Straddling the Fence. ****
This was a hard book to rate, debating between four and three stars. Pagels has written a good explanation of what the book of revelation represents but as some reviewers have said does not go as deep as she could have. At the same time I am not sure she has explained in language plain enough for the layman to fully grasp her ideas. Her discussion of church history is well done and reminded me of how little we think of the context in which early Christianity developed. Anyone who has read the apostolic fathers can appreciate her research and insight.
The only sticking point for me was when she discusses the use of Revelations in the late 19th century and includes Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons in her list of Christians.
The best part of Pagel’s writing is her discussion of the “other” writings that have been mostly ignored by traditional Christianity. Her last sentence speaks volumes to the fallacy of right wing fundamentalism–“and unlike those who insist that they have all the answers they’ll ever need, these sources invite us to recognize our own truths, to find our own voice, and to seek revelation not only past, but ongoing. ”
As Einstein said, “question everything”. Hopefully this book will spur readers to dig deeper into a book of scripture that has been misused, misunderstood, and misinterpreted by many.