Randy White's Reviews > Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas

Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels
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's review
Mar 29, 2010

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Read in March, 2010

While I enjoyed "Beyond Belief", both the content and Dr. Pagels's writing style, I was somewhat disappointed in the lack of analysis of the Gospel of Thomas. Dr. Pagels presents decent analysis of the Gnostic movement, and places the Gospel of John within the Gnostic context, yet fails to deliver much on the Gospel of Thomas. I enjoyed her personal story and how she believes that there is more than one way to discover God, but again this book is supposed to be about the Gospel of Thomas (or so I assumed from the title). Finally, her analysis of the role of Constantine in enshrining orthodox Christianity as the religion of the late Roman Empire is cursory. She gives Constantine a pass, without noting the real role he played, the fact that as he lay dying he was baptized by an Arian bishop and not an orthodox bishop, and that the shields of his soldiers during THE pivotal battle to become Emperor may have borne the Cross on one side but ALSO bore the symbol of the Sun god on the other as he was hedging his bets. All in all a good read, but rather "light and fluffy" when it comes to the stated material it would supposedly deal with (yes, I end sentences with preposition).
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