Thich Nhat Hanh is an expatriate Vietnamese Buddhist monk, as well as a teacher, author, poet, and peace activist. Martin Luther King, Jr. nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 for his efforts to reconcile North and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Hanh was part of a movement called "engaged Buddhism", which combines traditional practices with nonviolent civil disobedience, and he was exiled by both the Communist and non-Communist governments. He is a respected writer and scholar, and founded a retreat in France called Plum Village. Hanh has written several books, including The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: An Introduction to Buddhism, Peace Is Every Step, and Living Buddha, Living Christ.
Elaine Pagels is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship best known for her studies and writing on the Gnostic Gospels. Pagels graduated from Stanford University receiving a B.A. in 1964 and an M.A. in 1965. She received a Ph.D in religion from Harvard University in 1970. She is the author of The Gnostic Gospels (1979), which won the National Book Award (Religion 1980) and the National Book Critics Circle Award (Criticism 1979). Pagels is also the author of Adam, Eve and the Serpent (1988), The Origin of Satan (1995), Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas (2003), Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity (2007), and Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation (2012).