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In Defence of Christianity

Early Christian Apologists


Jakob Engberg, Anders-Christian Jacobsen and Jörg Ulrich

In Defence of Christianity examines the early Christian apologists in their context in thirteen articles divided in four parts. Part I provides an introduction to apology and apologetics in antiquity, an overview of the early Christian apologists, and an outline of their argumentation. The nine articles of Part II each cover one of the early apologists: Aristides, Justin, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, the author of the Letter to Diognetus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and Minucius Felix. Part III contextualises the apologists by providing an English translation of contemporary pagan criticism of Christianity and by discussing this critique. Part IV consists of a single article discussing how Eusebius depicted and used the apologists in his Ecclesiastical History.
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Apology in Context


The current volume is a translation of an anthology published in Danish and presents some of the fruits of the collective research project at Aarhus University, Jews, Christians and pagans in antiquity – Critique and apologetics.1 The editors wish to thank Gavin Weakley for the translation from Danish into English. They also express their gratitude to Beate Gienke and Nicholas Alexander Marshall who took care of all the matters of the volume´s completion, including the layout. The project Jews, Christians and pagans in antiquity – Critique and apologetics investigated the debate between various religious and cultural groups in antiquity. This exchange involved harsh criticism and heated defence as well as the conscious or unconscious adoption of those positions and arguments taken and used by other groups. The apologetic works from the second and early third century which are presented and analysed in this anthology were central in the interaction between Christians and pagans and, to a lesser extent, Jews. The volume contains, apart from this preface, thirteen articles in four parts.

Part I: Introduction

In part I, consisting of one long article, Jörg Ulrich provide an introduction to the concepts of apology and apologetics in antiquity, an overview of the early Christian apologists and their works, and a presentation of their primary lines of thought and argument. Ulrich highlights the insecure legal position of Christians, the contemporary religious diversity, and the contemporary philosophical debate and polemic as some of the key reasons for the...

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