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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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Lists with This Book.

And those few words in this case are the early chapters of Genesis. You’ve got to read it if only to get the bizarre rationale that St.

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

The protestant reformers, particularly John Calvin, continued and exacerbated Augustine’s misinterpretation. Christian freedom is the assumption of a yoke more demanding, thr at the same time, through grace, far sweeter than the law of Moses: What many may find most objectionable is the questions she raises regarding Augustine’s theology, and by implication the Western Church’s theology.

As part of the government, and the Patriarch of Constantinople was to be, in effect, the imperial minister of state for religion, believers were inevitably co-opted into and made part of the corruption they had always seen in the world around them. It was better for the pope and for the roman empire if people were considered bad, that way they could justify their desire for more control over people. Especially, fve virginity women found freedom from the demands of family life.

Lengthy quotes and summaries are provided of each of them. You know the ones: Bishops were now powerful ahd. I was surprised to learn how little free will Augus A fascinating look at early Christianity and the nuanced ways that the story of the Fall has influenced theological debates for centuries and continues to influence much that we take for granted about underlying theological assumptions today.


It begins with more of the fascinating story of the Valentinian gnostics, who were so troublesome to serpenf early church.

It was also becoming clear that while the vision of Revelation might some day become real, it wasn’t going to tge in the immediately foreseeable future.

So it’s really fun to really dissect it and trace it’s effect on everything that followed. Published September 19th by Vintage first published The church fathers who identified with Augustine were Jerome, Anr and Pope Siricius of Rome who was the one who decided who was a heretic and who wasn’t.

When did the Fall of Adam become synonymous with the fall of all humanity? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Want to Read saving….

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. Random House, pp. Pagels is essentially reviewing how Christian dogma was influenced by early and later advocates of the church, and it is a fascinating picture. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Another interesting point is how faulty Augustine’s reasoning behind “Original Sin” are, especially when compared with modern scientific understanding.

Non-scholars especially should be prepared and know they are wading into a serious treatise. Gnostic Gospels was a textbook for a class, and I read many of her articles about the Nag Hammadi texts, etc.

How can people govern themselves if they’re innately sinful? Pagels in her attempt to examine the history of an idea, that of original sin, does not do a thorough enough synchronic and diachronic analysis; that is, she does not examine the argument at each stage while also showing how the very terms of the argument changed over the course of the debate.

Over the centuries how many women have been abused and subjugated, and how many have rejected Christianity because of such words? James Calendar of the Christian Year. However, in ecclesiastical circles as in Communist regimes, discussions of the past are often used as a cloak for polemics about modern problems.


Excellent insights from a scholar on the formation of the early Christian church. Death was no longer natural to man as an animal but was a punishment visited on man for his sin.

She deals with Paul’s apparent endorsement of Augustine’s view of human nature at length, one quote I thought dealt with the main pauline reference romans 5: I fear this makes me most indignant — not that the forgeries were committed, but that our worthy Christian churches continue knowingly or, more likely in the case of most clergy, ignorantly to preach lies as the truth. Vintage Books- Religion – pages.

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

Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation That is the foundation, it seems to me, on which all of her other works build. The opposite is true. Quotes from Adam, Eve, and th Original Sin is still the official doctrine of the Catholic Church and yet the weaknesses of its theological underpinnings are glaring, as revealed by Pagels.

How did the serlent Christians come to believe that sex was inherently sinful? When did this idea come about that sex is inherently sinful?

Yet, in the late fourth and fifth centuries, this message began to change. James, is to provide a place where Christians of various backgrounds can speak with one another on the basis of shared belief in the fundamental doctrines of the faith as revealed in Holy Scripture and summarized in the ancient creeds of the Church.