Thursday, April 03, 2008

Chilton on Pagels and the Gnostic Gospels

In the pages of the New York Sun, New Testament scholar Bruce Chilton subjected Elaine Pagels’ 1979 bestseller The Gnostic Gospels to a bright-light re-evaluation. Among his conclusions:

"Ms. Pagels’s … anachronisms have undermined public understanding of early Christianity. Gnosticism proved to be the most powerful philosophical and religious movement of its time because it insisted without compromise that the only truth that atterstranscendsthiscorruptworld. Gnostics often denigrated women as creatures of corruption, condemned any disagreement with their teaching as materialist fantasy, and denied that sexuality had any place in the realm of spirit. Trying to turn this orientation into existentialism, or feminism, or an embrace of the world’s physicality, will only work with an extremely selective handling of the evidence, and deploys a laundered view of its subject … Gnosticism is a deeper and darker force than the revisionist scenario that makes it the prop of modern liberalism. After 30 years, it is time to move beyond the anachronism of The Gnostic Gospels."

HT: PaleoJudaica.

1 comment:

Geoff Hudson said...

Modern liberalism hardly needs propping up by gnosticism. I am heartily sick of the liberalism promoted by politicians, lawyers and sociologists. The UK is absolutely hamstrung by liberal, legalistic political correctness.

As for connecting gnosticism with 'deeper and darker forces', what kind of imagination is that today? Would Chilton would have Pagel's on a ducking stool?