Extended Audio Sample

Download The Gnostic Gospels Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Gnostic Gospels Audiobook, 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 (6,764 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elaine Pagels Narrator: Lorna Raver Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2006 ISBN: 9780739333181
Regular Price: $12.50 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $11.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

The Gnostic Gospels is a landmark study of the long-buried roots of Christianity, a work of luminous scholarship and wide popular appeal. First published in 1979 to critical acclaim, winning the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Gnostic Gospels has continued to grow in reputation and influence over the past two decades. It is now widely recognized as one of the most brilliant and accessible histories of early Christian spirituality published in our time.

In 1945 an Egyptian peasant unearthed what proved to be the Gnostic Gospels, thirteen papyrus volumes that expounded a radically different view of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ from that of the New Testament. In this spellbinding book, renowned religious scholar Elaine Pagels elucidates the mysteries and meanings of these sacred texts both in the world of the first Christians and in the context of Christianity today.

With insight and passion, Pagels explores a remarkable range of recently discovered gospels, including the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, to show how a variety of “Christianities” emerged at a time of extraordinary spiritual upheaval. Some Christians questioned the need for clergy and church doctrine, and taught that the divine could be discovered through spiritual search. Many others, like Buddhists and Hindus, sought enlightenment — and access to God — within. Such explorations raised questions: Was the resurrection to be understood symbolically and not literally? Was God to be envisioned only in masculine form, or feminine as well? Was martyrdom a necessary — or worthy — expression of faith? These early Christians dared to ask questions that orthodox Christians later suppressed — and their explorations led to profoundly different visions of Jesus and his message. 

Brilliant, provocative, and stunning in its implications, The Gnostic Gospels is a radical, eloquent reconsideration of the origins of the Christian faith.

Download and start listening now!

BK_RAND_000780

Quotes & Awards

  • The first major and eminently readable book on gnosticism benefiting from the discovery in 1945 of a collection of Gnostic Christian texts at Nag Hammadi in Egypt. The New York Times Book Review

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debra | 2/5/2014

    " The most important book I read in my late twenties. Dr. Pagels has spent her career trying to find the 'truth' within Christianity. Her study helped me start solidifying my own spirituality. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Syd | 2/2/2014

    " This book shed more light on how christianity was stripped of feminine energy and I was amazed at the similarities of gnostic christianity, buddhism, and psycho therapy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol Wunderlich | 1/5/2014

    " Pagels soes a good job intigrating history and sociology into her presentation of her thesis of why the Nag Hammadi documents were surpressed by the early church and why gnosticism didn't survive as a branch of Christianity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dane Batty | 12/23/2013

    " This book will make you question everything you have learned about modern day religion. If this is true I can't believe I'm just now hearing this... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lianna | 12/13/2013

    " Started out with an Indiana Jones-esque story but then got really dry. I think I'd be more interested in the Gnostic Gospels wiki page than a full-on book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarazen | 12/1/2013

    " Interesting window into what might have been. I would have liked more translation of the text in question in addition to the analysis. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristina | 11/6/2013

    " Interesting discussion of the Nag Hammadi texts. Too bad the gnostic texts had been obscured and hidden by religious authorities of the time. Christianity may have been different (better?). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 10/29/2013

    " This short, but very dense, record of some of the history of the early church is truly fascinating. HIGHLY recommended for anyone interested in learning more about how we got to where we are today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fred | 8/19/2013

    " One of my favorite books of all time. Elaine Pagels is one of my favorite researchers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 8/14/2013

    " I liked the info in here, but Pagels' writing is sooo convoluted. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamie | 7/22/2013

    " Facinating description of the ancient text discovery and it's role in the development of orthodox Christianity _ prompts me to further investigation --- "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 4/24/2013

    " Fascinating- challanges sunday school notions of early christianity "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cicely | 4/11/2013

    " A good guide to the history of the Gnostic Church "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mac | 3/17/2013

    " Fascinating stuff. Interesting how a lot of modern Christian theology (and Buddhist teachings, and modern psychology) is starting to sound a whole lot like early Christian gnosticism. Definitely worth reading, even for an infidel like me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Avary | 10/4/2012

    " Not as startling as I had thought. OK, only. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linny | 7/29/2012

    " This book looks at the differences between gnostic teachings and orthodox Christianity. It is packed with information and left me wondering what Christianity as we know it today might be like if gnosticism had not been deemed heretical and suppressed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Solomon | 7/12/2012

    " An utterly fascinating book. I didn't merely read it, I devoured it! This book has changed my perception of Christianity and, in certain ways, even of spirituality itself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Morgan | 6/21/2012

    " An amazing take on the first centuries of Christianity and the politics that went into forming the Church as we know it today. Written by the foremost scholar on Gnosticism, she makes an incredibly complicated and complex discussion manageable for those who, like me, have no knowledge of this topic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steven | 6/1/2012

    " I found this really enlightening about the various ways people understood or read Jesus' life in the few centuries before the theology became standardized. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 5/14/2012

    " The author's goal is to explore the early formation of Christianity and issues related to religious authority. I found her descriptions compelling in light of current political pressure in the U.S.A. to codify religious beliefs into law. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jac Nielson | 3/31/2012

    " This is always a go to book when I am reading other types of religious discovery books or articles in magazines or,believe it or not:) political tweets from the ridiculous religious right. The bible, and christianhistory books are also go to books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 11/25/2011

    " The great equalizer: Elaine Pagels. Love her interpretations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christopher | 4/17/2011

    " Great introduction to the concept of Gnosticism and how the conflicts between Gnosticism and Proto-Orthodoxy helped shape the formation of the Catholic church. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gale | 3/27/2011

    " interesting... still don't know what christianity means to me.. still searching. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 12/3/2010

    " I liked the info in here, but Pagels' writing is sooo convoluted. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 11/1/2010

    " A change of pace read that turned out to be even more interesting than I expected. Being in Rome during the time I read it seemed to make it even more interesting. One of a dozen or so I read on a Mediterranean cruise. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 10/16/2010

    " Solid introduction to the gnostic tradition, its religious worldview, and its conflicts with the canonical tradition. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 9/17/2010

    " if you're interested in doing a different adult bible study class, this text is an excellent resource. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miranda | 9/13/2010

    " I very heady read, but fascinating discussion of orthodoxy, i.e literal view, vs. gnostics, i.e the figurative view of Jesus' message.
    I wish more Christians were interested in reading investigation like this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristina | 9/10/2010

    " Interesting discussion of the Nag Hammadi texts. Too bad the gnostic texts had been obscured and hidden by religious authorities of the time. Christianity may have been different (better?). "

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
About the Author
Author Elaine PagelsElaine Pagels earned a B.A. in history and an M.A. in classical studies at Stanford, and holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University. She is the author of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent; The Origin of Satan; and The Gnostic Gospels, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award. She is currently the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University, and she lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with her husband and children.
About the Narrator

Lorna Raver, named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Voices of the Year, has received numerous Audie Award nominations and fourteen AudioFile Earphones Awards. An experienced stage actress, she has also guest-starred on many top television series and starred in director Sam Raimi’s film Drag Me to Hell. Her numerous audiobook credits include The Age of Innocence, Up from Orchard Street, The Lodger, Selected Readings from the Portable Dorothy Parker, and Diamond Ruby.