It's Raining Books Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Interviews | September 2, 2014

Jill Owens: IMG David Mitchell: The Powells.com Interview



David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
  1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677

spacer

This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.


Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas

by

Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

CHAPTER ONE

FROM THE FEAST OF AGAPE TO THE NICENE CREED

On a bright Sunday morning in February, shivering in a T-shirt and running shorts, I stepped into the vaulted stone vestibule of the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York to catch my breath and warm up. Since I had not been in church for a long time, I was startled by my response to the worship in progress-—the soaring harmonies of the choir singing with the congregation; and the priest, a woman in bright gold and white vestments, proclaiming the prayers in a clear, resonant voice. As I stood watching, a thought came to me: Here is a family that knows how to face death.

That morning I had gone for an early morning run while my husband and two-and-a-half-year-old son were still sleeping. The previous night I had been sleepless with fear and worry. Two days before, a team of doctors at Babies Hospital, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, had performed a routine checkup on our son, Mark, a year and six months after his successful open-heart surgery. The physicians were shocked to find evidence of a rare lung disease. Disbelieving the results, they tested further for six hours before they finally called us in to say that Mark had pulmonary hypertension, an invariably fatal disease, they told us. How much time? I asked. We don't know; a few months, a few years.

The following day, a team of doctors urged us to authorize a lung biopsy, a painful and invasive procedure. How could this help? It couldn't, they explained; but the procedure would let them see how far the disease had progressed. Mark was already exhausted by the previous day's ordeal. Holding him, I felt that if more masked strangers poked needles into him in an operating room, he might lose heart-—literally——and die. We refused the biopsy, gathered Mark's blanket, clothes, and Peter Rabbit, and carried him home.

Standing in the back of that church, I recognized, uncomfortably, that I needed to be there. Here was a place to weep without imposing tears upon a child; and here was a heterogeneous community that had gathered to sing, to celebrate, to acknowledge common needs, and to deal with what we cannot control or imagine. Yet the celebration in progress spoke of hope; perhaps that is what made the presence of death bearable. Before that time, I could only ward off what I had heard and felt the day before.

I returned often to that church, not looking for faith but because, in the presence of that worship and the people gathered there-—and in a smaller group that met on weekdays in the church basement for mutual encouragement-—my defenses fell away, exposing storms of grief and hope. In that church I gathered new energy, and resolved, over and over, to face whatever awaited us as constructively as possible for Mark, and for the rest of us.

When people would say to me, Your faith must be of great help to you, I would wonder, What do they mean? What is faith? Certainly not simple assent to the set of beliefs that worshipers in that church recited every week (We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth . . .)-—traditional statements that sounded strange to me, like barely intelligible signals from the surface, heard at the bottom of the sea. Such statements seemed to me then to have little to do with whatever transactions we were making with one another,

Review:

"A thoughtful and rewarding essay, as we've come to expect from Pagels, and sure to arouse fundamentalist ire." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Even those who possess only a nodding acquaintance with Gnostic writings will find themselves stimulated by her arguments and perhaps transformed by her conclusions. A fresh and exciting work of theology and spirituality." Ilene Cooper, Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"[L]ucid...a spiritual as well as an intellectual exercise....[Pagels] seems to rejoice that in the earliest years of Christianity there existed these strange, dissident doctrines." Frank Kermode, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"With the winning combination of sound scholarship, deep insight and crystal-clear prose style that distinguishes all her work, Pagels portrays the great variety of beliefs, teachings and practices that were found among the earliest Christians." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Pagels has accomplished a very rare thing, an examination of early religious writings that is a good read, accessible, and at times even dramatic and poignant." The Columbus Dispatch

Review:

"Brilliantly lucid, elegantly written...[Pagels'] book is so readable you can't put it down." Providence Journal-Bulletin

Review:

"Just as topical today as it was nearly two thousand years ago....Pagels is great at pulling together the details that allow us to understand not only what people were arguing about but why." San Jose Mercury News

Review:

"As relevant as today's front page." The Washington Post Book World

Review:

"This luminous and accessible history of early Christian thought offers profound and crucial insights on the nature of God, revelation, and what we mean by religious truth....A source of inspiration and hope." Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God

Review:

"A book many readers will treasure for its healing, its good sense, and its permission to think, imagine, and yet believe." Karen King, author of What Is Gnosticism?

Review:

"It is as generous as it is rare that a first-rate scholar invites the reader to see and sense how her scholarship and her religious quest became intertwined. Elaine Pagels calls for a generosity of mind as she takes us into the world of those early Christian texts that were left behind but now are with us. Her very tone breathes intellectual and spiritual generosity too rare in academe." Krister Stendahl, author of The Scrolls and the New Testament

Review:

"[A] wonderful little book....A small book with a fair amount of scholarly apparatus and tone but without overly academic language, it is highly recommended..." Library Journal

Synopsis:

The award-winning author of The Gnostic Gospels provides an intriguing analysis of the early origins of Christianity, based on the teachings from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, exploring the faith of the early Christians and offering revealing new interpretations of such topics as the creation of Eve, the virigin birth, and the nature of our relationship with God. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 150,000 first printing.

Synopsis:

[This book] explores how Christianity began by tracing its earliest texts, including the secret Gospel of Thomas, rediscovered in Egypt in 1945 ... [The author explores] historical and archeological sources to investigate what Jesus and his teachings meant to his followers before the invention of Christianity as we know it ... [She] compares...

About the Author

Elaine Pagels earned a B.A. in history and an M.A. in classical studies at Stanford, and holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University. She is the author of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent; The Origin of Satan; and The Gnostic Gospels, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award. She is currently the Harrington Spear Paine Professor Religion at Princeton University, and she lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with her husband and children.

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 From the Feast of Agape to the Nicene Creed 3
Ch. 2 Gospels in Conflict: John and Thomas 30
Ch. 3 God's Word or Human Words? 74
Ch. 4 The Canon of Truth and the Triumph of John 114
Ch. 5 Constantine and the Catholic Church 143
Acknowledgments 187
Notes 191
Index 227

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400079087
Subtitle:
The Secret Gospel of Thomas
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Author:
Elaine Pagels
Author:
Pagels, Elaine
Subject:
Bible - Criticism Interpretation - New Testament
Subject:
Bible - Controversial Speculation
Subject:
Bible - Apocrypha
Subject:
Christianity - General
Subject:
Christianity - Literature
Subject:
Religion-Bible - Apocrypha
Subject:
Religion-Bible - CriticismInterpretation - New Testament
Subject:
Religion-Bible - Controversial Speculation
Subject:
Religion-Bible - Criticism Interpretation - New Testament
Subject:
Biblical Studies - Apocrypha
Subject:
Religion : Biblical Criticism & Interpretation - New Testame
Subject:
Religion : Biblical Studies - Apocrypha
Subject:
Religion : Biblical Studies - Controversial Speculation
Subject:
Religion : Biblical Studies - Bible Study Guides
Subject:
Religion : Biblical Studies - Wisdom Literature
Subject:
Religion : Biblical Commentary - New Testament
Subject:
Religion : Christianity - General
Subject:
Biblical Criticism & Interpretation - New Testament
Subject:
Biblical Studies - Controversial Speculation
Subject:
Christianity
Subject:
Christianity-Apocrypha
Subject:
Christianity-Biblical Criticism
Subject:
Christianity-Gnostic and Apocrypha
Subject:
Metaphysics-Esoteric Christianity
Subject:
Religion Western-Gnosticism
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20040504
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
272

Related Subjects

Religion » Christianity » Apocrypha
Religion » Christianity » Bibles » Reference
Religion » Christianity » Biblical Reference » Criticism
Religion » Christianity » General

Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 272 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9781400079087 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A thoughtful and rewarding essay, as we've come to expect from Pagels, and sure to arouse fundamentalist ire."
"Review" by , "Even those who possess only a nodding acquaintance with Gnostic writings will find themselves stimulated by her arguments and perhaps transformed by her conclusions. A fresh and exciting work of theology and spirituality."
"Review" by , "[L]ucid...a spiritual as well as an intellectual exercise....[Pagels] seems to rejoice that in the earliest years of Christianity there existed these strange, dissident doctrines."
"Review" by , "With the winning combination of sound scholarship, deep insight and crystal-clear prose style that distinguishes all her work, Pagels portrays the great variety of beliefs, teachings and practices that were found among the earliest Christians."
"Review" by , "Pagels has accomplished a very rare thing, an examination of early religious writings that is a good read, accessible, and at times even dramatic and poignant."
"Review" by , "Brilliantly lucid, elegantly written...[Pagels'] book is so readable you can't put it down."
"Review" by , "Just as topical today as it was nearly two thousand years ago....Pagels is great at pulling together the details that allow us to understand not only what people were arguing about but why."
"Review" by , "As relevant as today's front page."
"Review" by , "This luminous and accessible history of early Christian thought offers profound and crucial insights on the nature of God, revelation, and what we mean by religious truth....A source of inspiration and hope."
"Review" by , "A book many readers will treasure for its healing, its good sense, and its permission to think, imagine, and yet believe."
"Review" by , "It is as generous as it is rare that a first-rate scholar invites the reader to see and sense how her scholarship and her religious quest became intertwined. Elaine Pagels calls for a generosity of mind as she takes us into the world of those early Christian texts that were left behind but now are with us. Her very tone breathes intellectual and spiritual generosity too rare in academe."
"Review" by , "[A] wonderful little book....A small book with a fair amount of scholarly apparatus and tone but without overly academic language, it is highly recommended..."
"Synopsis" by , The award-winning author of The Gnostic Gospels provides an intriguing analysis of the early origins of Christianity, based on the teachings from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, exploring the faith of the early Christians and offering revealing new interpretations of such topics as the creation of Eve, the virigin birth, and the nature of our relationship with God. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 150,000 first printing.
"Synopsis" by , [This book] explores how Christianity began by tracing its earliest texts, including the secret Gospel of Thomas, rediscovered in Egypt in 1945 ... [The author explores] historical and archeological sources to investigate what Jesus and his teachings meant to his followers before the invention of Christianity as we know it ... [She] compares...
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.