Elaine Pagels is an American religious historian who is best known for her work on Gnostic and early Christian texts. She is the Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion at Princeton University. Pagels has conducted extensive research on the Nag Hammadi texts and her publications, including 'The Gnostic Gospels' (1979), have garnered critical acclaim and widespread readership, contributing significantly to the study of early Christianity and Gnosticism.
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This book explores the findings of the Nag Hammadi library, a collection of gnostic texts discovered in 1945. The author examines these texts, which were excluded from the canonical Bible, and discusses their implications for our understanding of early Christianity. The book delves into the diversity of beliefs in early Christian communities, the role of women in these groups, and the political and theological reasons behind the formation of the orthodox Christian canon.