Revelations by Elaine Pagels

76%

16 Critic Reviews

The meaning of the Apocalypse is ever malleable and ready to hand for whatever crisis one confronts. That is one lesson of Pagels’s book. Another is that we all should be vigilant to keep some of us from using the vision for violence against others.
-NY Times

Synopsis

A profound exploration of the Bible's most controversial book—from the author of Beyond Belief and The Gnostic Gospels
 
The strangest book of the New Testament, filled with visions of the Rapture, the whore of Babylon, and apocalyptic writing of the end of times, the Book of Revelation has fascinated readers for more than two thousand years, but where did it come from? And what are the meanings of its surreal images of dragons, monsters, angels, and cosmic war?
            Elaine Pagels, New York Times bestselling author and "the preeminent voice of biblical scholarship to the American public" (The Philadelphia Inquirer), elucidates the true history of this controversial book, uncovering its origins and the roots of dissent, violence, and division in the world's religions. Brilliantly weaving scholarship with a deep understanding of the human needs to which religion speaks, Pagels has written what may be the masterwork of her unique career.
 

About Elaine Pagels

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ELAINE PAGELS is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University and the author of Reading Judas, The Gnostic Gospels —winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award—and the New York Times bestseller Beyond Belief. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
 
Published March 6, 2012 by Penguin Books. 257 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Mar 25 2012
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Critic reviews for Revelations
All: 16 | Positive: 12 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Excellent
Feb 01 2012

Pagels’ compelling, carefully researched analysis brings to life the multitude of factions that quickly arose in the nascent Christian community after the death of Jesus.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dale B. Martin on Apr 06 2012

The meaning of the Apocalypse is ever malleable and ready to hand for whatever crisis one confronts. That is one lesson of Pagels’s book. Another is that we all should be vigilant to keep some of us from using the vision for violence against others.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Mar 20 2012

. . .a slim book that packs in dense layers of scholarship and meaning.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Jan 09 2012

Pagels offers a sharp, accessible, and perceptive interpretation of one of the Bible’s most divisive books.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Ron Charles on Mar 06 2012

What I miss, though, is a fuller reflection on the inspirational power of "Revelation."

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Boston.com

Excellent
Reviewed by EJ Dionne on Apr 08 2012

Pagels writes clearly, engagingly, and precisely.

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Salon

Excellent
Reviewed by Laura Miller on Mar 04 2012

. . .an elegant, sensitive effort to place the Book of Revelation in its mystical, historical and — above all — political context.

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The New Yorker

Excellent
Reviewed by Adam Gopnik on Mar 05 2012

Pagels is an absorbing, intelligent, and eye-opening companion

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The Seattle Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Kimberly Hartnett on Apr 07 2012

. . .not as accessible as Pagels' earlier work. She does not prepare the nonacademic reader well enough for the journey ahead.

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Philly.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Hal Taussig on Mar 11 2012

Pagels' book is a readable and richly informing picture of Christianity's initial centuries.

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Journey With Jesus

Below average
Reviewed by Dan Clendenin

I can't imagine Pagels would endorse the idea, but she makes it sound like it's impossible to be wrong.

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San Francisco Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Alan Scherstuhl on Feb 29 2012

The result is an exciting, accessible read, a welcome corrective, and the rare book that offers exactly what its title promises.

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The University of Chicago Divinity School

Excellent
Reviewed by Martin Marty on Mar 05 2012

Pagels does justice to the "near miss" character of the Revelation of John that made it into the canon.

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Dubious Disciple

Below average
Reviewed by Lee Harmon on Mar 17 2012

I loved the book, but I can’t help contributing my two cents. I disagree with her approach to interpretation. . .

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The Jewish Week

Good
Reviewed by Eric Herschthal on Feb 28 2012

. . .Pagels’ book has quite a bit to say about Jewish life, circa 70 CE.

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Reading Acts

Below average
Reviewed by Philip Long on Mar 23 2012

. . .there are a number of places in the book where rather strong assertions are made which have no basis in an ancient text.

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