The Origin of Satan characters é 4

Download ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ¼ Elaine Pagels

Download ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ¼ Elaine Pagels From the religious historian whose The Gnostic Gospels won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award comes a dramatic interpretat. My senior year of college I actually took a class with Professor Pagels on the history of early Christianity We started with other break away Jewish sects at the same time as the beginning of Christianity such as the Essenes continued through each gospel as they were written longer and longer after Jesus' death and ended soon after the defeat of the Gnostic movement It was a great class Pagels is both brilliant and warm and while she has some fairly sophisticated thoughts she wants to share she does so in a way that is both interesting and easy to graspThis book is essentially a Cliff's Notes of that classWhich would be great except that isn't at all what the title or cover synopsis promised There's almost nothing about Satan here at all really I think I'd been expecting a detailed description of the early Hebrews' thoughts on hell and angelology and how that morphed into the very detailed imagery that modern Christians have of Satan his history and his motivations What this actually turned out to be is a description of how the Christians rallied themselves again and again by uniting against an exterior enemy whether that be fellow Jews at first then pagans and finally fellow Christians She maps this Othering by using the occasional touchstone of who it is the writing in uestion says has been motivated by Satan So there's a thread of Satan running through the book but it really isn't the point The real point is how different generations of Christians retold Christ's life and teachings through the lens of their own experiences and how that influenced both the way the four gospels were each written and also which gospels ended up being canonical and which became hereticalWhich is interesting but a little disjointed In the class we spent a substantial amount of time discussing Marcus Aurelius and his philosophy the differences between the gospels of Mary Thomas Philip and others the document and So to me at least her ten page diversions on each made some sense in context But I'm not sure they would to someone coming to this cold We were supposed to be talking about Satan how did we meander over to a Stoic Roman emperor Why are we discussing the details of Pilate's career Most of the Nag Hammadi texts don't even mention Satan why is there a whole chapter on themIn the introduction Pagels mentions that the bulk of the text originated as academic papers that were repurposed for a general audience The repurposing works fine on a page by page level this is perfectly clear However I think where the seams show is the fact that the overarching theme appears to have been grafted on possibly because the publisher thought the title was sexy There are a bunch of interesting discussions in this book but I can't help but feel that it's mostly shortened versions of some of Pagel's other books trimmed down and crammed into one work with a fragile thread failing to hold them all together

Summary The Origin of Satan

The Origin of Satan characters é 4 õ ❄ [EPUB] ✼ The Origin of Satan By Elaine Pagels ➝ – From the religious historian whose The Gnostic Gospels won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award comes a dramatic interpretation of Satan and his role on the Christia From the relig Ion of Satan and his role on the Christian tradition With magisterial learning and the elan of a born storyteller Pagels turns Satan's story into an audacious. Let me get this out of the way right up front I can't think of the title of this book without the Church Lady from the heyday of Saturday Night Live popping into my brain And now she's in yours too You're welcomeSo Who is Satan A fallen angel The great adversary of God Saddam Hussein's bitch If nothing else Satan is the great scapegoat the one on whom we tend to pile all our troubles Your church is running out of money Satan Your kid is doing drugs and listening to that awful hip hop music Satan ueers getting married Definitely SatanFor some Satan is an actual being a true agent of evil whose purpose is to ruin all that God has made For others Satan is a symbolic representation of the evil inherent in the human condition an abstract form made real in order to better understand it In other words there are as many versions of Satan as there are people who invoke himBut how did the whole Satan thing get started Where did he come from and how did we get to the Satan that we all know and loathe today That's what Elaine Pagels was determined to find out when she wrote this book While most of the book focuses on the New Testament and a history of the early Christian church it was the ancient history of Satan that I found most interesting mainly because it concurred with a pet theory that I've had for a long time Satan was never an enemy of God Satan was God's uality control guy It was his job to look for weaknesses in the system to probe Humanity for its faults and flaws so that it could be made better Thus the serpent in the garden which just as a note was never actually revealed to be Satan and especially the story of Job where God allows Job's life to be ruined on a bet My guess was that he won a nice crisp one dollar billThe Satan of Olde was an agent of God there to make sure that things went the way they were supposed to He caused trouble he stirred things up yes but that was his job Much like the office manager that you despise because he always harps on you for checking your Facebook account during company time even though you both know there's nothing better to do right now but he just enjoys watching you suffer and enforcing his stupid little rules That guy is at least in his own mind working for the greater good of the company He may be a dick you may wish great misfortune heaped on him and his progeny but he's doing the job he was given to doSounds great but Satan's downfall from annoying but necessary agent of God to vile and demonic enemy of god was planted a long time ago before Christianity was even on the horizon The Jewish religion from whence our concept of Satan arose has always been one of Otherness Israelites and Enemies Us and Them From its earliest days God made sure the Israelites knew that they were a small force against the world with only Him to protect them He told Abraham straight out that He would bless him and curse his enemies Therefore the descendants of Abraham had to be on constant guard from enemies both from without and within With a Satan already set in their theology as a tester and troublemaker for God it was not a far leap to look to him as the cause of the multiple troubles that the Jews had over the years Around the time of Christ the Essenes were a distillation of that concept They were a small Jewish sect a minority within a minority which believed that they were the only true Jews and that everyone else had gone soft The Jewish majority was corrupt led astray from the true path to God probably by SatanWhen the Christians showed up a minority with an even tenuous existence than the Essenes they found this concept very useful Telling their story from the point of view of an embattled minority they found Satan to be a very useful opponent against whom their Messiah could fight He was an excellent symbol that stood not only for the earthly conflict that was taking place between the Christians Romans and Jews but a greater spiritual conflict that involved all humankind in a battle between good and evil Pagels' basic thesis is that the concept of Satan whatever else it may be was used to not only encourage persecution of The Other Jews and pagans to be precise but to also keep the Christians themselves in line The book is actually a history of the early Christian movement and how that history was reflected in the writing of the Gospels In fact just like in the Bible Satan doesn't really appear much in this book Rather Pagels looks at how the early Christian movement fought for its survival against enemies without and within and then how Satan became a spiritual catch all for those who disagreed with themIt's a fascinating analysis of the early days of the Church and just how chaotic and tumultuous it was There were so many churches with so many different interpretations of Jesus' life and death so many Gospels being written and so many opinions on the very nature of God's universe that it's surprising the whole thing managed to come together to be the world's largest religionWhat's it shed some light on something that's always annoyed me the persecution complex that so many Christians have The best time to catch this is in December when pundits in the States start going off about the War on Christmas as though the last twelve Christians in the country were holed up inside the Topeka Christmas Shanty with shotguns and eggnog Every time a judge tells a town that they can't have the Ten Commandments on the lawn of their town hall or a Wal Mart tells employees to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas there is always a vocal group of Christians who claim that they're being persecuted and that they're on the edge of extinction All this despite the fact that Christianity is the most popular religion in the world that there are Christians in Congress than any other religion and that every single President in US history has been Christian Despite all that there seems to be a knee jerk need to feel persecutedThis book offered a very good reason why this is because that was how the religion was founded and it is the fundamental narrative of Jesus' story If Jesus had been part of the Jewish majority his story would have ended very differently no matter how radical his ideas The early church was born of persecution first from the Jews and Romans and when they were no longer a danger from pagans and heretics And under all that the hand that is always set against them is Satan As long as Satan is there the Christians will always have someone there to persecute them Without that cosmic deathless opponent Jesus becomes just another political rabblerouser executed by Rome Certainly no Messiah would have allowed himself to die unless it was a gambit in a much greater game against a much powerful opponent Without Satan and the relentless threat attributed to him and by extension those who are seen to ally with him Jesus's sacrifice becomes meaningless and the whole religion follows with it It's a fascinating book and a great look at the early days of the Church If you're into that kind of thing go pick it upMany thanks to my mom and stepdad who pointed my attention towards it How after all could anyone claim that a man betrayed by one of his own followers and brutally executed on charges of treason against Rome not only was but still is God's appointed Messiah unless his capture and death were as the gospels insist not a final defeat but only a preliminary skirmish in a vast cosmic conflict now enveloping the universe Elaine Pagels The Origin of Satan

Elaine Pagels ¼ 4 Summary

The Origin of SatanExploration of Christianity's shadow side in which the gospel of love gives way to irrational hatreds that continue to haunt Christians and non Christians alik. Elaine Pagels has a way of presenting the history of the early Christian community that makes it accessible to non scholars She presents a whole picture of the political cultural religious and sociological climates of the first 2 centuries after Jesus' death Her insights come from much research into all the literature of the time which was immensely augmented upon the discovery of the Nag Hammadi scrolls found in the 40's In this volume she carefully reviews the writings of the 4 gospels with an eye to the use of the figure of Satan In the intro she writes What interests meare specifically social implications of the figure of Satan how he is invoked to express human conflict and to characterize human enemies within our own religious traditions Whereas fallen angels and demons are virtually absent in the Hebrew Bible the devil as we think of him makes a strong showing in new Testament literature She makes a case that the early Christians saw themselves as victims and so needed to 'dehumanize' enemies by portraying themselves as part of a cosmic battle between light and darkness; John's gospel or God and the devil I have to agree that this almost paranoid aspect of Christianity is not only built in but disturbing However she points out that Christianity has also produced those that oppose the paranoid viewpoint that 'the other' is evil Many Christians then from the first century through Francis of Assisi in the 13th century and Martin Luther King Jr in the twentieth have believed that they stood on God's side without demonizing their opponents Their religious vision inspired them to oppose policies and powers they regarded as evil often risking their well being and their lives while praying for the reconciliation not the damnation of those who opposed them I would add Nelson Mandela and John Lewis to that list I really liked the chapters about 'Satan's Earthly Kingdom' and 'The Enemy Within' which enlightened me about Justin Martyr's and Irenaeus' and Valentinus' influences on the early church If you are interested in some of the writings left out of the official canon of the church that have come to light this would be a good book to read Or any of her books really