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New Book – Christian Apologetics Past and Present: A Primary Source Reader

September 4, 2009

9781581349061m

Christian Apologetics Past and Present: A Primary Source Reader, by Edgar, William; Oliphint, K. Scott

This is an exciting new title for apologetic studies.  I don’t know of another resource quite like this one.  Here is the description:

An unprecedented anthology of apologetics texts with selections from the first century AD through the Middle Ages. Includes introductory material, timelines, maps, footnotes, and discussion questions.

The apostle Peter tells us always to be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks us to account for our hope as Christians (1 Peter 3:15). While the gospel message remains the same, such arguments will look different from one age to another.

In the midst of a recent revival in the field of apologetics, few things could be more useful than an acquaintance with some of these arguments for the Christian belief through the ages. This first of two proposed volumes features primary source documents from the time of the early church (100-400) and the Middle Ages (400-1500). Featured apologists include Aristides, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas.

The authors provide a preface to each major historical section, with a timeline and a map, then an introduction to each apologist. Each primary source text is followed by questions for reflection or discussion purposes.

Some endorsements:

“The texts here assembled are ‘classics’-not in the sense that they answer all legitimate questions about Christianity, but that, when they were written, they made their readers think hard about the faith, and that they continue to do so today. This is a most worthy collection.”
– Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

“For years I have wanted a book of primary sources in apologetics to use in my classes. Now we have an excellent one in this volume. Editors Edgar and Oliphint have made good choices in the selections used. A number of them are fascinating pieces rarely considered today, but timely, such as Raymond Lull’s critique of Islam.”
– John Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

“In an age of historical amnesia such as ours is, nothing could be more helpful than to know how the church, in its long march through time, has addressed the opponents of Christian faith. This collection is superbly done and will bring much needed wisdom to our own times.”
– David F. Wells, Distinguished Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“Understanding apologetics as explicating, affirming, and vindicating Christianity in the face of uncertainty and skepticism, Edgar and Oliphint have skillfully selected the best pre-Reformation sources to introduce us to this ongoing task. Their volume, the first of two, fills a gap in scholarly resources and highlights the strength, wisdom, and solidity of defenders of the faith in earlier times.”
– J. I. Packer, Board of Governors Professor of Theology, Regent College

“This reader on the classical traditions of Christian apologetics is, to my knowledge, unmatched in basic compendia. It will equip and encourage thoughtful Christians to develop equally compelling defenses of the faith in our post-Enlightenment, post- Romantic, post-Postmodern era where global interdependencies plunge many into new varieties of suspicion, contempt, and hostility that demand reasonable and faith-filled encounter, dialogue, and debate.”
– Max L. Stackhouse, De Vries Professor of Theology and Public Life Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary

“Bill Edgar, one of evangelicalism’s most valued scholars and apologists, has given us in this work with Scott Oliphint a classic destined to be used for generations. I highly recommend it to all who are called to defend the faith.”
– Chuck Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship

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