Pagels’ sympathies clearly lie with the small religious communities that had sprung up throughout the region (though particularly in Egypt) in Athanasius’ time. These are the inward-looking, simple-living mystics who incorporated into their Christian worship spiritual ideas and practices from all over the ancient world and who preserved the gnostic texts found at Nag Hammadi. Some of those texts are as weird and visionary as the Book of Revelation, and some are far more beautiful, egalitarian and inspiring to many modern eyes. But they were not politically useful, and the Book of Revelation was. So it ended up in the New Testament and they did not. And there it remains, at the end of the Bible, providing fodder for bad Demi Moore movies and disastrously misconceived Mideast policies to this very day.John would have hated to be blamed for bad Demi Moore movies.
Background here and links.