The stunning archaeological discovery of these lost scriptures of early Christianity in 1945 has revealed exciting new dimensions to the wisdom passed on from Jesus to his disciples. In her analysis of this revived gospel, Dr. Pagels reveals that Thomas was not a "doubter" of Christ, rather, his thoughtful inquiries reflected and brought out the deepest truths that Jesus had to offer. Thomas' account depicts a Jesus who taught us that the "Kingdom of Heaven" is not a separate realm, but a state of divinity that we all can reach. He is even called the "twin" of Jesus, a metaphor for the possibility that all of us can achieve the same state of divine grace embodied by Jesus.
Elaine Pagels has riveted readers and audiences everywhere with her clear and provocative explorations of the testaments of early Christianity. The Gospel of Thomas gives listeners a first opportunity to join her in charting "a wider horizon" of Christian spirituality.
©2006 Elaine Pagels; (P)2006 Sounds True
Obviously, this is slightly less than 2 hours in length, so it's not a book. This is a lecture about the Gospel of Thomas and Elaine Pagels spends considerable time after her talk answering many questions from the live audience.
If you have already read "Beyond Belief" then you may find that this lecture provides even more detailed insights from Elaine Pagels on the Gospel of Thomas and its relation to other gospels. If you haven't read "Beyond Belief" you might want to do so before downloading this lecture.
This short offering is a wonderful introduction to Elaine Pagels, both to her work and to who she is as a person. She has been at the forefront of scholarly research and writing on early Christianity as revealed in ancient manuscripts only recently discovered in the Middle East. Despite her impressive credentials (she is a chaired Professor of Religion at Princeton), her tone is unfailingly one of sincerity, openness and humility.
Here, she provides a informative introduction to textual analysis of scripture and other early documents, then proceeds to an examination of The Gospel of Thomas, which most scholars agree was written roughly during the same time period in which the 4 canonical gospels were produced. This lecture summarizes and adds to what Pagels included in her 2004 book, "Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas" which is the most personal of her books, and shows how she finds many of these early texts to have the potential of enriching, rather than undermining, the Christian faith (and which I highly recommend if you have not already read it).
Roughly the second half of the audiobook is Q&A as she takes questions form the lecture audience--I only wish I could have been there!
The sound quality was very poor in the question/answer period. VERY poor.
The format was mostly a waste of time. Questions from the audience were unenlightening, and answers were often evasive or shallow. Just have Elaine talk!
All the Q & A. The questions were random, the answers pat or simplistic, the sound quality was TERRIBLE. It was just the sort of poor use of time for learning that you see in most university lecture hall 'conversations'.
I would not recommend spending more than $.99 for this. It was poor value, even on sale. Buy her books--she is much better there!
I did not find listening to this 'book' a very enlightening experience. It is not particularly insightful or challenging. Whilst the author gives the impression that her purpose is not 'cerebral', she does not offer much on a 'faith' level.
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