The Gnostic Gospels

Author: Elaine Pagels
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781588364173
Format: PDF, ePub
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Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time 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.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

Author: Edmund Morris
Publisher: Modern Library
ISBN: 0307777820
Format: PDF, Docs
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Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time Thirty years ago, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Although Theodore Rex fully recounts TR’s years in the White House (1901–1909), The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt begins with a brilliant Prologue describing the President at the apex of his international prestige. That was on New Year’s Day, 1907, when TR, who had just won the Nobel Peace Prize, threw open the doors of the White House to the American people and shook 8,150 hands, more than any man before him. Morris re-creates the reception with such authentic detail that the reader gets almost as vivid an impression of TR as those who attended. One visitor remarked afterward, “You go to the White House, you shake hands with Roosevelt and hear him talk—and then you go home to wring the personality out of your clothes.” The rest of this book tells the story of TR’s irresistible rise to power. (He himself compared his trajectory to that of a rocket.) It is, in effect, the biography of seven men—a naturalist, a writer, a lover, a hunter, a ranchman, a soldier, and a politician—who merged at age forty-two to become the youngest President in our history. Rarely has any public figure exercised such a charismatic hold on the popular imagination. Edith Wharton likened TR’s vitality to radium. H. G. Wells said that he was “a very symbol of the creative will in man.” Walter Lippmann characterized him simply as our only “lovable” chief executive. During the years 1858–1901, Theodore Roosevelt, the son of a wealthy Yankee father and a plantation-bred southern belle, transformed himself from a frail, asthmatic boy into a full-blooded man. Fresh out of Harvard, he simultaneously published a distinguished work of naval history and became the fist-swinging leader of a Republican insurgency in the New York State Assembly. He had a youthful romance as lyrical—and tragic—as any in Victorian fiction. He chased thieves across the Badlands of North Dakota with a copy of Anna Karenina in one hand and a Winchester rifle in the other. Married to his childhood sweetheart in 1886, he became the country squire of Sagamore Hill on Long Island, a flamboyant civil service reformer in Washington, D.C., and a night-stalking police commissioner in New York City. As assistant secretary of the navy under President McKinley, he almost single-handedly brought about the Spanish-American War. After leading “Roosevelt’s Rough Riders” in the famous charge up San Juan Hill, Cuba, he returned home a military hero, and was rewarded with the governorship of New York. In what he called his “spare hours” he fathered six children and wrote fourteen books. By 1901, the man Senator Mark Hanna called “that damned cowboy” was vice president of the United States. Seven months later, an assassin’s bullet gave TR the national leadership he had always craved. His is a story so prodigal in its variety, so surprising in its turns of fate, that previous biographers have treated it as a series of haphazard episodes. This book, the only full study of TR’s pre-presidential years, shows that he was an inevitable chief executive, and recognized as such in his early teens. His apparently random adventures were precipitated and linked by various aspects of his character, not least an overwhelming will. “It was as if he were subconsciously aware that he was a man of many selves,” the author writes, “and set about developing each one in turn, knowing that one day he would be President of all the people.”

Revelations

Author: Elaine H. Pagels
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143121634
Format: PDF
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Explores the New Testament book of Revelation in a historical first-century context, reinterpreting the book as a scathing attack on the decadence of Rome that was subsequently adopted by early Christians as a weapon against heresy.

Not in His Image

Author: John Lash
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 193149892X
Format: PDF, Docs
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Basing much of Not in His Image on the Nag Hammadi and other Gnostic writings, John Lamb Lash explains how a little-known messianic sect propelled itself into a dominant world power, systematically wiping out the great Gnostic spiritual teachers, the Druid priests, and the shamanistic healers of Europe and North Africa. They burned libraries and destroyed temples in an attempt to silence the ancient truth-tellers and keep their own secrets. But as Lash reveals, when the truth is the planet Earth it cannot be hidden or destroyed. Not in His Image delves deeply into the shadows of ancient Gnostic writings to reconstruct the story early Christians tried to scrub from the pages of history, exploring the richness of the ancient European Pagan spirituality--the Pagan Mysteries, the Great Goddess, Gnosis, the myths of Sophia and Gaia--and chronicles the annihilation of this Pagan European culture at the hands of Christianity. Long before the birth of Christianity, monotheism was an anomaly; Europe and the Near East flourished under the divine guidance of Sophia, the ancient goddess of wisdom. The Earth was the embodiment of Sophia and thus sacred to the people who sought fulfillment in her presence. This ancient philosophy was threatening to the emerging salvation-based creed of Christianity that was based on patriarchal dominion over the Earth and lauded personal suffering as a path to the afterlife. As Derrick Jensen points out in the afterword, in Lash's hands Jesus Christ emerges as the agent provocateur of the ruling classes.

Pontius Pilate

Author: Ann Wroe
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780375505201
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Pontius Pilate arrived in Judaea in the year 26, sent to collect taxes and oversee the firm establishment of Roman law. His ten-year term was a time of relative peace in this fractious new outpost of the Roman Empire, where violence was not uncommon. He was not loved and not quite feared, and might have vanished into obscurity had he not come to preside, with some reluctance, over the most famous trial in history. In this brilliant biography, a finalist for the Samuel Johnson Prize and a masterpiece of scholarship and imagination, Ann Wroe brings Pilate and his world to life. Working from classical sources, she reconstructs his origins and upbringing, his career in the military and life in Rome, his confrontation with Christ, and his long journey home. We catch glimpses of him pacing the marble floors in Caesarea, sharpening his stylus, getting dressed shortly before sunrise on the day that would seal his place in history. What were the pressures on Pilate that day? What did he really think of Jesus? Pontius Pilate lets us see Christ's trial for the first time, in all its confusion, from the point of view of his executioner. Pontius Pilate is a historical figure, like Cleopatra and Alexander, who has been endlessly mythologized through the ages. For some he is a saint, for others the embodiment of human weakness, an archetypal politician willing to sacrifice one man for the sake of stability. Each generation has pressed onto Pilate the imprint of its anxieties and its faith. He has haunted—and continues to haunt—our imagination. From the Evangelists and the Copts (for whom he was a saint, martyred himself on the Cross) to more recent philosophers, artists, novelists, and politicians, Pilate has been resurrected in different guises for two thousand years. Ann Wroe brings man and myth to life in a book that expands the possibilities of the biographical form and deepens our understanding of the mysteries of faith. It has often been said that Pontius Pilate was fingered by God to carry out the divine plan of salvation, just as clearly as Christ was. Ann Wroe shows how, in his hesitation before God, in his skepticism, his anxiety to do his job and exonerate himself of guilt, Pilate's story is very much our own.

Heretics

Author: Jonathan Wright
Publisher: HMH
ISBN: 0547548893
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A lively examination of the heretics who helped Christianity become the world’s most powerful religion. From Arius, a fourth-century Libyan cleric who doubted the very divinity of Christ, to more successful heretics like Martin Luther and John Calvin, this book charts the history of dissent in the Christian Church. As the author traces the Church’s attempts at enforcing orthodoxy, from the days of Constantine to the modern Catholic Church’s lingering conflicts, he argues that heresy—by forcing the Church to continually refine and impose its beliefs—actually helped Christianity to blossom into one of the world’s most formidable religions. Today, all believers owe it to themselves to grapple with the questions raised by heresy. Can you be a Christian without denouncing heretics? Is it possible that new ideas challenging Church doctrine are destined to become as popular as Luther’s once-outrageous suggestions of clerical marriage and a priesthood of all believers? A delightfully readable and deeply learned new history, Heretics overturns our assumptions about the role of heresy in a faith that still shapes the world. “Wright emphasizes the ‘extraordinarily creative role’ that heresy has played in the evolution of Christianity by helping to ‘define, enliven, and complicate’ it in dialectical fashion. Among the world’s great religions, Christianity has been uniquely rich in dissent, Wright argues—especially in its early days, when there was so little agreement among its adherents that one critic compared them to a marsh full of frogs croaking in discord.” —The New Yorker

Jung and the Lost Gospels

Author: Stephan A. Hoeller
Publisher: Quest Books
ISBN: 9780835606462
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The "Lost Gospels" refer to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library, both discovered in the 1940s. The Nag Hammadi Library consists of writings found by two peasants who unearthed clay jars in 1945 in upper Egypt. These did not appear in English for 32 years, because the right to publish was contended by scholars, politicians, and antique dealers. The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in clay jars in Palestine by a goatherder in 1947, weathered similar storms. The first team of analysts were mostly Christian clergy, who weren't anxious to share material that frightened church leaders. As Dr. Hoeller shows, they rightly feared the documents would reveal information that might detract from unique claims of Christianity. Indeed, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi Library both contradict and complement accepted tenets of the Old and New Testaments.

The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom

Author: James M. McPherson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199743902
Format: PDF, ePub
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Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War. James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War--the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry--and then moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself--the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are McPherson's new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory. The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict: the South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Union founded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war--slavery--and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America's bloodiest conflict. This authoritative volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty.

The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus

Author: Marvin W. Meyer
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061965936
Format: PDF, Kindle
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For all those readers curious to read the actual texts of the Gnostic Gospels, here is the definitive collection of all the Gnostic Gospels and Gospel–like texts. o Marvin Meyer, premier scholar of Gnostic and other Christian literature outside the New Testament, presents every Gnostic Gospel and Jesus text with a brilliant overall introduction, introductions to each text, and notes that explain everything the reader needs to know to understand the text. He includes his latest translations of not only the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Mary, but other texts such as the Secret Book of John, which some scholars regard as the second part of the New Testament Gospel of John. The material is largely from the discovery at Nag Hammadi, freshly translated and introduced, but also includes texts found elsewhere. The texts, especially taken together, present an image of Jesus as the ultimate wisdom teacher, a kind of mysterious Jewish Zen master, who scandalized listeners by his radical egalitarianism (regarding women, slaves, the poor, the marginalized as of equal status, or more, with establishment male believers) and his insistence on living the message, spiritual experience, vs. outer observance only. o For those wanting to learn more after reading The Da Vinci Code. This book provides the definitive next book for those looking for expert presentation of the alternative Gnostic stream of Christianity, in which there is no talk of crucifixion and Mary Magdalene is presented as the disciple that Jesus loved best. "Marv is one of the original secret gospels scholars who has done an enormous amount of work to bring these texts to light. All of his research on the Nag Hammadi texts is having an incredible impact on our knowledge of early Christian history––it is virtually redefining it." ––Dr. Elaine Pagels, Princeton University

The Origin of Satan

Author: Elaine Pagels
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0679731180
Format: PDF, ePub
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A study of the role of the devil in biblical and modern times theorizes that dissident social gorups that resisted Christianity, such as pagans and Jews, were typically portrayed as demons and therefore established as threats. Reprint. 60,000 first printing.