The Gnostic Gospels and Church Authority

Book Report/Review
Religion and Theology
Pages 6 (1506 words)
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In many way Elaine Pagels' book Gnostic Gospels was one of the opening salvos in the reopening of conflicts that, far from being new, are in fact thousands of years old. In a way, the discovery of the Nag Hammadi scrolls has sent the calendar rolling back to the earliest struggles of Christianity, the struggles between the various sects to unify into one vision and one voice.


This unification of belief stands in sharp contrast to the early struggles to define that consistency and as well to contemporary arguments and debates taking place since the discovery of texts that have raised serious questions about the authority of the New Testament. Pagels refuses to advocate either Gnostic or traditional Christian viewpoints; instead her thesis stems from the concept that history can never be unraveled to fulfill a pure truth, because it is always written by the winners. In the case of Christianity, Pagels suggests that it may never have developed into the unified, universal religion it became had the struggle among its multiple sects not eventually been won; had the Gnostics been capable of organizing as well as the Catholic sect, Christianity could well have become just another ancient religious cult falling by the wayside.
Pagels' methodology in writing this book is to establish connections between what is contained within the Gnostic gospels and what is contained with the Biblical canon in order to more fully realize and understand the authorit ...
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