I loved Elaine Pagel's great work... the "Gnostic Gospels."
Unfortunately, this is pretty much the same book.
The book contains some very interesting information about the origin of the Book of Revelations. But the remaining 80 percent of the chapters seemed unnecessary.
Topic was very interesting. Narration was also done well. Interesting to make the connection of what was going on during the period when it was written and some of it's meaning.
ZEN. LDS. GTD. FTW.
First I'll start by saying that Lorna Raver is the best narrator - man or woman - working today. She is incredible, and perfect for this book.
I enjoyed the book itself, immensely at the start and then less so as the author strays into apocrypha that most listeners will likely consider irrelevant.
Still, I enjoyed the listen. The dug up some gem scriptures that I want to follow up on. I'll likely buy the paperback version.
Excellent scholarship and well presented. The narrator's deep voice was a bit irritating, but the CONTENT of the book was fascinating. Of course, if one is a bible-literalist, this will not be the book for you. I can see myself reading (listening?) to this book again, and still getting something out of it, it is so packed with information and dates, etc.
Entrepreneur, marketer, Zen Buddhist.
Of the books that were accepted into the New Testament canon, Revelations was the most controversial. Elaine Pagels traces the early history of Revelations in the context of the other controversial books that did not make it into the canon, most particularly the books deemed heretical and which were lost until copies were found in the Egyptian desert in 1945 at Nag Hammadi.
Pagels traces the changes in how each generation in the early centuries of Christianity interpreted Revelations, and how these interpretations were used in the politics of the early church. It was these political issues that caused Revelations to be included in the canon, whereas other, similar books of prophesy were declared heretical.
Pagels brings broad research to bear on her subject, producing a fascinating, illuminating, and comprehensible history that's a must-read for anyone interested in the history of early Christianity.
The book is well researched and posits interesting ideas about the inclusion of the Book of Revelation in the canon.
Yes, I would listen again. There is so much information that requires reexamination of other sources. The author (one of my favorite biblical scholars) puts John's book into a historical context and demonstrates how the author drew upon the Hebrew Bible. i found myself wanting to study the Book of Daniel.
Only criticism is that later chapters that go into early Church history, It was a good brief overview for people not that familiar with such history. For myself, I had just read several books and listen to lectures on early Church history, Thus to me those chapters did not contain any new insights or information. But well worth the listen.
I would listen to Revelations again because there are references to gnostic materials that I want to hear again.
I would compare it to Stranger Magic by Marina Warner. Primarily because they approach the material of myth in a broad, carefully considered manner.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
Elaine Pagels links the book of Revelation with her field of speciality, the Nag Hammadi texts. She reconstructs a different overview of the early Christian Church over the first three centuries of its existence.
I thought that she had an excellent command of the subject matter. However it is clear that her work on the Nag Hammadi translations has coloured her understanding and reconstruction so much that it might as well be just as skew if not more than the traditional account of Christian beginnings.
I found that she works chronologically in an eclectic way. It seems that when it suits her reconstruction, she might mention the date when a work was written. She sketches a very different picture of early Christianity than the one Evangelical and Protestant/Roman Catholic/Orthodox Christians might be used to. What makes her book so difficult is that you can really check how far certain of her facts correlate.
While I think she sees too much diversity in the New Testament books, (i.e. John of Patmos is actually a Jewish Prophet and not a Christian in the stricter sense of the word), she makes an interesting case and engaging construction of earliest Christianity until the time the New Testament was canonized.
I am not able to evaluate her reconstruction as it needs a bit of time. At times she was very convincing at other times opportunistic. Yet this short study needs to be taken not of.
I didn't like Lorna Raver's preaching voice, although she read clearly and with feeling at times.
I will probably not listen to another of Elaine Pagels books again. It seems that she herself is very sympathetic towards the Gnostics, trying to find a way if making them part of the general acceptable Christianity of today.
I turned this book off several weeks ago so I don't remember details of why I didn't like it but I do remember the main reason - in my opinion it goes here and there and everywhere and little time is actually spent examining the Book of Revelations. I don't recommend the book.
Spent more time going through Revelations in a step by step way.
Performance was fine, it was the material that I didn't like.
Disgust that I purchased it.