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186 of 198 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Literary Armageddon, September 17, 2004
This review is from: The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (Paperback)
Nearly all knowledgeable Biblical scholars realize there have been a wide range of writings attributed to Jesus and his Apostles..... and that some of these were selected for compilation into the book that became known as the Bible.....and that some books have been removed from some versions of the Bible and others have been re-discovered in modern times.

The attention focused on Gnosticism by Dan Brown's DaVinci Code may be debatable, but the fact is that increased attention on academics tends to be predominately positive, so I welcome those with first-time or renewed interest. At least first-timers to Gnosticism are not pursuing the oh-so-popular legends of the Holy Grail, Bloodline of Christ, and Mary Magdalene.

This is great......I seldom quote other reviewers, but there is one reviewer of Pagels' books who confided that he had been a Jesuit candidate and had been required to study a wide range of texts but was never was told about the Nag Hamadi texts. He said:

"Now I know why. The Gospel of Thomas lays waste to the notion that Jesus was `the only begotten Son of God' and obviates the need for a formalized church when he says, `When your leaders tell you that God is in heaven, say rather, God is within you, and without you.' No wonder they suporessed this stuff! The Roman Catholic Church hasn't maintained itself as the oldest institution in the world by allowing individuals to have a clear channel to see the divinity within all of us: they need to put God in a bottle, label the bottle, put that bottle on an altar, build a church around that altar, put a sign over the door, and create rubricks and rituals to keep out the dis-believing riff-raff. Real `Us' versus `them' stuff, the polar opposite from `God is within You.' `My God is bigger than your God' the church(s)seem to say. And you can only get there through "my" door/denomination. But Jesus according to Thomas had it right: just keep it simple, and discover the indwelling Divinity `within you and without you.'"

Here are quickie reviews of what is being bought these days on the Gnostic Gospels and the lost books of the Bible in general:

The Lost Books of the Bible (0517277956) includes 26 apocryphal books from the first 400 years that were not included in the New Testament.

Marvin Meyers' The Secret Teachings of Jesus : Four Gnostic Gospels (0394744330 ) is a new translation without commentary of The Secret Book of James, The Gospel of Thomas, The Book of Thomas, and The Secret Book of John.

James M. Robinson's The Nag Hammadi Library in English : Revised Edition (0060669357) has been around 25 years now and is in 2nd edition. It has introductions to each of the 13 Nag Hammadi Codices and the Papyrus Berioinensis 8502.

The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (0140278079) by Geza Vermes has selected works....a complete work is more difficult to achieve than the publisher's marketing concept indicates. His commentary generates strong reactions.

Elaine Pagels has 2 books (The Gnostic Gospels 0679724532 and Beyond Belief : The Secret Gospel of Thomas 0375501568) that have received considerable attention lately. For many, her work is controversial in that it is written for popular consumption and there is a strong modern interpretation. She does attempt to reinterpret ancient gender relationships in the light of modern feminist thinking. While this is a useful (and entertaining) aspect of college women's studies programs, it is not as unethical as some critics claim. As hard as they may try, all historians interpret the past in the context of the present. Obviously there is value in our attempts to re-interpret the past in the light of our own time.

If you want the full scholarly work it is W. Schneemelcher's 2 volume New Testament Apocrypha.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 18, 2011 9:43:51 PM PST
Double A says:
Thank you. Very helpful.

Posted on Dec 18, 2011 9:44:28 PM PST
Double A says:
Thank you. Very helpful.

Posted on Jun 1, 2013 7:33:43 AM PDT
laurav says:
Many thanks for your informative and useful review!

Posted on Jul 14, 2015 8:25:34 AM PDT
T. Ahoe says:
I just bought every book that you recommended... Thanks so much!
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