Annal: 1980 National Book Award for Religion/Inspirational

Results of the National Book Award in the year 1980.

Book:The Gnostic Gospels

The Gnostic Gospels

Elaine Pagels

In 1945 an Egyptian peasant unearthed what proved to be the Gnostic Gospels, thirteen papyrus volumes that expounded a radically different view of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ from that of the New Testament. In this spellbinding book, renowned religious scholar Elaine Pagels elucidates the mysteries and meanings of these sacred texts both in the world of the first Christians and in the context of Christianity today.

With insight and passion, Pagels explores a remarkable range of recently discovered gospels, including the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, to show how a variety of “Christianities” emerged at a time of extraordinary spiritual upheaval. Some Christians questioned the need for clergy and church doctrine, and taught that the divine could be discovered through spiritual search. Many others, like Buddhists and Hindus, sought enlightenment—and access to God—within. Such explorations…[more]

Book:A Severe Mercy

A Severe Mercy

Sheldon Vanauken

Sheldon and Davy Vanauken knew at once that they shared the most rare of loves. Basing their lives on a dogma of complete sharing and a unselfish focus on what was best for both, they created what they dubbed the “ Shining Barrier” to safeguard their tiny, self-sufficient world of two from everything else. Then an Oxford don named C.S. Lewis came into their lives, bringing with him a Christianity unlike that which they had scorned years before, and they started to wonder if they were as untouchable by the world as they had once thought. When both became Christians, their love continued, stronger than ever. But when Davy became fatally ill, everything they thought they understood was again called into question.

A Severe Mercy is Sheldon’ s story of the love he and Davy shared and his struggle to cope with her sickness and death. His journey of theological exploration is buttressed throughout by remarkable letters from C.S. Lewis that offer compassion and theological insight, as well as a penetrating glimpse into Lewis’ own burgeoning relationship with Joy Davidman, a relationship that would in many ways parallel that of Sheldon and Davy.

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