Satan: How a fictional being still shadows our views of gender, race, and politics
Cultural historian Elaine Pagels explores stories of Satan (some amusing, some not) showing how, like his fellow extraterrestrials in science fiction, he embodies what is seen as alien and inhuman. She also explores how these ancient stories still shadow western interpretations of race, gender, and politics. About the SpeakerProfessor Elaine Pagels is best known for research and publications involving a cache of over fifty ancient Greek texts discovered in Egypt in 1945. After completing her doctorate at Harvard University she participated with an international team of scholars to edit, translate, and publish several of these texts. After publishing two monographs and several scholarly articles, she published The Gnostic Gospels, which won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Having received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship, she joined the faculty at Princeton University in 1982 as the Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion. Besides continuing to write scholarly articles and teach, she has published other books accessible to a wider audience, including Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (Random House, 1988), which explores how various Jewish and Christian readings of the Genesis accounts (c. 50-400 CE) articulate a wide range of attitudes toward sexuality and politics; The Origin of Satan: How Christians Came to Demonize Jews, Pagans, and Heretics (Random House, 1995); Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas (Random House, 2003) and most recently, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation (Viking Penguin, 2012).