Extended Audio Sample

Download Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, by Elaine Pagels Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,483 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elaine Pagels Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
Regular Price: $14.95 Download
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $14.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Download learn more )

In Beyond Belief, renowned religion scholar Elaine Pagels continues her groundbreaking examination of the earliest Christian texts, arguing for an ongoing assessment of faith and a questioning of religious orthodoxy.

Spurred on by personal tragedy and new scholarship from an international group of researchers, Pagels returns to her investigation of the “secret” Gospel of Thomas, and breathes new life into writings once thought heretical. As she arrives at an ever-deeper conviction in her own faith, Pagels reveals how faith allows for a diversity of interpretations, and that the “rogue” voices of Christianity encourage and sustain “the recognition of the light within us all.”

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “This luminous and accessible history of early Christian thought offers profound and crucial insights on the nature of God, revelation, and what we mean by religious truth.”

    Karen Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of The Case for God

  • “Lucid…a spiritual as well as an intellectual exercise…[Pagels] seems to rejoice that in the earliest years of Christianity there existed these strange, dissident doctrines.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “With the winning combination of sound scholarship, deep insight and a crystal clear prose style…[Beyond Belief] portrays the rich and beautiful heritage that was lost when champions of religious orthodoxy turned on many of their fellow Christians and declared them ‘heretics.’”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “As relevant as today’s front page.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Pagels has accomplished a very rare thing, an examination of early religious writings that is a good read, accessible, and at times even dramatic and poignant.”

    Columbus Dispatch

  • “Brilliantly lucid, elegantly written…[Pagels’] book is so readable you can’t put it down.”

    Providence Journal-Bulletin

  • “This remarkable book will stir and provoke thought. It offers rewards to any reader concerned with the promise and power of faith, and the hunger for spiritual discovery.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • Beyond Belief offers a profound framework with which to examine Christian history and contemporary Christian faith, and Pagels renders her scholarship in a highly readable narrative.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Pagels’ writing—spare, elegant, and provocative—leads readers step-by-step down a spiritual path to one’s inner self. Even those who possess only a nodding acquaintance with Gnostic writings will find themselves stimulated by her arguments and perhaps transformed by her conclusions. A fresh and exciting work of theology and spirituality.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Exhilarating reading, Pagels’ book offers a model of careful and thoughtful scholarship in the lively and exciting prose of a good mystery writer.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Just as topical today as it was nearly two thousand years ago…Pagels is great at pulling together the details that allow us to understand not only what people were arguing about but why.”

    San Jose Mercury News

  • “Majestic…Exhilarating reading, Pagels’ book offers a model of careful and thoughtful scholarship in the lively and exciting prose of a mystery writer.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Angela | 2/11/2014

    " This book explores how Christianity began by tracing its earliest texts, including the secret Gospel of Thomas, rediscovered in Egypt in 1945. When her infant son was diagnosed with fatal pulmonary hypertension, Elaine Pagels's spiritual and intellectual quest took on a new urgency, leading her to explore historical and archeological sources and to investigate what Jesus and his teachings meant to his followers before the invention of doctrine -- and before the invention of Christianity as we know it. The astonishing discovery of the Gospel of Thomas, along with more than fifty other early Christian texts unknown since antiquity, offers startling clues. Pagels compares such sources as Thomas's gospel (which claims to give Jesus' secret teaching, and find its closest affinities with kabbalah) with the canonic texts to show how Christian leaders chose to include some gospels and exclude others from the collection we have come to know as the New Testament. To stabilize the emerging Christian church in times of devastating persecution, the church fathers constructed the canon, creed, and hierarchy -— and, in the process, suppressed many of its spiritual resources." Drawing on new scholarship -— her own, and that of an international group of scholars —- Pagels shows that what matters about Christianity involves much more than any one set of beliefs. Traditions embodied in Judaism and Christianity can powerfully affect us in heart, mind, and spirit, inspire visions of a new society based on practicing justice and love, even heal and transform us. (Publisher's blurb) ~~~~ An exploration of gnosticism, among other things, that I read too quickly to actually absorb anything. Set aside for a re-read at some future date. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Sirpa Grierson | 2/11/2014

    " Fascinating insights on gnosis and the development and ridigification [my own word?]of the "creed" in the early Christian church. Includes the formation of the confusing doctrine of the Trinity that does not echo earlier Christian teachings of three distinct personages with a unified mission. I was not entranced with the chosen translation of Thomas that was included by Pagels but as I haven't bothered to learn to read Greek I am at the mercy of the translator :( "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Christina | 2/10/2014

    " interesting read but a little tedious at times .... for me. i found myself scimming through a lot of it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Liz Allen | 2/9/2014

    " Despite the thrilling possibility of the discussion of the "lost gospels", this book fell short of my expectations. Deals with how tthe 4 gospels forming the Christian cannon were chosen, eliminating all other doctrine from the Bible and from Christian thought for nearly 2000 years. "

  • > Show All
Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations