Elaine Pagels - Quotes

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The Gospel of Judas really has been a surprise in many ways. For one thing, there's no other text that suggests that Judas Iscariot was an intimate, trusted disciple, one to whom Jesus revealed the secrets of the kingdom, and that conversely, the other disciples were misunderstanding what he meant by the gospel. ---->>>

I got to thinking about the Book of Revelation that was written by a Jewish prophet who was also a follower of Jesus who hated the Roman Empire. I realized that the Book of Revelation could be a way to reflect on the issue of religion's relationship to politics.

I got to thinking about the Book of Revelation that was written by a Jewish prophet who was also a follower of Jesus who hated the Roman Empire. I realized that the Book of Revelation could be a way to reflect on the issue of religion's relationship to politics.

The Book of Revelation is the strangest book in the Bible, and the most controversial. Instead of stories and moral teaching, it offers only visions - dreams and nightmares, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, earthquakes, plagues and war. ---->>>

There are some kinds of Christianity that insist you have to believe literally in doctrine. The Gnostic gospels open out the complexity and multiplicity of approaches to this. If you think the story of the virgin birth is mistranslated, for instance, it doesn't mean you have to throw out the whole thing. ---->>>

Throughout the ages, Christians have adapted John of Patmos's visions to changing times, reading their own social, political and religious conflicts into the cosmic war he so powerfully evokes. Yet his Book of Revelation appeals not only to fear and desires for vengeance but also to hope.

Throughout the ages, Christians have adapted John of Patmos's visions to changing times, reading their own social, political and religious conflicts into the cosmic war he so powerfully evokes. Yet his Book of Revelation appeals not only to fear and desires for vengeance but also to hope.

The author of the Gospel of Judas wasn't against martyrdom, and he didn't ever insult the martyrs. He said it's one thing to die for God if you have to do that. But it's another thing to say that's what God wants, that this is a glorification of God. ---->>>

The Secret Revelation of John opens, again, in crisis. The disciple John, grieving Jesus' death, is walking toward the temple when he meets a Pharisee who mocks him for having been deceived by a false messiah. These taunts echoed John's own fear and doubt. ---->>>

People who are comfortable with very clear boundaries and group definitions don't like the instability and ambiguity of people who say they are more advanced Christians, or they don't have to do what the bishop says. ---->>>

The Antichrist is often identified with the second beast in the Book of Revelation that arises from the land, the beast that tries to make everyone worship the power of evil. ---->>>

The Gospel of Thomas claims to be the secret sayings of Jesus. There are 114 of them, so it says many things, but the central message is that Jesus is the one who reveals the divine light that brought the universe into being, and that you and I also reveal that light. ---->>>

What is clear is that the Gospel of Judas has joined the other spectacular discoveries that are exploding the myth of a monolithic Christianity and showing how diverse and fascinating the early Christian movement really was. ---->>>

What survived as orthodox Christianity did so by suppressing and forcibly eliminating a lot of other material. ---->>>

I realize that I cannot live without a spiritual dimension in my life. ---->>>

Really, I don't like to do any household chores. There was a time when I loved to cook, but that was when I wasn't writing books. ---->>>

The Book of Revelation is all about the conflict, the contest between the forces of Good and Evil. ---->>>

After Ann Godoff, who was editor-in-chief at Random House, left and went to Viking, I got to know Viking and the people there, and liked them very much. I also found a wonderful editor there, Wendy Wolf. It's a very congenial press. ---->>>

The Romans weren't trying to kill all the Jews, but they did destroy Jewish resistance to Roman rule. Jerusalem was turned into a Roman army camp, and it was a total devastation. ---->>>

I realized that conventional views of Christian faith that I'd heard when I was growing up were simply made up - and I realized that many parts of the story of the early Christian movement had been left out. ---->>>

Orthodox theologians insisted that the rest of humankind were only transitory creatures, lost in sin - a view that would support what would become their dominant teaching about salvation, offered only through Christ, and, in particular, through the church they claimed to represent. ---->>>

People who study the way religions develop have shown that if you have a charismatic teacher, and you don't have an institution develop around that teacher within about a generation to transmit succession within the group, the movement just dies.

People who study the way religions develop have shown that if you have a charismatic teacher, and you don't have an institution develop around that teacher within about a generation to transmit succession within the group, the movement just dies.

What's different about the Gospel of Thomas is that, instead of focusing entirely on who Jesus is and the wonderful works of Jesus, it focuses on how you and I can find the kingdom of God, or life in the presence of God. ---->>>

I am enormously susceptible to religious environments - the music, the liturgy and the prayers. ---->>>

The Gospel of Judas is a kind of protest literature. It's challenging leaders of the church. ---->>>

These ancient stories in religion speak to our desire. But they move us toward hope. ---->>>

Christianity becomes just a set of things you believe in. It's almost an intellectual kind of abstract issue. ---->>>

The Book of Revelation is such a dream landscape that you can plug any major conflict in it. ---->>>

We don't actually know if the person who wrote the Gospel of John had a written copy of Thomas because we don't know exactly when it was written. ---->>>

The sense of a spiritual dimension in life is absolutely important, and the religious communities are also important. The question of believing in a set of creedal statements is a lot less important, because I realize the Christian movement thrived then and can now on other elements of the tradition. ---->>>

About the gnostic writers themselves and the setting in which they lived we know little, although gnostic Christians were influential enough to be denounced at length. ---->>>

At the end of the day I'll go to a yoga class. I used to say that my work was my yoga, because it stretches everything, expands and challenges everything you know and understand and are. ---->>>

For nearly 2,000 years, most people assumed that the only sources of tradition about Jesus and his disciples were the four gospels in the New Testament. ---->>>

Fundamentalism does mean reading quite conservatively and literally, saying 'the Bible is the word of God and we have to follow it. What it says is this.' ---->>>

I had been taught that the separation between religion and politics happened in the Enlightenment. But there were people who tried to create a secular relationship to government 2,000 years ago, and those people were the Jews. ---->>>

I have sympathy for anyone who finds consolation anywhere we can. And many people do find it in religious tradition as it has been. I mean, I love much of that tradition. But somehow, that just didn't speak to me in the way that it does to some. ---->>>

I just have a sense that, you know, I'm curious about what is religion about, you know? Why do some of us still engage it? It's not because it's a set of old beliefs or old ideas. Or even, particularly, the view that this is the only true religion. Many of us no longer accept those views. ---->>>

I never thought I would write about the Book of Revelation. It's so dense; it's so complex and puzzling. But then I found I was thinking about a number of themes, one of which has to do with politics and religion. ---->>>

I study religion because I find it fascinating and problematic. But I struggle with the idea of what religion is, what being religious means. A lot of people assume that if you write about early Christianity, you must be some kind of Sunday-school teacher. ---->>>

Once you start to look at the gospels one by one, you realize that followers of Jesus were trying to understand what had happened after he was arrested and killed. They knew Judas had handed him over to the people who arrested him. ---->>>

So often, religion is identified in terms coined by Christianity as sets of belief. But I had the sense that it not only involves practice, but also emotion and levels of our experience that are almost precognitive. ---->>>

Startling as the Gospel of Judas sounds, it amplifies hints we have long read in the Gospels of Mark and John that Jesus knew and even instigated the events of his passion, seeing them as part of a divine plan. ---->>>

There is no evidence that the author of the Book of Revelation, John of Patmos, read anything that we think of as a New Testament book. I don't see any evidence that he knew what was in the Gospels, or the letters of Paul, which I don't think he would have liked at all. ---->>>

Unlike many deities of the ancient Near East, the God of Israel shared his power with no female divinity, nor was he the divine husband or lover of any. ---->>>

We use the word 'synoptic' to talk about Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and it really means 'seeing together,' because they all have a similar perspective. Matthew and Luke - whoever wrote those Gospels - used Mark as a focus and as a basic story. So all of them have a lot in common. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 02-13, 1943
Birthplace:
Die:
Occupation: Historian
Website:

Elaine Pagels, née Hiesey (born February 13, 1943), is an American religious historian who writes on the Gnostic Gospels. She is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University. Pagel has conducted extensive research into Early Christianity and Gnosticism. Her best-selling book The Gnostic Gospels (1979) examines the divisions in the early Christian church, and the way that women have been viewed throughout Jewish and Christian history (wikipedia)