Historian of religion Elaine Pagels awarded National Humanities Medal


Elaine Pagels, an authority on the religions of late antiquity and the author of The Gnostic Gospels and Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, received the 2015 National Humanities Medal. The announcement was made by the White House. The medal was conferred by President Barack Obama at a ceremony at the White House on Sept. 22, 2016.

The medal honors an individual or organization whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the human experience, broadened citizens’ engagement with history and literature, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to cultural resources. Pa-gels was among 12 recipients of the award.

The official citation for the award honored Pagels, who is the Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion, “for her exploration of faith and its traditions. Through her study of ancient manuscripts and other scholarly work, she has generated new interest and dialogue about our contemporary search for knowledge and meaning.”