Review of Elain Pagel's book "Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity"
March 2, 2014
By Robert Winer, M.D. "@robertwinermd"
To See Review on Amazon.com
"Super book for anyone interested in how the doctrine of Original Sin arose and how Jewish exegesis turned into the Catholic mode,"
In 1989, when this book was published, Pagels was the Professor of Religion at Princeton University. In my estimation, I consider her more of a religious historian than a theological religionist. So her book provides a clear historical account of how the doctrine of original sin arose from the first century through the time of Augustine. She shows how the Christian perspective on free will, sexual issues, and marriage changed over time and how this, along with the Romanization of Christianity (the merger of Church and State) changed and affected the biblical exegesis.
Also for those interested in an understanding of the Jewish roots of Christianity, the chapter on the first century points out some very interesting statements, such as the assertion that in the first century, the Jewish moral standpoint was toward multiple marriages. So she suggest that some establishment Jewish religionists used their exegesis of Genesis 1-3 (really what she means is their interpretation, read, on twist on the narrative of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent in Genesis to support their position on the issue.
A very quick read.
3/4/2014 05:00:50 pm
I don't understand the use of the word "politics" when used regarding original sin. It seems to an idea imposed on the biblical narrative that did not exist then.
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