Dr McGrath has [http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/2011/08/17/doherty-chapter-10/#comment-292699358 — link has since moved: Neil Godfrey, 22nd July 2019] responded with the following defence against my criticisms of his review:
Neil, Earl says what I quoted him as saying at the start of chapter 10, stating something that he has been saying all along, and still without providing evidence. By the end of the chapter, little has changed. The only “evidence” he offers is a claim that everyone in those days thought in such terms, and so the idea of a purely celestial Jesus ought to be read into the epistles.
I saw on your “response” (which really does nothing to respond to my substantive or methodological criticisms of what Doherty offers) that you took issue with my reference to Doherty’s assertion that Gnosticism pre-dates belief in a historical Jesus. My issues, just to be clear, are twofold. First, Doherty makes the assertion with no citation of evidence or scholarly argumentation nor even a postponement of justification until later chapters. He offers the reader no evidence, and it is simply hypocritical for mythicists to allege that mainstream scholars are depending on the work of others or not dealing with relevant evidence, and then to make unjustified assertions. But second, and perhaps more importantly, Doherty’s claim for a relatively early date for Gnosticism could indeed be argued for – but only if one accepts the legitimacy of using later evidence to deduce beliefs that may have existed in earlier times. It involves, to be frank, the same sort of deductive reasoning from evidence that mainstream scholars use regarding Jesus. And so for Doherty to make bald assertions without evidence or discussion, and to assert as true what might be deduced in a book that rejects major conclusions historians have reached using similar deduction from much clearer evidence, is not only problematic, it is hypocritical, and quite frankly bizarre.
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