More popularly but not as recently, A. Powell Davies also argued that orthodox Christianity existed in the midst of various other competing religious ideologies. After an intense struggle between such differing philosophies, orthodoxy triumphed in the third century AD.^6 Thesis of Pagels

Elaine Pagels advanced a related thesis in her volume The Gnostic Gospels,^7 in which she brought some of the conclusions of various esoteric discussions to the attention of the general public. She holds that the second century church included a wide variety of options, since canonical, theological and ecclesiastical views had not yet been settled. Differing texts and traditions, both Gnostic and orthodox, circulated alongside each other.^8