Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. Elaine Pagels. Reviewed by Frank Thomas Smith. In The Gnostic Gospels, reviewed in Number 2 of Southern Cross Review. In Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, Pagels traces the interpretation of Genesis from the Second Temple period through Augustine’s battles with the Pelagians. “How did the early Christians come to believe that sex was inherently sinful? When did the Fall of Adam become synonymous with the fall of all humanity?.

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The book pqgels contains quotes and analysis of early Christian and some contemporary Jewish thinkers from Jerome to Augustine and Julian of Eclanum. If you have any interest in the fundamental nature of Christianity and the nature of mankind as viewed thr Dense, complex and enthralling. This was at a time when early church fathers Irenaeus, Tertullian and others were patels to standardize Scriptural interpretation.

I especially enjoyed a couple of pages in which Pagels discussed why people have the tendency to feel guilt when some travesty takes place in their lives ie “what did I do to deserve this?

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent – Elaine H. Pagels – Google Books

Augustine did this because he read his own sexual struggles into Romans; and. Freedom from the law is neither for Paul nor for the early church an escape into a self-creating autonomy, as Pagels thinks.

There are no sdrpent topics on this book yet. Most of the time is spent discussing Augustine, his views, those who opposed him, and why his views eventually dominated. Nov 03, lp rated it liked it. The Paradise of Virginity Regained. To ask other readers questions about Adam, Eve, and the Serpentplease sign up. It is not clear that he, personally, believed, but he had considerable political and practical reasons and justifications for his policy.

He is the author of The Church Impotent: Such a spur to inventiveness naturally gave rise to widely variant readings. This book is pagelss of several scholarly articles that Pagels had written for the general audience. Selected pages Title Page. Augustine uses the passage to deny that human beings have free moral choice, which jews and christians had traditionally regarded as the birthright of humanity made ‘in God’s adn.


The gnostics also believed that clerics were not needed for pqgels was essentially an inward journey of spiritual discovery. A dry read, but a lot of interesting insights.

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity by Elaine Pagels

Since he did sin, his descendants were doomed in perpetuity to sin as well. Lengthy quotes and summaries are provided of each of them. Pagels unpeels this onio The Book of Genesis is only about four pages long but its interpretation has arguably had more impact on the character of Western views on sin and sex than any other document.

You know ada, ones: Nov 28, Larry rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Her ability to pagela the often complex thoughts of a host of biblical and early church voices on topics ranging from free will to human nature to original sin to celibacy is impressive.

Pagels Vintage Books- Religion – pageos 10 Reviews https: Human beings are incapable of self rule, not in any genuinely good way.

Sep 19, Pages. The first chapter is kind of foundational talking about Jesus and Paul and first century Judaism.

Jan 19, Matt rated it it was amazing Shelves: In many other writers’ hands, this would have been a painful and dry read, but Pagels manages to make it an engaging if not entertaining and interesting exploration. Although the deutero-Pauline letters differ from one another in many ways, on practical matters they all agree.

Mar 11, Shaun rated it it was amazing.

In Adam, Eve, and the SerpentPagels traces the interpretation of Genesis from the Second Temple period through Augustine’s battles with the Pelagians — the time period that saw the It’s clear from reading this early work by Elaine Pagels why she has become such a prominent scholar of Christian history.

As a young researcher tye Barnard College, she changed forever the historical landscape of the Christian r Elaine Pagels is a preeminent figure in the theological community whose scholarship has earned her international respect.

The East Germans who have flocked to West Germany headed for the prostitutes and porn shops; one of the first acts of revolutionary Romania was to legalize abortion. In this book Elaine Pagels gives a history of the interpretation of Genesis for the first years of Christianity. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship best known for her studies seroent writing on the Gnostic Gospels. Excellent insights from a scholar on the formation of the early Christian church.


The clearest example is the Trinitarian controversy. Has she read the Bible, or does she just get her quotes from an internet Bible search using a few key words? She does not give a complete history nor does she cover all the points of controversy between the developing Orthodox and the others increasingly thought of as heretics, Gnostics for example.

It was not until Nestorius denied the true humanity and the true divinity that the hypostatic union was defined. I love Elaine Pagels who combines excellent scholarship with the ability to write articulately and clearly for non-scholars without dumbing things down. Dense, complex and enthralling. But the truth is just the opposite. It is certain that Paul did not write Timothy 1 and 2, nor Titus, all written in a style very different from his and expressing viewpoints different from those in his own letters.

What happened had profound implications for Christianity and Western culture and in this book Elaine Pagels does a fantastic job of answering those questions.

Like most of her books, except her doctoral dissertation, this one, while confined to the first centuries of the Church, deals with matters which, while ancient, are still relevant. If you’re interested in the early Christian era, you would probably enjoy just about anything written by Pagels.

As in her class, Pagels is clear and accessible to non-specialists. The pastoral Epistles, which praise family life, Timothy and Titus, are dismissed by Pagels as pseudo-Pauline and therefore implicitly not authoritative, anc they characterize the ideal bishop as a patriarch who rules his family well and therefore proves himself able to rule the family of God, the Church.

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity

All in all, I learned more about the acam church and the formation of theological assumptions than in any other text. Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. Pagels is fluent in original documents so we hear the debates translated into English, of course in almost daunting detail.