine's book. She writes very well and with rare clarity.

I am finding the differences in the books between codex interesting, also those recovered in Nag Hammadi and earlier greek fragments. Gives a very real feel for the 2nd and 3rd CE conflicts. Puts Irenaeus and Tertullian into a very straight context.

Also, thanks to Elaine am beginning to understand why Ehrlman is promulgating the "probable Jesus" . I do not agree, but I can appreciate his viewpoint.
The Book of Mary (what survives) is a case in point. The dialogue reads like an actual report of an incident, or, a play......I tried some of it out as a scene this afternoon...very real. Maybe the Gnosts used the texts like the FreeMasons use their blue book...something to act out in temple/church and then learn...it is a very effective form of learning.

Cognostic's picture
I'm actually convinced that a

I'm actually convinced that a lot of these gospels were plays prior to being written down. The oral tradition lends itself to that and so many people were illiterate that the play was one of the best ways to inform, sway, persuade people. So even when people got together for a reading. *early Christians / agnostics included* I really think they has something akin to a play.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Cog

@ Cog

And I thought it was just me with my background...but unlike the modern gospels* the gnostics really do seem to have been designed for "live reading" which would tie in with their habit of drawing lots for who conducts services in the various offices such as Bishop, Deacon and Priest.

Glad to see we agree, after all two geniuses can't be wrong, right?

*I find the modern synoptic gospels a very disjointed read with great chunks of missing information, designed to be read 'at' people instead of involving them. Symptomatic of the authoritative version of christianity espoused by the Pauline church in the 2nd and 3rd Century CE.

Cognostic's picture
I just like them because I

I just like them because I know the Church simply removed or did not consider them at the time even though there were popular Christian sects based on them. These books are no more or less authoritative than the books included in the official cannon based on any criteria set forth for the official cannon. Over half of today's King Jame Bible is fought with forgery and late additions. *Bart Erhman and Richard Carrier agree." The Bible we have is a work of FICTION.

Talyyn's picture
I will read them, seems to be

I will read them, seems to be interesting.

Cognostic's picture
PDF: https://static1
Cognostic's picture
Just finished the book. It's

Just finished the book. It's not so much about the Gnostic Gospels as it is about the politics and culture of early Gnosticism. Random quotes from Gnostic sources appear throughout her book to prove political points and social movements. The book points out the rise of Pauline Christianity to power and its opposition by the Gnostics. It's a worth while read but it is not as much about Gnostic texts as it is about early gnostics and their opposition to Pauline Christianity. It's worth a read.

XaurreauX's picture
I read and enjoyed the book

I read and enjoyed the book The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels and was discussing it earlier today at the 2019 American Atheists Convention in Cincinnati. I highly recommend it.

KagawaMark's picture
I too have read the book, and

I too have read the book, and I like Pagels as a writer. Highly intelligent and great style.

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.