I'm surprised to see that people either loved or hated this book. I found it to be a very entertaining listen, although the book seemed to me to lack a central theme.
I can't believe the number of people who claimed the book's conclusions were arbitrary or miscontrued. The conclusions came straight from the data and were corroborated in several ways. Those people who think the authors were making things up need to take some courses on statistics.
And no, you can't lie with statistics if you follow correct, scientifically sound principles. Good researchers make public their methods so that others are are able to repeat their research and either confirm or refute their findings. If you think these guys are wrong, gather your own team of statisticians to pour through the data. Given these guys' credentials, I'd be surprised if you were able to disprove their conclusions.
Interesting, enlightening and intense: the listener learns about another side of Jesus, one that encourages his disciples to find the truth within themselves.
The issues before the early church are discussed and you come to understand why the church rejected these gnostic teachings. They felt that Jesus intended to be accessible to more than an educated, elite few. That's hard to argue, but the idea of self-knowledge is also appealing, at least to me.
Dr Pagels refrains from editorializing, which I appreciated. She tells you what the manuscripts say, develops some of the concepts, and leaves it to you to decide what you believe.
This book is so packed with information that I think I would have preferred the printed form, so I could re-review particular passages. I also found the reader's voice to be rough and raspy, unlike Dr Pagel's voice which is smooth and pleasant (as seen on TV).
Overall, very worth the effort, and you'll probably want to listen to it more than once.
As someone who grew up trying to comprehend the KJV - "verily verily I say unto you" - I had no idea the Bible could be so exciting and entertaining. I have only gone through the New Testament but I have no doubt the Old Testament is every bit as enticing. You won't feel like you're listening to this out of duty, you will WANT to listen. The characters come alive. Once I noticed the music was so loud it was hard to hear the voices, but that was only one spot for a few minutes. Otherwise, the music adds context and drama to the scenery.
This is by far the best Audible book I've purchased to date... just one credit at that; I think I would be willing to pay $100 or more for this.
No longer will people stump me with quotes from the New Testament - I've heard it all. :-)
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