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Critique and Apologetics

Jews, Christians and Pagans in Antiquity


Edited By Jörg Ulrich, David Brakke and Anders-Christian Jacobsen

This book contains 13 contributions from an international conference held in 2007. The idea of the conference was to investigate the confrontations and the cultural, philosophical and religious exchange between different religious groups in antiquity and to establish a more comprehensive theory about what apologetics was considered to be both in the context of antiquity and from the perspective of modern scholarship: is it possible to define a literary genre called apologetics? Is it possible to talk about apologetics as a certain kind of discourse which is not limited to a special kind of texts? Which argumentative strategies are implied in apologetic discourses? The essays in this volume present a new approach to these questions.


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Truth Begs No Favours - Martyr-Literature and Apologetics 177


Truth Begs No Favours1 - Martyr-Literature and Apologetics Jakob Engberg 1. Introduction - The Problem Governors of The Roman Empire, seated as you are before the eyes of all, in almost the highest position in the state to pro- nounce judgment: if you are not allowed to conduct an open and public examination and inquiry as to what the real truth is with regard to the Christians; if in this case your authority either fears or blushes to conduct a public investigation with the care demanded by justice; if finally, as happened lately in domestic trials, a reckless hatred of our school has blocked the way for a defence, then let the Truth reach your ears by the stealthy avenue of silent literature. 2 In the first Chapter of Tertullian's Apologeticum, the apologist thus claims that he has written his apology and addressed it to the gover- nors of the Roman Empire as a substitute for a speech for the defence in court. To my knowledge, no one would argue that Tertullian wrote his apology with this single purpose in mind and solely for such a limited audience of high ranking magistrates. The question of whom the apologists wrote their works for and why they wrote them is much more complicated.3 But assuming for a moment the addressing Allusion to Tert., apol. 1.2. 2 Tert., apol. 1.1. 3For well-argued views that most apologies proper were in fact written to and sent to the addressees (i.e. Roman emperors and magistrates), see...

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