Feature

The Gnostic Evangelist

The Neo-Gnostic "Alternative Christianity"
of Elaine Pagels

by William J. Tighe

Elaine Pagels is Harrison Spear Pain Professor of Religion at Princeton, and is widely acknowledged, not least by the media, as one of the most renowned American academic experts on Christian origins and the early Church. She obtained her doctorate from Harvard University, where she studied under Helmut Koester. Koester, whose own Doktorvater at Marburg was Rudolf Bultmann, was himself both one of the first promoters of the importance of the Nag Hammadi discoveries for understanding the "diversity" of early Christianity and a strong proponent of the view advanced by Walter Bauer in Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity (1934)—that there was no "orthodoxy" at the . . .

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William J. Tighe is Associate Professor of History at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and a faculty advisor to the Catholic Campus Ministry. He is a Member of St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.


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