In 1945 fifty-two papyrus texts were found concealed in an earthenware jar buried in the Egyptian desert. They turned out to be early Christian writings, some dating all the way back to the first few centuries AD. Elaine Pagels, a historian of religion at Princeton University, has dedicated her life to studying and interpreting these texts and it turns out that there are some surprisingly powerful connections between some of the teachings in these ancient texts and the doctrines of the Restored Gospel.
In this episode, Zach Davis spoke with Elaine about her life and research, the importance of wrestling with the big questions of existence, and how religion can open transformative new relationships and perspectives.
Elaine Pagels is a historian of religion and the Harrington Spear Paine Professor at Princeton University. Her ground-breaking books include The Gnostic Gospels, The Origin of Satan, and the New York Times best-seller Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas. Her most recent book tells her own story and why she loves investigating the history of religion: Why Religion? A Personal Story.