Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. Elaine Pagels. Reviewed by Frank Thomas Smith. In The Gnostic Gospels, reviewed in Number 2 of Southern Cross Review. It’s clear from reading this early work by Elaine Pagels why she has become In Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, Pagels traces the interpretation of Genesis In this provocative masterpiece of historical scholarship Elaine Pagels re-creates the controversies that racked Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, Part 36, Page

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Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

Then, her conclusion is boiled down into one fairly simple point, which she immediately says might not be the reason that this morality has persisted for over years, this is her best educated thought on the subject. Pagels at the end of her work notes that “In the present book, I set out to see how Christians have interpreted the creation accounts of Genesis.

Jun 04, Taylor Storey rated it really liked sepent. In the first couple of centuries A. May 11, Joy rated it liked it Shelves: Pagels claims that because of their defiant attitude toward the Roman social and political order, these Christians read the first three chapters of Genesis as a charter of liberty for all humans: Mar 11, Shaun rated it it was amazing.

But even this picture of consensus is given an additional twist, apart James Calendar of the Abd Year Order today! Christianity has done little in the area of gender equality and, in fact, has been a barrier for women to overcome. That being said, this book nails the topic I think is most important to the way I and many others are living life whether you know it or not: Her findings were published in the bestselling book, The Gnostic Gospels, an analysis of 52 early Christian manuscripts that were unearthed in Egypt.

And that the general Christian public remains as ignorant of the deception as did their fifth century brethren. May 13, Dan rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Pagels in her attempt to examine the history of an idea, that of original sin, does not do a thorough enough synchronic and diachronic analysis; that is, she does not examine the argument at each stage while also showing how the very terms of the argument changed over the course of the debate.


The East Germans who have flocked to West Germany headed for the prostitutes and porn shops; one of the first acts of revolutionary Romania was to legalize abortion. It was wrapped up in beliefs about the immanent end of the world and a single all-powerful God.

Is human nature mostly good or mostly bad? He argued that all humankind was fallen and that human will was incorrigibly corrupt. A dry read, but a lot of interesting insights. View all 4 comments.

ADAM, EVE, AND THE SERPENT by Elaine Pagels | Kirkus Reviews

By the beginning of the fifth century, Augustine had labeled pagles sexual desire not for the purpose of procreation as a proof of — and penalty for — universal original sin, a concept that would have baffled most of his Christian predecessors, as well as his pagan and Leaine contemporaries. Freedom from the law is neither for Paul nor for the early church an escape into a self-creating autonomy, as Pagels thinks.

This became the default setting of those of us in the west, christian or not. Both Pagel’s interpretation and prose are compelling and I cannot recommend her or this book highly enough. Having owned it for so long, I’ve forgotten why I originally bought it and there are no serpetn jacket blurbs to help me know what I thought it was about even the ‘Sex and Politics Rituals such as baptism and the eucharist they viewed as preliminaries.

If this area of study was more appealing, I would have enjoyed this work more. Jun 02, Rebecca rated it really liked it. Are suffering and death a part of nature or were they introduced with the Fall?

Many Christians as well as pagans, he noted regretfully, responded only to fear. Return to Book Page. Vintage Books- Religion – pages. Death was no longer natural to man as an animal but was a punishment visited on man for his sin. But what others see as a danger and an aberration Pagels sees as the essence of the Gospel. Freedom is better than determinism either by natural forces or political tyranny; but it is easily misused.


THe focus seprent the articles is how the interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis the two creation stories evolved in early Christianity and how this interpretation exemplified larger trends in the evolution of Christian thought as it moved from a persecuted sect to state religion.

As time went on, the membership of the Christian sect grew. Pagels draws the term autexousia seemingly at random from an unspecified text in Clement p. During the course of her investigations, Pagels became fascinated with the extraordinary influence this tale has had on western culture. The Audacity of the State.

We are experiencing technical difficulties. Yet, in the late fourth and fifth centuries, this message began to change. The church fathers who identified with Augustine were Jerome, Ambrose and Pope Siricius of Rome who was the one who decided who was a heretic and who wasn’t.

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Even non-Christians live in a culture indelibly adm by these interpretations. This is a history one should understand before committing to the creed that derives from it. By the beginning of the fifth century those who still held to such archaic traditions were condemned as heretics. The emphasis was not on any kind of ‘original sin’ until Augustine.