Apols in advance for another tedious post, but I am here posting a defence of mine since it has not appeared on the blog where accusations were made against me.
After McGrath happened to swallow something that appeared on the internet and that he thought supported his arguments against mine, he wrote:
I said in the post that I’d much rather discuss the books cited and summarized in the article, rather than the article itself. But I didn’t think I could assume that any proponents of mythicism would actually have read even one of them. I’d be happy to be proven wrong about this. (Source is here)
Well, as anyone reading recent posts of mine will know, I did prove him wrong by the standard he set in this statement. He has not apologized or acknowledged this, however. Nor has he expressed the happiness he said he would enjoy if I could prove him wrong.
It turns out that I had read the books in question some years ago. And I demonstrated that he himself had not read them but had uncritically swallowed them from the internet on the naive assumption that what appeared in an internet article like wikipedia supported his views, when in fact they did not. And this is the doctor who accuses mythicits of naively swallowing things on the internet!
I quoted from one of them to point out that he was endorsing methods and authors who say that God writes books and there is indisputable evidence Peter is buried in Rome and it is scientific to believe in both biblical miracles and the miracles of saints in the Church.
Instead of acknowledging that he swallows uncritically what he reads on the internet and that I do have a more thorough background in (nonbiblical) historical studies than he has, he has written the following:
In your latest comment, you complain that the article I linked to uses sources that are half a century old. And yet a moment before that you were citing Schweitzer and von Ranke! Do you just not know when he lived, or are you unaware that your arguments don’t meet the standards you try to impose on others? This is really getting ridiculous!
Of course, this is sheer pedantry. Anyone in any longlasting reputable field knows that there certain luminaries who have set the tone and direction of methods and philosophical underpinnings of a discipline, and that while the details of their works are now obsolete, they are still cited as luminaries for the foundations of method or approach that they laid for the discipline. This is true in physical and social sciences. Meanwhile, there are of course many who publish stuff that is narrow in outlook and is never widely accepted or soon forgotten.
As for my quotation from Schweitzer, I use it to point out that even reputable biblical historians have at least acknowledged the theoretical validity of certain basic truisms that apply in any field, historical or scientific, yet are said to be “bloody weird” by at least one HJ scholar when I apply that standard logic to his own publications. This could only happen in biblical studies. If other historians get caught out like this they acknowledge their methodological error. (It is easy to get carried away by the romanticism of one’s favourite topic of investigation.) Biblical historians merely respond with “that’s bloody weird”. (I have posted the case studies backing this statement up this many times now on this blog.)
I published that reply to James on his blog, but though he says he has turned off moderation, it has not yet appeared on his blog.
I also repeated a few basic questions to him, such as asking him specifically to cite what he has read by Doherty and whether his “understanding” of Doherty’s view of the sublunar realm derives from GakuseiDon, whether he knows what Scot McKnight says about historians like him in Death of Jesus, and whether he has ever heard of E.H. Carr and G.R. Elton — milestone contributors to the history of modern historiography. He has failed to reply on my blog to any of these questions, and my repeat of the questions on his own blog has not appeared for some reason. Perhaps there is just a technical hitch.
The last time McGrath issued me a challenge was to prove E.P. Sanders had not proven the historicity of Jesus. I did so, and he went quiet and disappeared till I finally caught up with him. His only comment was that he “disagreed”.
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