Princeton Journey to Egypt
Africa Winter River
January 24 - February 06, 2023

Ancient Egypt and the Nile River

Elaine Pagels, Harrington Spear Paine Professor at Princeton University

Elaine Pagels, a historian of religion, is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor at Princeton University and an Aspen Institute Trustee. Pagels joined the Princeton faculty in 1982, shortly after receiving a MacArthur Fellowship. Perhaps best known as the author of “The Gnostic Gospels,” “The Origin of Satan,” and “Adam, Eve and the Serpent,” she has published widely on Gnosticism and early Christianity, and continues to pursue research interests on topics that include sexuality and politics, visions, and the origins of Christian anti-semitism. Her most recent books include “Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas” (was on The New York Times best-seller list) and “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation” (2012). In 2013 she received an honorary law degree from her alumni, Harvard University, and, in 2016, the National Medal for the Arts from President Barack Obama.

On this journey, Professor Pagels will describe the significance of the Gnostic texts found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945.

About the Journey

Follow the course of the Nile River into the very heart of ancient civilizations on a 14-day exploration of Egypt’s rich heritage. Go in depth to learn about the unparalleled architectural and engineering skills of master pyramid builders and enjoy unique behind-the-scenes peeks at archaeological sites. Among the many highlights of this itinerary are the Great Pyramids and special private access to the paws of the Sphinx of Giza; the brand new, soon-to-be-opened Grand Egyptian Museum; the Valley of the Kings, with specially arranged access to Queen Nefertari’s Tomb; the fabulous Temple of Karnak complex; and the colossal statues of Ramesses II and his favorite queen at Abu Simbel. The academic highlight of the journey will be a series of lectures from preeminent historian of religion Elaine Pagels who will discuss her research and publication involving the ancient Nag Hammadi texts discovered on the west bank of the Nile in 1945 and an introduction to the history of the Coptic Church in Egypt.

Accommodations are deluxe and memorable with a luxurious seven nights on board the 5-star Nile Adventurer, bookended by two unique stays in Cairo at the legendary Mena House Hotel and the Four Seasons First Residence.

Please note: Princeton travelers will be joined by participants from Yale University.


This journey is currently waitlist only. Join the waitlist here and we will reach out to you if space becomes available, or take a look at our December 7-20, 2023, departure of the same itinerary.

Trip Details