Top positive review
A Powerfully Argued Thesis
on April 28, 2017
Brilliantly written and conceived. Attempts to explain the lack of any serious mention of the historical/Gospel Jesus in the earliest Pauline (and other) Epistles by the simple assertion that the historical Jesus did not exist. Rather, the author maintains that many people of the time were having real but visionary experiences of a divine emanation and "Son"-"Assisting Angel" to whom was given the titles of Son of Man, the Logos, the Son, the Lord, the Christ, Yahoel, and several others. The Epistles, along with other ancient literature, were peons to this mystical figure who was loved, worshiped, and experienced subjectively within the believer. This figure was considered to be real, but was not conceived to have been a human being recently crucified and raised up again in Judea. Rather, the historical/Gospel Jesus was a much later allegorization of "the Son" as "He" may have been like had he actually lived a human life as a Galilean carpenter-prophet. The heavenly Christ was thus gradually clothed and embodied by "Mark", the author of the earliest Gospel, as a sort of encouragement to believers in the nonmaterial, unworldly "Son" as to how to ideally live a good spiritual life. The author insists that Mark never meant his story to be taken literally, and that Mark certainly never had this expectation of his readers: they all knew that "the Son" was a living spirit entity, who had no, and did not require, earthly existence.
I find the author's argument from "silence" - or better yet, his argument from absence of any physical Christ in the earliest "Son" narratives, to be very impressive on its own. However, I am not fully convinced that he has completely eliminated a historical Jesus from Christian origins. I don't think that he completely addresses certain Pauline statements, such as when the apostle says that the Lord "was crucified in Sion", "by the Jews" - which means that Jewish contemporaries had crucified a real Jesus in a real city, "Sion" (Jerusalem). Paul also blames "the Jews" for murdering their own Messiah, and says that God is currently punishing them for that crime. These two charges do not seem to be describing a mythical crucifixion in heaven carried out by heavenly or at least nonmaterial "Jewish Gnostic Archons".
So I can only say that the argument from absence is impressive and needs to be seriously addressed, still there are some weak links in Doherty's overall argumentation. But the book is well worth the price.