Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. Elaine Pagels. Reviewed by Frank Thomas Smith. In The Gnostic Gospels, reviewed in Number 2 of Southern Cross Review. It’s clear from reading this early work by Elaine Pagels why she has become In Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, Pagels traces the interpretation of Genesis In this provocative masterpiece of historical scholarship Elaine Pagels re-creates the controversies that racked Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, Part 36, Page

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This book explores the serpen and theology of Christianity from it’s inception to the time of Augustine. The emphasis was not on any kind of ‘original sin’ until Augustine.

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: The Touchstone Archives

A lucid and succinct examination of the early Christian debate about sexuality and free will. They should also know the effort will be well-rewarded.

Most theologians of eline early church believed that human beings were created as good, and in the image of God. Christians from Paul to Jerome proclaimed their freedom from the Roman social fabric by their espousal of celibacy, and, until Constantinewere prepared to demonstrate their liberty from demonically inspired imperial persecution by their own deaths.

She has written other books to cover other aspects of the early Christian world.

Augustine’s opponents, the Pelagians were probably more rational and provide a doctrine that is more consistent not only with Bibilical scholarship, but serpenr more intellectually honest. Stay in Touch Sign up. One wonders in any event whether it is begging the question to say that people in a world characterized by ” pain, labor, and death ” have a freedom to choose good or evil as perfect as Adam’s was.

A doctrine that man was weak, fallible, and unable to govern himself was more useful to an Empire and a Catholic Church that both wanted obedience. Yet Justin, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement also agreed that Adam’s transgression did not encroach upon our own individual freedom: Apparently, we have Augustine to thank for many of the ;agels about sexuality and relationship that are alive and well in the twenty-first century–he’s the one who came up with the concept of original sin.


The Church now found itself flooded with members whose theological motivations were slight. There are undoubtedly differences of emphasis pagfls the various Epistles attributed to Paul.


Her works show the canonical and non-canonical early religious texts to be human quests for the divine and the sedpent very much like my own spiritual questions and reflections and to not only be human endeavors, but by virtue o Ms. Pagels has managed in the brief space of or so pages to tell the tale with remarkable swrpent and understanding. View all 3 comments. There were those who opposed the Augustine dogma, of course, and Pagels gives us a detailed account of the theological arguments pro and contra, fascinating reading, even today.

The Orthodox East never appropriated Augustine or assimilated his ideas into its theological development although the realities behind the Augustinian doctrine may be expressed in pagelw ways ; the cultures formed by Orthodoxy have shown an unfortunate predilection for tyranny, and movements for political liberty have Western secular origin rather than a religious basis.

That people would and still do insist on these positions demonstrates both a fear of the true nature of man and an insistence of preserving an intellectually bankrupt pagrls to central facets of the human condition. Set up a giveaway.

And she shows how what was once heresy came to shape our own attitudes toward the body and the soul. Along the way, we learn some of the history of the early Christian church and how it changed. It was an in-depth exploration into how the various interpretations of that more ancient story during the earliest days of the Christian Church came to eventually define the Church’s stance on sexual morality and it’s long and disturbing history of equating sexuality with sin.


Probably the most backward student in an elementary health class has a better understanding of the mechanics of human sexuality than did the most learned person cited by Pagels. But even this picture of consensus is given an additional twist, apart Certainly for Irenaeus the whole of creation had to be ” redone ” by Christ because of Adam’s sin, and while this may not be a doctrine of original sin in the Augustinian sense, there is clearly much more room for continuity than Pagels’ formulation of the earlier literature suggests.

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

The story of Adam and Eve, and the Serpent was written down about 3, years ago and probably told for many generations elxine that. How did Christianity change from a movement proclaiming freedom and liberation to a movement announcing human enslavement to sin? Customers who viewed this item also viewed.

Just as an example, though, of what women have been putting up with for millennia: The book was enormously enlightening, but I don’t think it helped me find “the right interpretation” any more than all that research helped Pagels. James Calendar of the Christian Year. Touchstone is published by All content The Fellowship of St.

Because they are clearly without sin