See here for an excellent, if entirely too short, critique of Elaine Pagels’ gnosticism racket.
It’s unfortunate that such work as Pagels’ passes for scholarship these days, but with Biblical Studies in such generally shoddy shape, it’s hardly surprising. Mankowski’s critique could easily be extended throughout her Gnostic Gospels, along with her confused and nearly unreadable Adam, Eve and the Serpent, the only two of her works which I’ve forced myself to suffer through. Both are wandering and unfocused, full of paragraphs being the results of numerous derailed trains of thought, peppered with outright misrepresentation of both orthodox and gnostic texts. Mankowski describes her efforts well, here:
I am not calling for academic sanctions but, more simply, for clarification. Pagels should be billed accurately—not as an expert on Gnosticism or Coptic Christianity but as what she is: a lady novelist. Her oeuvre is that of fiction—in fact, historical romance. Had New York Times reporters sought Barbara Cartland’s views on discoveries in Merovingian religion or paleography, most of us would find it odd, but we’d expect them to make it plain that was romance, not history, in which she had the right to an opinion.