Jews, Christians and Pagans in Antiquity
Edited By Jörg Ulrich, David Brakke and Anders-Christian Jacobsen
Main Topics in Early Christian Apologetics 85
Main Topics in Early Christian Apologetics Anders-Christian Jacobsen 1. Introduction Based on a selection of apologetic texts I will give examples of 'main topics in early Christian apologetics'. I define 'main topics' as topics that are discussed several times in early Christian apologetic texts. I will deal with topics such as accusations of atheism, accusations of not taking part in the cult of the emperor; accusations against Chris- tianity for being a new religion without tradition, critique of the Christian's ethical standard - and the Christian's defence against such accusations. From there I will go on to discus the argumentative strategies employed by the apologists themselves in the apologetic texts. These can teil us something important about the aims and the audi- ences of the apologists and their treatises. I will, however, neither try to define who we can call apologists, nor what kind of texts we can classify as apologies. I merely note that there were probably quite a few apologists, and there were cer- tainly more than those who have written so called 'apologies'. The question of genre is a main issue in Anders Klostergaard Petersen's essay in this volume. I will restrict myself to examples from those writings which - since Eusebius (Eus., h.e. 4.8,13; 17.1; 26.1) - have been included in the 'canon' of apologies; that is for example Anis- tides; Athenagoras; Justin; Origen; Tatian and Tertullian - all except Origen' from the second century. ' Celsus' treatise against the Christians, Alethes logos, which Origen...
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