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In Defence of Christianity

Early Christian Apologists


Edited By 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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René Falkenberg

1. Introduction

Tatian may not be the most important of the early apologists, but there has been much controversy surrounding him – in his day and afterwards. This is primarily because he came to be viewed as a heretic from an early stage by Christians in the Western Roman Empire. In the East however, Tatian was seen as a significant theologian due to his Gospel harmony, the Diatessaron, being the first person to weave the four Gospels of the New Testament into one single account. Many of the Eastern churches used the Diatessaron as their standard Gospel up until the fifth century. Although Tatian was called a heretic in the West from the second century, we do not find similar statements in the East prior to the tenth century.1

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