Why Religion?: A Personal Story by Elaine Pagels

#BookBuzz Why Religion?: A Personal Story by Elaine Pagels


Why is religion still around in the twenty-first century? Why do so many still believe? And how do various traditions still shape the way people experience everything from sexuality to politics, whether they are religious or not? In Why Religion? Elaine Pagels looks to her own life to help address these questions.



These questions took on a new urgency for Pagels when dealing with unimaginable loss—the death of her young son, followed a year later by the shocking loss of her husband. Here she interweaves a personal story with the work that she loves, illuminating how, for better and worse, religious traditions have shaped how we understand ourselves; how we relate to one another; and, most importantly, how to get through the most difficult challenges we face.

Drawing upon the perspectives of neurologists, anthropologists, and historians, as well as her own research, Pagels opens unexpected ways of understanding persistent religious aspects of our culture.



A provocative and deeply moving account from one of the most compelling religious thinkers at work today, Why Religion? explores the spiritual dimension of human experience.



“A minimalist work of great majesty, akin to a shimmering Agnes Martin Painting, whose stripped-down aesthetic allows light to pour forth from her canvas.” —New York Times Book Review
“Looks back on a rich life of learning, writing, loving, seeking truth and, inevitably, suffering. . . achingly beautiful . . . Readers of all faiths and none can learn from her brilliance and courage.”—Dallas Morning News



From the Author


Elaine Pagels is a preeminent academic whose impressive scholarship has earned her international respect. The Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University, Pagels was awarded the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Fellowships in three consecutive years. She is the author of The Gnostic Gospels,Beyond Belief, and Revelations.

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