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Lecture

Elaine Pagels, Why Religion? A Personal Story

Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 6:30 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | $15 per person | advance registration required

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? one of today’s most compelling thinkers on the subject 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.

Elaine Pagels is a preeminent academic whose impressive scholarship has earned her international respect. The Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University, Pagels was awarded the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Fellowships in three consecutive years. She is the author of The Gnostic Gospels, Beyond Belief, and Revelations.

Library members are also invited to join in an informal, book club-style discussion of Why Religion? on March 28.


To register, use the form below. (If you're a member, log in first.) Please click the Register button only once. The website may take a moment to process your registration and show the confirmation screen. With registration questions, contact the Events Office at 212.288.6900 x230.

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