Why Religion?: A Personal Story

Why Religion?: A Personal Story Review

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.

Title:Why Religion?: A Personal Story

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Clif Hostetler

    This memoir in addition to be of an account of overcoming personal tragedy, adds the unique dimension of insights of a respected historian of religion. Elaine Pagels is not only knowledgeable of the h...

  • Ron Charles

    A rare lung disease killed Elaine Pagels’s 6-year-old son, and then about a year later her husband fell to his death while mountain climbing. After that Job-like run of tragedies, no one would have ...

  • Canadian Reader

    In 1945, two years after Elaine Pagels was born in northern California, an Arab farmer on the other side of the world made a stunning discovery. In a cave near the village of Nag Hammadi in Egypt, he ...

  • M?? R????

    A rare lung disease killed Elaine Pagels’s 6-year-old son, and then about a year later her husband fell to his death while mountain climbing. After that Job-like run of tragedies, no one would have ...

  • Rebecca

    (3.5) Pagels is a religion scholar best known for her work on the Gnostic Gospels of the Nag Hammadi library, such as the Gospel of Thomas. She grew up in a nonreligious Californian household, but joi...

  • Eilonwy

    Elaine Pagels is fairly well-known for her writing about early Christianity, especially the Gnostic Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas. This memoir doesn’t so much answer the question of “Why have r...

  • Holly

    I've been reading Elaine Pagels since 1990, the summer after my sophomore year in college. I remember stealing little reading breaks while canvassing for Greenpeace in Kansas City. I'd sit on the gras...

  • Mary Novaria

    Elaine Pagels is clearly more comfortable addressing her chosen field of study than she is writing about her own personal struggles. While she outlines the horrific tragedies of losing her young son a...

  • Peter Mcloughlin

    You might be put off by the authors focus on her biography in the beginning. It may come off as boomer navel-gazing that may annoy some readers. Be patient. The book gets much better as it goes on it...

  • Charlene

    This short book may have deserved an extra star. I felt I was handicapped by not having read any of her works. Book is both a personal and academic memoir -- Pagels, coming from a non-believing family...