Elaine Pagels — American Historian born on February 13, 1943,

Elaine Pagels, née Hiesey, is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she is best known for her studies and writing on the Gnostic Gospels. Her popular books include The Gnostic Gospels, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, The Origin of Satan, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity, and Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation... (wikipedia)

Throughout the ages, Christians have adapted John of Patmos's visions to changing times, reading their own social, political and religious conflicts into the cosmic war he so powerfully evokes. Yet his Book of Revelation appeals not only to fear and desires for vengeance but also to hope.
For nearly 2,000 years, most people assumed that the only sources of tradition about Jesus and his disciples were the four gospels in the New Testament.
The author of the Gospel of Judas wasn't against martyrdom, and he didn't ever insult the martyrs. He said it's one thing to die for God if you have to do that. But it's another thing to say that's what God wants, that this is a glorification of God.
There are some kinds of Christianity that insist you have to believe literally in doctrine. The Gnostic gospels open out the complexity and multiplicity of approaches to this. If you think the story of the virgin birth is mistranslated, for instance, it doesn't mean you have to throw out the whole thing.
The Secret Revelation of John opens, again, in crisis. The disciple John, grieving Jesus' death, is walking toward the temple when he meets a Pharisee who mocks him for having been deceived by a false messiah. These taunts echoed John's own fear and doubt.

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