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Critique and Apologetics

Jews, Christians and Pagans in Antiquity

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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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For the Sake of a 'Rational Worship': The Issue of Prayer andCult in Early Christian Apologetics 231

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For the Sake of a 'Rational Worship': The Issue of Prayer and Cult in Early Christian Apologetics Lorenzo Perrone "Eine Säkularisierung, die nicht vernichtet, vollzieht sich im Modus der Übersetzung" Jürgen Habermas 1. By Way of Introduction: An Embarrassing Question Dealing with early Christian apologetics generally implies some uneasiness, if one is aiming for greater insight into the religious ex- perience of Christian communities at that time. Starting with Franz Overbeck's famous characterization of these writings as the first ex- pression of ancient Christian literature, though dressed in profane forms for a profane public, we are led to regard apologetic literature as a kind of Mischwesen.' It is not simply a question of literary gen- re - whose problematic unity, according to Jean-Claude Fredouille, can at best be conceived of only in a 'polymorphic' form - but rather of the 'thing' itself, I mean the apologetic discourse as such.2 There is a seemingly unavoidable limitation in it, insofar as the act of presenting reasons for faith (1Petr 3:15) in response to accusa- 1 F. Overbeck, Über die Anfänge der patristischen Literatur, in: HZ 48 (1882), 412-472, repr. Darmstadt 1964. 2 J.-C. Fredouille, L'apologffique chrffienne antique. Naissance d'un genre litteTaire, in: REAug 38 (1992), 219-234; id., L'apologffique chraienne antique. Wtamorphoses d'un genre polymorphe, in: REAug 41 (1995), 201-216; cf. also A. Cameron, Apologetics in the Roman Empire. A Genre of Intolerante?, in: J.-M. Carriez / R. Lizzi Testa (eds.), "Humana sapit". Etudes d'antiquiM tardive offertes ä Lellia Cracco...

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