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The Book: Adam, Eve, and the Serpent-By: Elaine Pagels - Essay Example

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Within the deeply woven analysis of the creation and early history of the Christian religion, Elaine Pagels has unmasked centuries of ambiguous deceit. She tells the story of Christianity replacing the Roman traditions and in doing so unravels the real motivation for the…
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The Book: Adam, Eve, and the Serpent-By: Elaine Pagels

The texts that were discovered near Nag Hammadi recount the early movement towards self-enlightenment. The story of Adam and Eve is central to the modern interpretation of the bible and the lost scrolls point to the fallacy of the bibles historical accuracy. These early divergent paths paved the way for the twin philosophies of "history with a moral" and "myth with meaning" (64).
Examining the biblical account of the Garden of Eden can yield decidedly different meaning depending on which viewpoint is taken. Pagels states that when interpreted through the Secret Book of John, Eve is the primal intelligence that wakes Adams inner self and illuminates his soul. Yet, Christians viewed the story as a moral teaching, which granted its followers moral freedom. The freedom was the escape from free will and into a life where the decisions were preordained. These decisions are most apparent in matters of sexuality, greed, and over consumption. Adam had been ordained with the freedom of choice and according to Augustine this freedom was the root of all sin. The greater freedom would be the freedom from temptation that is gained by following the strict morality of the early church.
"Adam, Eve, and the Serpent" relates the contradictory nature of the Genesis story. On the one hand, man is given free will by a compassionate God, yet is born with an original sin that is passed on through generations through no act of their own. These contradictions of interpretation continue to shape our concept of sin.
The book was very informative and has highlighted the risk we take when interpreting biblical texts. Interpretations that have been passed down for centuries may be based on incomplete or fabricated writings. Religion can be a very personal approach to daily living or may be a guide to spiritual attainment. Morality limits our choices and in doing so gives us ... Read More
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