Nov 212017
 

by Elaine Pagels

The Gnostic Gospels
by Elaine Pagels

I read this book about thirty years ago, and it opened my eyes to many things about the development of the early Christian church. The author is a religious scholar and historian and studied the Nag Hammadi scrolls. These scrolls were found in 1945 in Egypt, and brought forth new information about disagreements within the early Christian movement.

This book not only discusses the information found within the documents, but also places it in context with other Christian theological ideas of that era. There wasn’t just one view of Jesus and his life and death. Theories abounded in those years, many of which were denounced by an orthodox view that became more powerful. Eventually, any ideas that didn’t agree with the orthodox view were condemned and destroyed. Christians called each other “heretic” if they held divergent concepts.

The author examines the different areas of accepted Christian theology using the scrolls and the writings of the orthodox theologians. Addressing such issues as: the resurrection, God as Mother/Father, the persecution of Christians, how to know God, and more, this book casts new light on how these areas were perceived from many different viewpoints.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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