Friday, March 07, 2008

Elaine Pagels on Mormon Response to the Gnostic Gospels

Theological scholar Elaine Pagels is the author of The Gnostic Gospels and the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University.

Here is a delightful excerpt from an interview with Elaine Pagels when she visited Utah:

A caller asked,"What do the established religions, particularly the Catholic Church or the L.D.S. Church, do they have an official position on these gospels?"

Pagels: "That's a very good question. You know when we speak of either of those churches, we are speaking about a wide range of people. Now in the Catholic Church, for the most part, there has been a lot of skepticism about these texts. They were called 'heresy' in the 2nd century, which means 'choice,' and some of the leaders of the church felt that was not a good thing for people in the congregations to have. They were excluded from the canon of the Church. There are Catholics who welcome them, who study them, who explore them, as well."

"In the L.D.S. Church actually, when I was working in Egypt 25 years ago, a scholar who is now at Brigham Young [University] was working with us, very much convinced that something like the Gospel of Philip anticipated or actually communicated some of the mysteries that were later understood within the L.D.S. Church. So there are people within that community who see these as amplifications of what we know, which is very consonant with the teaching of that church."

The rest of the interview is fabulous, listen here:

9/24/08: Jesus and the Gnostic Gospels

KUER 90.1, The University of Utah

KUER news host and producer Doug Fabrizio brings you inside the latest news and issues from Utah and around the western region with newsmaker interviews, and in-depth reports, along with your calls.

In 1945, the sacred text of one of the world's earliest Christian sects was uncovered in Upper Egypt. The discovery of the Gnostic Gospels -- including the Gospel of Thomas -- has fascinated scholars and ignited imaginations since. Preeminent theologian Elaine Pagels joins Doug Fabrizio to talk about how Christianity may have been different had these teachings of Jesus been a part of church canon from the earliest days.§ionID=184

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