A struggle ensued, and orthodox beliefs prevailed. Thus, one of the several, competing options elevated itself above the others and became predominant. But, far from distinguishing itself as the superior historical and theological view, orthodoxy achieved victory largely on political and social grounds. Those who disagreed with these dogmatic assumptions were simply viewed as heretics.^9

Pagels also raises other issues, such as the possible Gnostic interpretations of certain of Jesus’ teachings, and the question of deciding between the conflicting itineraries of the orthodox and Gnostic traditions. She concludes that Gnosticism remains, even today, “a powerful alternative to what we know as orthodox Christian tradition.” But, presumably, conclusions must be reached on more solid grounds than they were in the early centuries after Christ.^10