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By Elaine Pagels - Gnostic Gospels (1st (first) edition) Hardcover – 27 Feb 1980

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Littlehampton Book Services Ltd; 1st edition (27 Feb 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0013CS37Q
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,858,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Nov 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a brief but informative introduction to the belief systems known as Gnosticism and their differences with Ecclesiastical Christianity. Until the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945 the few known Gnostic texts were mainly quotes in hostile polemics attacking Gnosticism. There was greater diversity in Christianity in the 1st and 2nd centuries than today claims Bart Ehrman in Lost Christianities. By 200 AD the proto-orthodox version of Ecclesiastical Christianity had triumphed and all other believers were persecuted and their literature destroyed.

Pagels quotes extensively from Irenaeus, Tertullian and to a lesser extent, Clement of Alexandria and Pope Clement. On the other side, she gives space to Valentinus and Marcion in addition to the unknown authors of Nag Hammadi texts like The Gospels of Mary and Philip, Apocryphon of John and Apocalypse of Peter. A major controversy was the interpretation of the Resurrection -- historical event or symbol? The Orthodox believed in a physical one whilst the Gnostics had various symbolic interpretations. This had significant implications for the development of these two streams of Christianity as a bodily Resurrection promoted a hierarchical institution whilst the symbolic promoted solitary pursuits.

Beliefs about the nature of God influence the structure of earthly authority.
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