January 13, 2020

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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Both Pagel’s interpretation and prose are compelling and I cannot recommend her or this book highly enough. The Book of Genesis is only about four pages long but its interpretation has arguably had more impact on the character of Western views on sin and serent than any other document.

It was not until Nestorius denied the true humanity and the true divinity that the hypostatic union was defined. But it was Augustine who came up with the idea evve original sin and the fact that neither death nor sex are natural, but are punishments for Adam’s sin. Augustine, whose views eventually became dogma, derived many of his ideas from this story: View all 3 comments.

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

Adam, Page,s, and the SerpentPart 36, Page It seems, anyone can find support for anything in the Bible and that was more true before the “orthodox” church around a. The pastoral Epistles, which praise family life, Timothy and Titus, are dismissed by Pagels as pseudo-Pauline and therefore implicitly not authoritative, because they characterize the ideal bishop as a patriarch who rules his family well and therefore proves himself able to rule the family of God, the Church.


If I were to make any critiques, it would be that she all but ignores the church’s split between the Greek East and the Latin West, which — although still informal at the time of Augustine — was far more important in understanding why Eastern fathers like John Chrysostom differed so strongly from Augustine on issues like human nature than Pagels gives it credit for. Reviewed by Frank Thomas Smith.

What many may find most objectionable is the questions she raises regarding Augustine’s theology, a Pagels work is hard to define much less analyze and provide a rating of. So where does the sex part of this adn come in?

The book is a little denser in terms of its scholarship than other Pagels books. They have seen in the dark picture of human nature that Augustine drew the negative image of the great salvation they had received.

Such a spur to inventiveness naturally gave rise to widely variant readings. The book is chronologically linear, beginning with attitudes toward sexual morality during the time of Jesus of How did Christianity change from a movement proclaiming freedom and liberation to a movement announcing human enslavement to sin? It’s almost —Order your calendar today!

Some thr the quotes are pretty amusing and bizarre–especially the one about Adam’s sin being perpetuated via semen–LOL! Sep 10, Kristina rated aam it was amazing Shelves: Simply put, it bolstered the Church. Pagels Vintage Books ;agels, – Religion – pages 10 Reviews https: They believed that certain natural “evils,” like death and pain, were inherent to the created order, but that individual “evils,” like murder and adultery, were entirely of our own volition.

Elaine Pagels is a preeminent figure in the theological community whose scholarship has earned her international respect. The Church now found itself flooded with members whose theological motivations were slight.

Adam, had he not sinned, would have been immortal, pure, and it was argued a virgin. Human beings are incapable of self rule, not in any genuinely good way. The story of Adam and Eve, pagelx the Serpent was written down about 3, years ago and probably told for many generations before that.


After the passions of debate died down, the vast majority of Christians accepted the formulations of the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation. Most of the time is spent discussing Augustine, his views, those who opposed him, and why his views eventually dominated.

However, before these doctrines were defined by the early ecumenical councils, many theologians and even some passages in Scripture used language that sounds like Arianism, Nestorianism, monotheletism, or other heresies. Pagels performs this service for the peculiarly Catholic practices of consecrated virginity and celibacy. The outlook darkened and theology shifted.

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

Christ alone is born without this sin, this libido. It is frustrating to read, because the realization comes that so much of this discussion and infighting formed ideologies that are clung to today, thousands of years later.

Even the abolition of hated tyranny has a dark side. Aug 18, Robert Mitchell rated it really liked it. From the Winter, issue of Touchstone. Some scholars, especially liberal ones, have questioned whether Paul really wrote all the Epistles attributed to him.

Yet women will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and sserpent, with modesty. Some other quotes which I found quite pertinent: