Jun 15, Frank Kermode reviews book Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas by Elaine Pagels; drawing (M). A review of Elaine Pagel’s book. Beyond Belief, published in by Random House, is a sort of sequel to The Secret Gospels, in that it incorporates the new. Jun 24, One person’s hagiography is another’s heresy, observes biblical scholar Pagels, though that hasn’t stopped generations of Christians from.

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Athanasius of Alexandria was one of the most determined clerics in Christian history, but it had taken him a long time to get his own opinions established as the official doctrine of the Catholic Church. It offers rewards to any reader concerned with the promise and power of faith, and the hunger for belif discovery. More than the Gospel of Thomas is covered here.

Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas

Lists with This Book. I’m still not sure if he ever read it. However, both John and Thomas say something different, the latter very specifically: Retrieved 19 May Though the Gospel of Thomas has a few truly awesome quotables, most of bbeyond is just a strange collection of disparate ideas, and reads more like annotations someone scribbled in their notebook while reading one of the four canonically approved Gospel accounts.

Nov 03, Milt rated it did eoaine like it. How can the Church maintain its traditions without suppressing the imaginative involvement of creative individuals?

BEYOND BELIEF by Elaine Pagels | Kirkus Reviews

It is bflief plain that there was a lot to be gained in believing that each was written by somebody who was personally acquainted with Jesus and that this is in fact fairly unlikely hide spoiler ] as evidenced by John’s presentation of “doubting” Thomas. This was a rewarding read consisting of a combination of the author’s scholarly analysis of canonical, Gnostic, and other early Christian writings and her own personal spiritual and life experiences.

A prime example is the label of heresy attached to the Gospel of Thomas, and its subsequent suppression. I recommend keeping elaaine far away from this book as possible if one wants to study early Christian history. One of those gospels, the Gospel Of Thomas, is Pagels emphasis here. But it had been a close run thing and Athanasius would probably not have won at all if it had not been for the intervention of the Emperor Constantine, who wanted a united Eliane Church to act as a powerful cement for his far-flung empire.


The Nag Hammadi texts show modern scholars the diverse points of view that were present in early Christianity and that were excluded from pagdls and branded “heresy”; they suggest the historical reasons e.

While the gospel of John on the other hand, mentions people are in darkness, and turn from the light, page,s find the truth and only Jesus reveals the truth to the elect.

For these reasons beyind book is actually an interesting read but I can’t give it a high rating because I find it fanciful to say the least. However, those interested in exploring various aspects of spiritualty and perceptions of Jesus would probably find it interesting.

She gives Constantine a pass, without noting the real role he played, the fact that as he lay dying he was baptized by an Arian bishop and not an orthodox bishop, and that the shields of his soldiers during THE pivotal battle to become Emperor may have borne the Cross belie one side but ALSO bore the symbol of the Sun god on the other as he was hedging his bets.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Mar 25, jcg rated it really liked it.

These texts had been hidden when they had been ordered to be destroyed. The Gospel of Thomas is one among many others that didn’t make the cut and we wouldn’t know of it today except that it was hidden for years with other gnostic gospels at Nag Hammadi.

Elaine Pagels

Mar 03, Sean Patrick Brennan rated it it was amazing. The only things I didn’t like about this book were the subtitle and the attached Gospel of Thomas itself.


Some are not familiar but similar. Mostly, the book focuses on how his teachings were repressed in favor of John in the creating of the canon of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The case of Jesus: Yet most of the content here seems familiar, like I’ve already read most of this before, presumably in her other books. A fascinating read that is ‘healing, good sense, and gives permiss After reading Picoult’s Change of Heart, I was given this book as a Mom’s Day gift.

In one of his commentaries on John, Origen — a church pages, c.

Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels

This book was used as a study book for a Tuesday morning discussion group. I think her book beleif the Gnostic Gospels pagwls general is intelligent and accessible yet this particular work though I stand by my 5 star rating is, at times, redundant. Instead, she takes this and, to a lesser extent, other extra-canonical gospels to represent the actual diversity of early Christian belief and practice, a diversity suppressed by the affiliation of one elainee of the movement with the Powers and Principalities of Rome.

Jesus said, “If they say to you, ‘Where did you come from? Thus they encourage those who endeavor, in Jesus words, to “seek, and you shall find. Pagels seems to equate the acceptance of Christ’s divinity with a bwyond of mysticism. The rest mentioned previously is the gilding on the frame; the meat of this book is the incisive examination of the winners the Orthodoxy and the losers the Gnostics.

When her infant son was diagnosed Pagels, a writer and thinker on religion and history, winner of the National Book Award for The Gnostic Gospelsreflects on what matters most about spiritual and religious exploration in the 21st century.