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. She will talk about her new book with fellow scholar of religion, Wallace Best.
The questions around the role and purpose of religion took on a new urgency for Pagels when dealing with unimaginable lossthe death of her young son, followed a year later by the shocking loss of her husband. In Why Religion 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 and of exploring the spiritual dimension of human experience.
Elaine Pagels is a preeminent academic whose impressive scholarship has earned her international respect. A Professor of Religion at , Pagels is the author of The Gnostic Gospels, Beyond Belief, and Revelations, among other influential works. Wallace Best is Professor of Religion and of African American Studies at Princeton University. He is the author of Passionately Human, No Less Divine: Religion and Culture in Black Chicago, 1915-1952, and of Langstons Salvation: American Religion and the Bard of Harlem.
This event is co-sponsored by Princeton University's Humanities Council