It was my very great privilege to hear Elaine Pagels lecture on two separate occasions and to spend time in conversation and discussion with her. Her book, ‘Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas’ is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the Jesus of the gospels and ‘The Gnostic Gospels’ is one of the most accessible and useful ways into the subject of non canonical material about Jesus.
The lecture given in 2013 is something which will change your whole approach to Jesus and the New Testament. It will open your mind and imagination in a wholly new way to what Jesus of Nazareth is about. Understanding that there are gospels outside of the New Testament will not diminish Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in your mind. It will cast essential light on what it is they are saying and doing.
If you have not done so before then I encourage you to listen to the In Our Time episode on the Nicene Creed. It will set the whole question of so called orthodoxy into its historical and ecclesiastical context.
New Reflections on Gospel Traditions: the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Thomas