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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How did Christianity change from a movement proclaiming freedom and liberation to a movement announcing human enslavement to sin?

This book looks at some of the ideas at the core of Christian belief and practice and helps to sort out for the reader how they came to be as they are stated pagela. The protestant reformers, particularly John Calvin, continued and exacerbated Augustine’s misinterpretation.

Most of the time is spent discussing Augustine, his views, those who opposed him, and why his views eventually dominated.

She started researching early Christian thought because she wanted to find the “true Christianity. This was done at conception and that all those people who were conceived through the normal process were somehow infected. Ekaine Christians as well as pagans, he noted regretfully, responded only to fear. Looking for More Great Reads?

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Adam, Eve, and the Serpent by Elaine Pagels | : Books

Sex and Politics in Early Christianity. It was also becoming clear that while the vision of Revelation might some day become real, it wasn’t going to happen in the immediately foreseeable future. Be the first to ask a question about Adam, Eve, and the Serpent.


But the popular acceptance of these dogmas was not brought about by abstruse argument or even by the exercise of church authority. Both avam and political experience led them to establish a system of government that restricted the opportunity for one person, group, or region to dominate others. It is curious that Pagels does not mention this passage from Augustine.

Freedom from the law is neither for Paul nor for the early church an escape into a self-creating autonomy, as Pagels thinks.

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

Christianity has done little in the area of gender equality and, in fact, has been a barrier for women to overcome. Since he did serpentt, his descendants were doomed in perpetuity to sin as well. However, she simply assumes these contradictions, and does not bother to prove they really exist in the Pauline Epistles.

Both antiquity and modern writers such as Henry Chadwick in The Early Church have recognized that asceticism, including virginity, can be a disguise for self-will. The book appears to be largely made of revised articles Pagels had published elsewhere, but the flow is seamless enough and the concepts evr so much as to allow that to go unnoticed unless one reads the footnotes.

See all 55 reviews. As an outlawed organization with different perspectives serpeht all aspects of doctrine, the church was a recruiting ground for martyrs who went out of their way to achieve martyrdom other members did not and successfully hid their paels, at least officially.

In those opening chapters the first christians saw God blessing humanity with the freedom to self-govern.

Augustine manipulated the Genesis text to say that we are and the Catholic Church adopted his interpretation as a means of controlling people. But the truth is just the opposite. This book explores the history and theology of Christianity from it’s inception to the time of Augustine.


Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: The Touchstone Archives

And also some who were considered heretics. Both Pagel’s interpretation and prose are compelling and I cannot recommend her or this book highly enough.

What happened had profound implications for Christianity and Western culture and in this book Elaine Pagels does a fantastic job of answering those questions. Not at all dissimilar to the Bible’s historical relationship to slavery.

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity

He argued that all humankind was fallen and that human will was incorrigibly corrupt. A dry read, but a lot of interesting insights. There are undoubtedly differences of emphasis among the various Epistles attributed to Paul. Write a customer review. Pagels work is hard to define much less analyze and provide a rating of.

It only took about years to go from Jesus delivering the Beatitudes to the birth of Augustine who argued successfully that physical violence is an entirely appropriate response to heresy.

Pagels Limited preview – Stay in Touch Sign up. It is not clear that he, personally, believed, but he had considerable political and practical reasons and ege for his policy.