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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: Jennifer Van Dyc Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Elaine Pagels, one of the world’s most important writers and thinkers on religion and history, and winner of the National Book Award for her groundbreaking work The Gnostic Gospels, now reflects on what matters most about spiritual and religious exploration in the twenty-first century. This bold new 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 finds 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–that has come to light since the publication in 1979 of The Gnostic Gospels, 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.
Provocative, beautifully written, and moving, Beyond Belief, the most personal of Pagels’s books to date, shows how “the impulse to seek God overflows the narrow banks of a single tradition.” Pagels writes, “What I have come to love in the wealth and diversity of our religious traditions–and the communities that sustain them–is that they offer the testimony of innumerable people to spiritual discovery, encouraging us, in Jesus’ words, to ‘seek, and you shall find.’”

From the Hardcover edition.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Alicia | 2/16/2014

    " I thought this book was great. I really liked that it talked about lots of the gospels that aren't in the Bible. I have often wondered, as the author did, how Christianity got the place it is today. It seems like there are so many different denominations and I have wondered how we branched out "this far." As I have now discovered, there were many differences among early Christians as well. We just don't always hear about that because where there were disagreements, often those are the gospels that weren't included in the Bible as we know it today. I think this is a great book for anyone who wants to explore more about the roots of Christianity and learn more about why we have the gospels that we have and why we don't have the ones we don't. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kelly | 2/15/2014

    " Excellent, excellent, excellent. Three excellents. This book explained perfectly why I had come to loathe the Christian religion so much, while at the same time it renewed my admiration, hope, and maybe even love for Jesus again. In other words, no more throwing little baby Jesus out with the bathwater. Thank you, Elaine Pagels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by McKenna | 2/14/2014

    " Pagels presents a lot of very interesting information in this book, but I found it disorganized. There is no introductory chapter or conclusion, and no common thesis running throughout the book; rather, it seems to be a collection of loosely related facts. Even the title is misleading, because it's really only partially about the Gospel of Thomas. In other words, it's worth reading for the interest of the facts presented, but it could have benefited from some better editing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kara | 2/11/2014

    " Lots of really nice snippets of faith here. "

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