Elaine Pagels on the Victoria Moran Podcast

Elaine Pagels: Why Religion?

Listen to this episode on your favorite podcast platform:


Noted scholar of the history of religions, Elaine Pagels describes her own spiritual life as one of music, nature, friendship, and love. The author of books including The Gnostic Gospels, The Gospel of Thomas, and the memoir Why Religion? shares about her life — why she took up the study of religion as an academic discipline, how she navigated the death of her six-year-old and her beloved husband within a single year, and how she sees life and faith today. Some tidbits: “Bach and Aretha Franklin came out of the church … What matters to me is not what you believe, but how you relate to reality … That openness to something unexpected is what transforms people.”

Mentioned in this episode: Eunice Wong, voiceover artist who reads Pagels’ book Why Religion? in its Audible version and who is the author’s yoga teacher; (Wong was on an earlier episode of this podcast. … The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, by William James … OneSpirit Interfaith Seminary … Spiritualist community in Upstate New York: Lily Dale.

About our guest:

To learn more about Elaine Pagels, visit her website: https://www.elaine-pagels.com

Amazon author page: https://tinyurl.com/pagelsamazon.


Pretend that you live in a society in which women are valued more as time goes by, and create a mini-culture around you of people who actually do that.

—from Younger by the Day

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