The Gnostic Gospels

This past weekend I just finished listening to The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels and wanted to write a brief review. My overall impression of the book was that it was a bit disappointing. My area of expertise is Biblical Hebrew language and Old Testament; however, I have always wanted to delve a bit more into Gnosticism. I had read some about Gnosticism in my New Testament courses, but felt as though I had barely scratched the surface.

Now, after listening to The Gnostic Gospels I do not feel that I have gained much beyond what I already knew.  I think that this is primarily due to the fact that the book may have a misleading title.  It is called The Gnostic Gospels but deals more with the relationship between “orthodoxy” and “heresy.”  I was interested in learning more about the texts themselves, which is what I thought the title entailed.  So, I think the book was not exactly what I was looking for and on account of that did not live up to my expectations.

The one positive point I can make about the book is that it did pique my interest about the actual texts from Nag Hammadi.  So, I think that the next time I delve into Gnosticism it will be to read the translations of the Gnostic manuscripts found in that library.  In that way I think I will learn more about the Gnostic writings themselves.  Overall, I do not know that I would recommend The Gnostic Gospels unless it is for someone who simply knows very little to nothing about Gnosticism.

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