Apologetics: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Apologetics is the whole of the consensus of the views of those who defend a position in an argument of long standing. The term comes from the Greek word apologia (απολογία), meaning a speaking in defense.

Early Christian writers (c 120-220) who defended their faith against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called apologists.[1]

In modern times, apologists refers to authors, writers, editors or academic journals, and leaders known for defending the points in arguments, conflicts or positions that receive great popular scrutinies and/or are minority views.

Contents

Notable apologists

Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian, (ca.155–230) was a church leader and was a notable early Christian apologist. He was born, lived and died in Carthage. He was the first great writer[citation needed] of Latin Christianity, thus sometimes known as the "Father of the Latin Church". He introduced the term Trinity (Latin trinitas) to the Christian vocabulary[2] and also probably[citation needed] the formula "three Persons, one Substance" as the Latin "tres Personae, una Substantia" (itself from the Koine Greek "treis Hypostases, Homoousios"), and also the terms vetus testamentum ("old testament") and novum testamentum ("new testament").

In his Apologeticus, he was the first who qualified Christianity as the 'vera religio' ("true religion"), and symmetrically relegated the classical Empire religion and other accepted cults to the position of mere 'superstitions'.

Early uses of the term (in the first sense) include Plato's Apology (the defense speech of Socrates from his trial) and some works of early Christian apologists, such as St. Justin Martyr's two Apologies addressed to the emperor Marcus Aurelius.

An additional early use of the term, is Augustus Caesar's apologia or defense of his accomplishments as Roman Emperor inscribed outside of his tomb, at his death in 14 A.D. on pillars of bronze, called the The Deeds of the Divine Augustus (in Latin: Res Gestae Divi Augusti). They were widely copied and distributed throughout the Roman Empire. It is regarded as one of the more important apologias of the ancient world.[3]

Arngrímur Jónsson was an Icelandic scholar who wrote the book Brevis commentarius de Islandia in Latin as a "defense of Iceland" where he criticized the works of numerous authors who had written about the people and the country of Iceland.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (February 21, 1801 – August 11, 1890) was an English convert to Roman Catholicism, later made a cardinal, and in 1991 proclaimed 'Venerable'. In early life he was a major figure in the Oxford Movement to bring the Church of England back to its Catholic roots. Eventually his studies in history persuaded him to become a Roman Catholic. When John Henry Newman entitled his spiritual autobiography Apologia Pro Vita Sua in 1864, he was playing upon both this connotation, and the more commonly understood meaning of an expression of contrition or regret.

Technical usages

The term apologetics etymologically derives from the Classical Greek word apologia. In the Classical Greek legal system two key technical terms were employed: the prosecution delivered the kategoria (κατηγορία), and the defendant replied with an apologia. To deliver an apologia then meant making a formal speech or giving an explanation to reply and rebut the charges, as in the case of Socrates' defense.

This Classical Greek term appears in the Koine (i.e. common) Greek of the New Testament. The Apostle Paul employs the term apologia in his trial speech to Festus and Agrippa when he says "I make my defense" (Acts 26:2). A cognate term appears in Paul's Letter to the Philippians as he is "defending the gospel" (Philippians 1:7 & 16), and in 1 Peter 3:15 believers must be ready to give an "answer" for their faith. The word also appears in the negative in Romans 1:20: unbelievers are αναπολόγητοι (anapologētoi) (without excuse, defense, or apology) for rejecting the revelation of God in creation.

The legal nuance of apologetics was reframed in a more specific sense to refer to the study of the defense of a doctrine or belief. In this context it most commonly refers to philosophical reconciliation. Religious apologetics is the effort to show that the preferred faith is not irrational, that believing in it is not against human reason, and that in fact the religion contains values and promotes ways of life more in accord with human nature than other faiths or beliefs.

In the English language, the word apology is derived from the Greek word apologia, but its use has changed; its primary sense now refers to a plea for forgiveness for a wrong act. Implicit in this is an admission of guilt, thus turning on its head the "speaking in defense" aspect of the original concept. An uncommon secondary sense refers to a speech or writing that defends the speaker or author's position.

Christian apologetics

Christian apologetics is a field of Christian theology that aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defend the faith against objections, and expose the perceived flaws of other world views.[4] Christian apologetics have taken many forms over the centuries, starting with Paul of Tarsus, including writers such as Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas, and continuing currently with the modern Christian community, through the efforts of many authors in various Christian traditions such as C.S. Lewis and speakers such as Josh McDowell, William Lane Craig, and J. P. Moreland. Apologists have based their defense of Christianity on favoring interpretations of historical/archaeological evidence, philosophical arguments, scientific investigation, and other disciplines.

Advertisements

Mormon apologetics

There are apologists who specialize in Mormonism, including several well-known Mormon apologetic Organizations, such as the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (a group of scholars at Brigham Young University) and Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (an independent, not-for-profit group), which have formed to defend the doctrines and history of the Latter Day Saint movement in general and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in particular.

Apologetics in other religions

As the world's religions have encountered one another, apologetics and apologists from within their respective faiths have emerged. Some of these apologetics respond to or fight back against the arguments of religions and secularism; others are pure defence.

Islamic

Apologists for Islam have defended the Quran using rationalist and empiricist arguments, and using cosmological arguments to prove God's existence. Muslims have actually developed their own form of creationism, Islamic creationism. Islamic apologists have also challenged both Jewish and Christian beliefs. The late South African Islamic apologist, Ahmed Deedat, was a prolific popular writer who debated Christian evangelists by arguing over discrepancies in the Bible, and claiming the Gospel of Barnabas is the only authentic record of Jesus' life.

Buddhism

One of the earliest Buddhist apologetic texts is The Questions of King Milinda, which deals with ethical and intellectual problems. In the British colonial era, Buddhists in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) wrote tracts that challenged and rejected Christianity. In the mid-nineteenth century, encounters between Buddhists and Christians in Japan prompted the formation of a Buddhist Propagation Society. In recent times A. L. De Silva, an Australian convert to Buddhism, has written a text designed to refute the arguments of Christian evangelists. At a sophisticated academic level, Gunapala Dharmasiri has challenged the Christian concept of God from a Theravadan Buddhist perspective.

Hinduism

Hindu apologetics designed to counter Christian missions developed in the British colonial era. Richard Fox Young has collated examples of these early apologetic tracts.[citation needed]

In a famous speech called Red Jacket on Religion for the White Man and the Red[5] in 1805, Seneca chief Red Jacket gave an apologist argument for American Indian religion.

Pantheism

Some pantheists have formed organizations such as the World Pantheist Movement and Universal Pantheist Society to promote and logically defend belief in pantheism.

The American Apologists

At the end of the 19th and the beginning 20th Century a group of arch conservative American economists and social scientists appeared who have been called the American Apologists. In spite of their different theoretical orientations they were apologists for the status quo and rose to defend the new industrial age and condemn the unions and populist causes.[6]

They included Simon Newcomb at Johns Hopkins, John Bates Clark at Columbia, James Laurence Laughlin at Chicago, Charles F Dunbar and Frank William Taussig at Harvard, Arthur T. Hadley and William Graham Sumner at Yale, and controlled the American university system in the East. This was backed by the cleansing of American higher education from “socialist” reformers after the Haymarket affair, an 1886 incident in Chicago.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Apologists." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  2. ^ A History of Christian Thought, Paul Tillich, Touchstone Books, 1972. ISBN 0-671-21426-8 (p. 43)
  3. ^ Lewis N. & Reinhold M., Roman Civilization, vol ii, pp. 9-19, New York: Columbia University Press (1955)
  4. ^ John M. Frame (1994). Apologetics to the Glory of God. Phillipsburg: Presbyterian & Reformed. ISBN 978-0875522432. 
  5. ^ Red Jacket on Religion for the White Man and the Red
  6. ^ The American Apologists History of Economic Thought Website at The Schwartz Center for Economic and Policy Research , New School University. Accessed January 2009

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

APOLOGETICS, in theology, the systematic statement of the grounds which Christians allege for belief in (at least) a supernatural revelation and a divine redemption (cf. e.g. Heb. i. 1-3). The majority of apologists in the past have further believed in an infallible Bible; but they admit this position can only be reached at a late stage in the argument. We should note, however, that even a liberal orthodoxy, while saying nothing about infallibility, is pledged to the essential authority of the Bible; it cannot e.g. simply ignore the Old Testament with F. E. D. Schleiermacher. Catholic apologetics must further give a central position to Church authority, which Roman Catholics explicitly define as infallible; but this position too is debated in a late section of their system. On the other hand, there may be a Christianity which seeks to extricate the " spiritual " from the" supernatural " (Arnold Toynbee, characterizing T.H.Green). It would only lead to confusion, however, if we called this method " apologetic." Any single effort in apologetics may be termed " an apology." More elaborate contrasts have been proposed between the two words, but are of little practical importance.

I. The Word itself. - In Greek, hiroXo yia is the defendant's reply (personally, not through a lawyer) to the speech for the prosecution - Kar? f yopia. Sometimes defendants' speeches passed into literature, e.g. Plato's splendid version of the Apology of Socrates. Thus, in view of persecution or slander, the Christian church naturally produced literary " Apologies." The word has never quite lost this connotation of standing on the defensive and rebutting criticism; e.g. Anselm's Apologia contra insipientem Gaunilonem (c. 110o); or the Lutheran Apology for the Augsburg Confession (1531); or J. H. Newman's Apologia pro vita sua (1864); or A. B. Bruce's Apologetics; or Christianity Defensively Stated (1892). Of course, defence easily passes into counterattack, as when early apologists denounce Greek and Roman religion. Yet the purpose may be defence even then. And there is perhaps a reason of a deeper kind for holding Apologetics to the defensive. Christianity is a prophetic religion. Now a prophet does not argue; he declares what he feels to be God's will. For himself, he rests, like the mystic, upon an immediate vision of truth; but he differs from most mystics in having a message for others; and - again unlike most mystics - he addresses the hearer's conscience, which we might call (in one sense) the mystic element in every man - or better, perhaps, the prophetic. Can the positive grounds for a prophet's message be analysed and stated in terms of argument? If so, apologetics is literally a science, and it is pedantry to claim the defensive and pretend to throw the onus probandi upon objectors. But, if not, then apologetics is a mere auxiliary, and is only " a science" in so far as it presents a conscious and systematic plea. Bruce's title, and his programme of "succouring distressed faith," imply the latter alternative; the moral appeal of Christianity,. primary and essential; its confirmation by argument, secondary. The view has its difficulties; but it is highly suggestive.

The word h7roXo'yia is used by Origen (Contra Cel. ii. 65, v. 19) of the general Christian defence. But the introduction of the adjective " apologetic " and of the substantive " apologetics " is recent. They are serviceable as bracketing together (1) Natural. Theology or Theism, (2) Christian Evidences - chiefly "miracles" and " prophecy "; or, on a more modern view, chiefly the character and personality of Christ. The lower usage of Apology (as expression of regret for a fault) has tipped many a sarcasm besides George III.'s on the occasion of Bishop Watson's book,, " I did not know that the Bible needed an apology!" II. Apologetics in the Bible. - The Old Testament does not argue in support of its beliefs, unless when (chiefly in parts of the Wisdom literature) it seeks to rebut moral difficulties (cf. T. K. Cheyne, Job and Solomon; A. S. Peake, Problem of Suffering in the Old Testament, 1904). The New Testament reflects chiefly controversy with Jews. Great emphasis is laid upon alleged fulfilments - striking or fanciful, but very generally striking to that age - of Old Testament prophecy (Matt. especially; rather differently Ep. to Heb.). The miracles of Jesus are also canvassed. Jews do not deny their wonderful character, but attribute them to black art (Mark iii. 22 &c., &c.). On the other hand, Christians and Jews are pretty well agreed on natural theology; so the New Testament tends to take its theism for granted. However, Rom. i. 20 has had great influence on Christian theology (e.g. Thomas Aquinas) in leading it to base theism upon reason or argument. One apologetic contention, aimed at Gentile readers, is found among the motives of Acts. Christianity is not a lawless but an excellent law-abiding faith. So (it is alleged) rulers, both Jewish and Gentile, have often admitted (xviii. 14; xix. 37; xxiii. 9; xxvi. 32).

III. Early Christian

When we leave the New Testament, apologetics becomes conspicuous until the political triumph of Christianity, and even somewhat later. The atmosphere is no longer Jewish but fully Greek. True there are, as always, Jewish controversialists. Justin Martyr writes a Dialogue with Trypho; Origen deals with many anti-Christian arguments borrowed by Celsus from a certain nameless Jew. Yet Greece was the sovereign power in all the world of ancient culture. And so Christianity was necessarily Hellenized, necessarily philosophized. One result was to bring natural theology into the forefront. A pure morality, belief in one God, hopes extending beyond death - these appealed to the age; the Church taught them as philosophically true and divinely revealed. But, further still, philosophy offered a vehicle which could be applied to the contents of Christianity. The Platonic or eclectic theism, which adopted the conception of the Logos, made a place for Christ in terms of philosophy within the Godhead. (John i. 1 may or may not be affected by Philo; it is almost or quite solitary in the N.T.) Similarly, the immortality of the soul may be maintained on Platonic or quasi-Platonic lines, as by St Athanasius (Contra Gentes, § 33) - a writer who repeatedly quotes the Alexandrian Book of Wisdom, in which Platonism and the Old Testament had already joined partnership. This.

phase of Platonism, however, was much more slowly adopted. The earlier apologists dispute the natural immortality of the soul; Athanasius himself, in De Incarnatione Dei, §§ 4, 5, tones down the teaching of Wisdom; and the somewhat eccentric writer Arnobius, a layman - from Justin Martyr downwards apologetics has always been largely in the hands of laymen - stands for what has recently been called " conditional immortality " - eternal life for the righteous, the children of God, alone.

Allied with this more empiricist stand-point is the assertion that Greek philosophy borrowed from Moses; but in studying the Fathers we constantly find that groundless assertion uttered in the same breath with the dominant Idealist view, according to which Greek philosophy was due to incomplete revelation from the divine Logos.

On purely defensive lines, early apologists rebut charges of cannibalism and sexual promiscuity; the Christians had to meet in secret, and the gossip of a rotten age drew malignant conclusions. They make counter attacks on polytheism as a folly and on the shamefulness of obscene myths. Here they are in line with non-Christian writers or culture-mockers like Lucian of Samosata; or graver spirits like Porphyry, who champions Neo-Platonism as a rival to Christianity, and does pioneer work in criticism by attacks on some of the Old Testament books. Turning to Christian evidence proper, we are struck with the continued prominence of the argument from prophecy. The Old Testament was an immense religious asset to the early church. Their enemies had nothing like it; and - the N.T. canon being as yet but half formed - the Old Testament was pushed into notice by dwelling on this imperfect " argument," which grew more extravagant as the partial control exercised by Jewish learning disappeared. An argument from miracles is also urged, though with more reserve. Formally, every one in that age admitted the supernatural. The question was, whose supernatural ? And how far did it carry you ? Miracle could not be to a 3rd century writer what it was to W. Paley - a conclusive and well-nigh solitary proof. Other apologies are by Aristides (recently recovered in translation), Athenagoras (" elegant "), Eusebius of Caesarea, Cyril of Alexandria; in Latin by Minucius Felix, Tertullian (a masculine spirit and phrase-coiner like T. Carlyle, if bitterer still), Lactantius Firmianus, &c., &c.' As Christianity wins the day, a new objection is raised to it. The age is full of troubles; Christianity is ruining the empire! Besides notices elsewhere, we find the charge specially dealt with by St Augustine and his friends. Paulus Orosius argues that the world has always been a vale of tears. Salvian contends that not the acceptance of Christianity, but the sins of the people are bringing trouble upon them; and he gives ugly evidence of the continued prevalence of vice. Most impressive of all was Augustine's own contribution in The City of God. Powers created by worldliness and sin are crumbling, as they well may; "the city of God remaineth!" Whether he meant it so or not, the saint's argument became a programme and an apologia for the imperializing of the Western Church under the leadership of Rome during the middle ages.

IV. Middle Ages. - From the point of view of apologetics, we may mass together the long stretch of history which covers the period between the disappearance and the re-appearance of free discussion. When emperors became converts, the church, so lately a victim and a pleader for liberty, readily learned to persecute. Under such conditions there is little scope for apologetics. Force kills argument and drives doubt below the smooth surface of a nominal conformity. But there were two influences beyond the bounds or beyond the power of the christianized empire. The Jew remained, as always, stubbornly unconvinced, and, as often, fond of slanders. Many of the principal medieval attempts in apologetics are directed chiefly against him, e.g. the Pugio Fidei of Raymond Martini (c. 1 280), 1 While these writings are of great historical value, they do not, of course, represent the Christian argument as conceived to-day. The Church of Rome prefers medieval or modern statements of its position; Protestantism can use only modern statements.

which became one of Pascal's sources (see V. below), or Peter Abelard's Dialogus inter Judaeum Philosophum et Christianum. And the Moslem came on the scenes bringing, as a gift for Christendom, fuller knowledge of classical, especially Aristotelian, texts. The Jews, less bitterly opposed to Mahommedanism than the Christians were, caught fire more rapidly, and in some cases served as an intermediate link or channel of communication. These two religions anticipated the discussion of the problem of faith and reason in the Christian church. According to the great Avicenna and Maimonides, faith and the highest reason are sure to coincide (see Arabian Philosophy). According to Ghazali, in his Destruction of Philosophers, the various schools of philosophy cancel each other; reason is bankrupt; faith is everything. (So nearly Jehuda Halevi.) According to Averroes, reason suffices, and faith, with (what he considers) its dreams of immortality and the like, is useful only for the ignorant masses. Christian theology, however, strikes out a line of its own. Moslems and Jews were applying Aristotelian philosophy to rigorously monotheistic faiths; Christianity had been encouraged by Platonism in teaching a trinity of divine persons, and Platonism of a certain order long dominated the middle ages as part of the Augustinian tradition. In sympathy with this Platonism, the medieval church began by assuming the entire mutual harmony of faith and reason. Such is the teaching, along different lines, alike of St Anselm and of Abelard. But, when increased knowledge of Aristotle's texts (and of the commentaries) led to the victory of a supposed Aristotelianism over a supposed Platonism, Albertus Magnus, and his still more distinguished pupil Thomas Aquinas, mark certain doctrines as belonging to faith but not to reason. They adhere to the general position with exceptions (in the case of what had been considered Platonic doctrines). From the point of view of philosophy, this was a compromise. Faith and reason partly agree, partly diverge. The tendency of the later middle ages is to add to the number of the doctrines with which philosophy cannot deal. Thomas's great rival, Duns Scotus, does this to a large extent, at times affirming " two truths." The latter position, ascribed by the schoolmen to the Averroists, becomes dominant among the later Nominalists, William of Occam and his disciples, who withdraw all doctrines of faith from the sphere of reason. This was a second and a more audacious compromise. It is not exactly an attempt to base Christian faith on rational scepticism. It is a consistent policy of harbouring inconsistencies in the same mind. A statement may be true in philosophy and false in theology, or vice versa. To the standpoint of Aquinas, however, the Church of Rome (at least in regard to the basis of doctrine) has more and more returned. The councils of Trent and of the Vatican mark the Two Truths hypothesis as heretical, when they affirm that there is a natural knowledge of God and natural certainty of immortality. Along with this affirmation, the Church of Rome (if less decisively) has adopted the limitations of the Thomist theory by the condemnation of " Ontologism "; certain mysterious doctrines are beyond reason. This cautious compromise sanctioned by the Church does not represent the extremest reaction against nominalism. Even in the nominalistic epoch we have Raymond of Sabunde's Natural Theology (according to the article in Herzog-Hauck, not the title of the oldest Paris MS., but found in later MSS. and almost all the printed editions) or Liber Creaturarum (c. 1 435). The book is not what moderns (schooled unconsciously in post-Reformation developments of Thomist ideas) expect under the name of natural theology. It is an attempt once more to demonstrate all scholastic dogmas out of the book of creation or on principles of natural reason. At many points it follows Anselm closely, and, of course, very often " makes light work " of its task.

The Thomist compromise - or even the more sceptical view of "two truths " - has the merit of giving filling of a kind to the formula " supernatural revelation " - mysteries inaccessible to reason, beyond discovery and beyond comprehension. According to earlier views - repeatedly revived in Protestantism - revelation is just philosophy over again. Can the choice be fairly stated? If revelation is thought of as God's personal word, and redemption as his personal deed, is it reasonable to view them either as open to a sort of scientific prediction or as capricious and unintelligible? Even in the middle ages there were not wanting those - the St Victors, Bonaventura - who sought to vindicate mystical if not moral redemption as the central thought of Christianity.

V. Earlier Modern Period. - It will be seen that apologetics by no means reissued unchanged from the long period of authority. The compromise of Aquinas, though not unchallenged, holds the field and that even with Protestants. G. W. Leibnitz devotes an introductory chapter in his Theodicee, 1710 (as against Pierre Bayle), to faith and reason. He is a good enough Lutheran to quote as a " mystery " the Eucharist no less than the Trinity, while he insists that truths above are not against reason. Stated thus baldly, has the distinction any meaning ? The more celebrated and central thesis of the book - this finite universe, the best of all such that are possible - also restates positions of Augustine and Aquinas.

Before modern philosophy began its career, there was a great revival of ancient philosophy at the Renaissance; sometimes anti-Christian, sometimes pro-Christian. The latter furnishes apologies by Marsilio Ficino, Agostino Steuco, J. L. Vives.

Early in the modern period occurs the great name of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662). A staunch Roman Catholic, but belonging to a school of Augustinian enthusiasts (the Jansenists), whom the Church put down as heretics, he stands pretty much apart from the general currents. His Pensees, published posthumously, seems to have been meant for a systematic treatise, but it has come to us in fragments. Once again, a lay apologist! A layman's work may have the advantage of originality or the drawback of imperfect knowledge. Pascal's work exhibits both characters. It has the originality of rare genius, but it borrows its material (as industrious editors have shown) from very few sources - the Pugio Fidei, M. de Montaigne, P. Charron. Ideas as well as learning are largely Montaigne's. The latter's cheerful man-of-the-world scepticism is transfigured in Pascal to a deep distrust of human reason, in part, perhaps, from anti-Protestant motives. But this attitude, while not without parallels both earlier (Ghazali, Jehuda Halevi) and later (H. L. Mansel), has peculiarities in Pascal. It is fallen man whom he pursues with his fierce scorn; his view of man's nature - intellect as well as character - is to be read in the light of his unflinching Augustinianism. Again, Pascal, unlike most apologists, belongs to the small company of saintly souls. This philosophical sceptic is full of humble joy in salvation, of deep love for the Saviour.

Another French Roman Catholic apologist, P. D. Huet (1630-1721) - within the conditions of his age a prodigy of learning (in apologetics see his Demonstratio Evangelica) - is not uninfluenced by Pascal (Traite de la faiblesse de l'esprit humaine). As we might expect, Protestant lands are more busily occupied with apologetics. Intolerant reliance upon force presents greater difficulties to them; soon it grows quite obsolete. Benedict Spinoza, the eminent Jewish pantheist (1632-1677), to whom miracle is impossible, revelation a phrase, and who renews pioneer work in Old Testament criticism, finds at least a fair measure of liberty and comfort in Holland (his birth-land). Bayle, the historical sceptic, lectured and published his learned Dictionnaire (1696) at Rotterdam. From Holland, earlier, had proceeded an apologetic work by a man of European fame. Hugo Grotius's De Veritate Christianae Religionis (1627) is partly the medieval tradition: - Oppose Mahommedans and Jews! It is partly practical: - Arm Christian sailors against religious danger! But in its cool spirit it forecasts the coming age, whose master is John Locke. His Reasonableness of Christianity (1695) is the thesis of " a whole century " of theologians. And his Essay on the Human Understanding (1690) is almost a Bible to men of education during the same period; its lightest word treasured. Locke does not break with the compromise of Aquinas. But he transfers attention from contents to proof. Reason proves that a revelation has been made - and then submits. Leibnitz has to supplement rather than correct Locke on this point.

In such an atmosphere, deism readily uttered its protest against mysterious revelation. Deism is, in fact, the Thomist natural theology (more clearly distinguished from dogmatic theology than in the middle ages, alike by Protestants and by the post-Tridentine Church of Rome) now dissolving partnership with dogmatic and starting in business for itself. Or it is the doctrine of unfallen man's " natural state " - a doctrine intensified in Protestantism - separating itself from the theologians' grave doctrine of sin. If Socinianism had challenged natural theology - Christ, according to it, was the prophet who first revealed the way to eternal life - it had glorified the natural powers of man; and the learning of the Arminian divines (friends of Grotius and Locke) had helped to modernize Christian apologetics upon rational lines. Deism now taught that reason,. or " the light of nature," was all-sufficient.

Not to dwell upon earlier continental " Deists " (mentioned by Viret as quoted first in Bayle's Dictionary and again in the introduction to Leland's View of the Deistical Writers), Lord Herbert of Cherbury (De Veritate, 1624; De Religione Gentilium,. 1645 ? - according to J. G. Walch's Bibliotheca Theologica (1757) not published complete until 1663) was universally understood as hinting conclusions hostile to Christianity (cf. also T. Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651, ch. xxxi.; Spinoza, Tractatus TheologicoPoliticus, 1670, ch. xiv.). Professedly, Herbert's contention merely is that non-Christians feeling after the " supreme God " and the law of righteousness must have a chance of salvation. Herbert was also epoch-making for the whole 18th century in teaching that priests had corrupted this primitive faith. During the 18th century deism spread widely, though its leaders were " irrepressible men like Toland, men of mediocre culture and ability like Anthony Collins, vulgar men like Chubb, irritated and disagreeable men like Matthew Tindal, who conformed that he might enjoy his Oxford fellowship and wrote anonymously that he might relieve his conscience " (A. M. Fairbairn). More distinguished sympathizers are Edward Gibbon, who has the deistic spirit, and David Hume, the historian and philosophical sceptic, who has at least the letter of the deistic creed (Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion), and who uses Pascal's appeal to " faith " in a spirit of mockery (Essay on Miracles). In France the new school found powerful speaking-trumpets, especially Voltaire, the idol of his age - a great denier and scoffer, but always sincerely a believer in the God of reason - and the deeper but wilder spirit of J. J. Rousseau. Others in France developed still more startling conclusions from Locke's principles, E. B. Condillac's sensationalism - Locke's philosophy purged of its more ideal if less logical elements - leading on to materialism in J. O. de la Mettrie; and at least one of the Encyclopedists (P. H. von Holbach) capped materialism with confessed atheism.

In Germany the parallel movement of " illumination " (H. S. Reimarus; J. S. Semler, pioneer in N.T. criticism; and a layman, the great Lessing) took the form of " rationalism " within the church - interpreting Bible texts by main force in a way which the age thought " enlightened " (H. E. G. Paulus, 1761-1851, &c.).

Among the innumerable English anti-deistic writers (see W. Law, The Case of Reason; R. Bentley, or " Phileleutherus Lipsiensis "; &c., &c.), three are of chief importance. Nathaniel Lardner (Arian, 1684-1768) stands in the front rank of the scholarship of his time, and uses his vast knowledge to maintain the genuineness of all books of the New Testament and the perfect accuracy of its history. Joseph Butler, a very original, careful and honest thinker, lifts controversy with deists from details to principles in his Analogy of Religion both Natural and Revealed to the Constitution and Course of Nature (1736). This title introduces us to a new conception. Deists and orthodox in those days agreed in recognizing not merely natural theology but natural religion - " essential religion," Butler more than once styles it; the expression shows how near he stood intellectually to those he criticized. But morally he stood aloof. In part i. - on Natural Religion - he defends a moral or punishing Deity against the sentimental softness of the age. The God of Nature, whom deists confess, does punish in time, if they will but look at the facts; why not in eternity ? " Morality," as others have confessed, is " the nature of things "1 Not the Being of God is discussed - Butler will not waste words on triflers (as he thinks them) who deny that - but God's character. Unfortunately (perhaps) Butler prefers to argue on admitted principles; holds much of his own moral belief in reserve; tries to reduce everything to a question of probable fact. If this hampers him in part i., the situation appears still worse in part ii., which is directly occupied with the defence of Christianity. Butler says nothing about incomprehensible mysteries, and protests that reason is the only ground we have to proceed upon. But by treating the atonement simply as revealed (and unexplained) matter of fact - in spite of some partial analogies in human experience, a thing essentially anomalous - Butler repeats, and applies to the moral contents of Christianity, what Aquinas said of its speculative doctrines. (Whether one calls the unknowable a revealed mystery or an unexplained and inexplicable fact makes little difference.) William Paley (1743-1805) borrows from many writers; he borrows Lardner's learning and Butler's " particular evidence for Christianity," viz. miracles, prophecy and " history "; and he states his points with perfect clearness. No man ever filled a typical position more exactly than Paley. Eighteenth-century ethics - Hedonism, with a theological background. Empiricist Natural Theology - the argument from Design. Christian Evidences - the strong probability of the resurrection of Christ and the consequent authority of his teaching. Horae Paulinae - mutual confirmations of Acts and Epistles; better, though one-sided. When such exclusively " external " arguments are urged, the contents of Christianity go for next to nothing.

VI. Later Modern Period. - Towards the end of the r8th century a new epoch of reconstruction begins in the thought and life of civilization. The leader in speculative philosophy is Immanuel Kant, though he includes many agnostic elements, and draws the inference (which some things in the letter of Butler might seem to warrant) that the essence of Christianity is an ethical theism. While he thus created a new and more ethical " rationalism," Kant's many-sided influence, alike in philosophy and in theology, worked to further issues. He (and other Germans, but not G. W. F. Hegel) was represented in England in a fragmentary way by S. T. Coleridge (1772-1834), probably the most typical figure of his period - another layman. His general thought was that " rationalism " represents an uprising of the lower reason or " understanding " against the higher or true " reason." The mysteries of theology are its best part - not alien to reason but of its substance, the " logos." This is to upset the compromise of Aquinas and go back to a Christian platonism. Of course the difficulty revives again: If a philosophy, why supernaturally revealed? Thomas Arnold, criticizing Edward Hawkins, appeals rather to the atonement as deeper neglected truth. So in Scotland, Thomas Erskine and Thomas Chalmers - the latter in contradiction to his earlier position - hold that the doctrine of salvation, when translated into experience, furnishes " internal evidence " - a somewhat broader use of the phrase than when it applies merely to evidence of date or authorship drawn from the contents of a book. This gives a new and moral filling to the conception of " supernatural revelation." The attempt to work out either of the reactions against Thomism in new theological systems is pretty much confined to Germany. Hegel's theological followers, of every shade and party, represent the first, and Schleiermacher's the second. Schleiermacher rejects natural religion in favour of the positive religions, while the school of A. Ritschl and W. Herrmann reject natural theology outright in favour of revelation - a striking external parallel to early Socinianism. British and American divines, on the other hand, are slow to suspect that a new apologetic principle may mean a new system of apologetics, to say nothing of a new dogmatic. Among the evangelicals, for the most part, natural theology, far from being rejected, is not even modified, and certain doctrines continue to be described as incomprehensible mysteries. No Protestant, of course, can agree with Roman Catholic theology that (supernatural) faith is an obedient assent to church authority and the mysteries it dictates. To Protestantism, faith is personal trust. But the principle is hardly ever carried out to the end. Mysterious doctrines are ascribed by Protestants to scripture; so half of revelation is regarded as matter for blind assent, if another half is luminous in experience. The movement of German philosophy which led from Kant to Hegel has indeed found powerful British champions (T. H. Green, J. and E. Caird, &c.), but less churchly than Coleridge (or F. D. Maurice or B. F. Westcott), though churchly again in J. R. Illingworth and other contributors to Lux Mundi Woo). Before this wave of thought, H. L. Mansel tried (1858) to play Pascal's game on Kantian principles, developing the sceptical side of 'Kant's many-faceted mind. But as he protested against relying on the human conscience - the one element of positive conviction spared by Kant - his ingenuity found few admirers except H. Spencer, who claims him as justifying antiChristian agnosticism. Butler's tradition was more directly continued by J. H. Newman - with modifications on becoming a Roman Catholic in the light of the church's decision in favour of Thomism. A. M. Fairbairn (Catholicism, Roman and Anglican, ch. v., and elsewhere) and E. A. Abbott (Philomythus, and elsewhere) suspect Newman of a sceptical leaven and extend the criticism to Butler's doctrine of " probability." Yet it seems plain that any theology, maintaining redemption as historical fact (and not merely ideal), must attach religious importance to conclusions which are technically probable rather than proven. If we transfer Christian evidence from the " historical " to the " philosophical " with H. Rashdall - we surely cut down Christianity to the limits of theism. And the inner mind of Butler has moral anchorage in the Analogy, quite as much as in the Sermons. It is in part ii. more than in part i. of his masterpiece that the light seems to grow dim. Another of the Oxford converts to Rome, W. G. Ward, made vigorous contributions to natural theology.

VII. Contents of Modern Apologetics. - Superficially regarded, philosophy ebbs and flows, whatever progress the debate may reveal to speculative insight. Old positions re-emerge from forgetfulness, and there is always a philosophy to back every " case." More visible dangers arise for the apologist in the region of science, historical or physical. There the progress of truth, within whatever limits, is manifest. Essays and Reviews (1860) was a vehement announcement of scientific results - startling English conservatism awake for the first time. And in the scientific region the great apologetic classics, like Butler, are hopelessly out of date. The modern apologist must do ephemeral work - unless it should chance that he proves to be the skirmisher, pioneering for a modified dogmatic. He holds a watching brief. While he must beware of hasty speech, he has often to plead that new knowledge does not really threaten faith; or that it is not genuinely established knowledge at all; or else, that faith has mistaken its own grounds, and will gain strength by concentrating on its true field. The work is not always well done; but the Christian church needs it.

1. Apologetics and Philosophy. - The main part of this subject is discussed under Theism. Some notes may be added on special points. (a) Freewill is generally assumed on the Christian side (R.C. Church; Scottish philosophy; H. Lotze; J. Martineau; W. G. Ward. Not in a libertarian sense; Leibnitz. New and obscure issues raised by Kant). But there is no continuous tradition or steady trend of discussion. (b) Personal immortality is affirmed as philosophically certain by the Church of Rome and many Protestant writers. Others teach " conditional immortality." Others base the hope on belief in the resurrection of Christ. (c) Theodicy - the tradition of Leibnitz is preserved (on libertarian lines) by Martineau (A Study of Religion, 1883). See also F. R. Tennant's Origin and Propagation of Sin (1902) - sin a " bye-product " of a generally good evolution. Others find in the gospel of redemption the true theodicy. (d) The problem of Christian apologetic has been simplified in the past by the prevalence of the Christian ethics and temper even among many non-Christians (e.g. J. S. Mill). But hereafter it may not prove possible for the apologist to assume as unchallenged the Christian moral outlook. Germans have suspected an anti-Christian strain in Goethe; all the world knows of it in E. von Hartmann or F. Nietzsche.

2. Apologetics and Physical Science

(a) Copernicanism has won its battles and the Church of Rome would fain have its error forgotten. The admission is now general that the Bible cannot be expected to use the language of scientific astronomy. Still, it is not certain that the shock of Copernicanism on supernatural Christianity is exhausted. (b) Geology has also won its battles, and few now try to harmonize it with Genesis. (c) Evolution came down from the clouds when C. Darwin and A. R. Wallace succeeded in displacing the naïf conception of special creation by belief in the origin of species out of other species through a process of natural law. This gave immense vogue to wider and vaguer theories of evolutionary process, notably to H. Spencer's grandiose cosmic formula in terms of mechanism. Here the apologist has more to say. The special Darwinian hypothesis - natural " selection " - may or may not be true; it was at least a fruitful suggestion. If true, it need not be exhaustive. Again, evolution itself need not apply everywhere. We are offered a philosophical rather than a scientific speculation when E. Caird (Evolution of Religion, 1893) tries to vindicate Christianity as the highest working of nature - true just because evolved from lower religions. The Christian apologist indeed may himself seek, following John Fiske, to philosophize evolution as a restatement of natural theology - " one God, one law, one element and one far-off divine event " - and as at least pointing towards personal immortality. But if evolution is to be the whole truth regarding Christianity, we should have to surrender both supernatural revelation and divine redemption. And these, it may be strongly urged, contain the magic of Christianity. Losing them it might sink into a lifeless theory.

As far as pure science goes, the inference from science in favour of materialism has visibly lost much of its plausibility, and Protestant apologists would probably be prepared to accept in advance all verified discoveries as belonging to a different region from that of faith. Roman Catholic apologetic prefers to negotiate in detail. 3. Apologetics and History. - History brings us nearer the heart of the Christian position. (a) Old Testament criticism won startling victories towards the end of the 19th century. It blots out much supposed knowledge, but throws a vivid and interesting light on the reconstrued process of history. Most Protestants accept the general scheme of criticism; those who hang back make not a few concessions (e.g. J. Orr, Problem of the O.T., 1906). The Roman Catholic Church again prefers an attitude of reserve. (b) New Testament criticism raises even more delicate issues. Positively it may be affirmed that the recovered figure of the historical Jesus is the greatest asset in the possession of modern Christian theology and apologetics. The " Lives " of Christ, Roman Catholic and Protestant, " critical" (D. F. Strauss, A. Renan, &c., &c.) and " believing," imply this at least. Negatively, " unchallenged historical certainties " are becoming few in number, or are disappearing altogether, through the industry of modern minds. True, the Tubingen criticism of F. C. Baur and his school - important as the first scientific attempt to conceive New Testament conditions and literature as a whole - has been abandoned. (A. Ritschl's Entstehung der alt-hatholischen Kirche, and edition, 1857, was an especially telling reply.) The synoptic gospels are now treated with considerable respect. It is no longer suggested in responsible quarters that they are party documents sacrificing truth to " tendency." But not all quarters are responsible; and in the effort to grasp scientifically, i.e. accurately, the amazing facts of Christ and primitive Christianity, every imaginable hypothesis is canvassed. Even the Roman Catholic Church produced the Abbe Loisy (though he undertakes to play off church certainties against historical uncertainties). Hitherto at least the fourth gospel has been the touchstone. The authorship of the epistles is in many cases a matter of subordinate importance; at least for Protestants or for those surrendering Bible infallibility, which Rome can hardly do. (c) New Testament history.

The apologist must maintain (I) that Jesus of Nazareth is a real historical figure - a point well-nigh overlooked by Strauss, and denied by some modern advocates of a mythical theory; (2) that Jesus is knowable (not one " of whom we really know very little " - B. Jowett) in his teaching, example, character, historical personality; and that he is full of moral splendour. On the other hand, faith has no special interest in claiming that we can compose a biographical study of the development of Jesus. Certainly no early writer thought of providing material for such use. It is a common opinion in Germany that our material is in fact too scanty or too self-contradictory. Yet the fascination of the subject will always revive the attempt. If it succeeds, there will be a new line of communication along which that great personality will tell on men's minds and hearts. If it fails - there are other channels; character can be known and trusted even when we are baffled by a thing necessarily so full of mystery as the development of a personality. Notably, the manifest non-consciousness of personal guilt in Jesus suggests to us his sinlessness. (3) Apologists maintain that Jesus " claimed " Messiahship. There are speculative constructions of gospel history which eliminate that claim; and no doubt apologetics could - with more or less difficulty - restate its position in a changed form if the paradox of to-day became accepted as historical fact to-morrow. The central apologetic thesis is the uniqueness of the "only-begotten"; it is here that " the supernatural " passes into the substance of Christian faith. But most probably the description of Jesus as thus unique will continue to be associated with the allegation - He told us so; he claimed Messiahship and " died for the claim." (See preface to 5th ed. of Ecce Homo.) Nor did so superhuman a claim crush him, or deprive his soul of its balance. He imparted to the title a grander significance out of the riches of his personality. (4) In the light of this the " argument from prophecy " is reconstructed. It ceases to lay much stress upon coincidences between Old Testament predictions or " types " and events in Christ's career. It becomes the assertion; historically, providentially, the expectation of a unique religious figure arose - " the " Messiah; and Jesus gave himself to be thought of as that great figure. (5) It is also claimed as certain that Jesus had marvellous powers of healing. More reserve is being shown towards the other or " nature" miracles. These latter, it may be remarked, are more unambiguously supernatural. But, if Jesus really cured leprosy or really restored the dead to life, we have miracle plainly enough in the region of healing. (6) For Jesus' own resurrection several lines of evidence are alleged. (i.) All who believe that in any sense Christ rose again insist upon the impression which his personality made during life. It was he whose resurrection seemed credible! Some practically stop here; the apologist proceeds. (ii.) There is the report of the empty grave; historically, not easily waved aside. (iii.) We have New Testament reports of appearances of the risen Jesus; subjective? the mere clothing of the impression made by his personality during life ? or objective ? " telegrams" from heaven (Th. Keim) - " Veridical Hallucinations " ? or something even more, throwing a ray of light perhaps on the state and powers of the happy dead? (iv.) There is the immense influence of Jesus Christ in history, associated with belief in him as the risen Son of God.

In view of the claims of Jesus, different possibilities arise. (i.) The evangelists impute to him a higher claim than he made. This may be called the rationalistic solution; with sympathy in Christ's ethical teaching, there is relief at minimizing his great claim. So, brilliantly, Wellhausen's Gospel commentaries and Introduction. (Mark fairly historical; other gospels' fuller account of Christ's teaching and claims unreliable.) (ii.) The claim was fraudulent (Reimarus; Renan, ed. 1; popular anti-Christian agitation). This is a counsel of despair. (iii.) He was an enthusiastic dreamer, expecting the world's end. This the apologist will recognize as the most plausible hostile alternative. He may feel bound to admit an element of illusion in Christ's vision of the future; but he will contend that the apocalyptic form did not destroy the spiritual content of Christ's revelations - nay, that it was itself the H. 7 vehicle of great truths. So he will argue as the essence of the matter that (iv.) he who has occupied Christ's place in history, and won such reverence from the purest souls, was what he claimed to be, and that his many-sidedness comes to focus and harmony when we recognize him as the Christ of God and the Saviour of the world.

To a less extent, similar problems and alternatives arise in regard to the church: - Catholicism a compromise between Jewish Christianity and Pauline or Gentile Christianity (F. C. Baur, &c.); Catholicism the Hellenizing of Christianity (A. Ritschl, A. Harnack); the Catholic church for good and evil the creation of St Paul (P. Wernle, H. Weinel); the church supernaturally guided (R.C. apologetic; in a modified degree High Church apologetic); essential - not necessarily exclusive - truth of Paulinism, essential error in first principles of Catholicism (Protestant apologetic).

Literature. - Omitting the Christian fathers as remote from the present day, we recognize as works of genius Pascal's Pensees and Butler's Analogy, to which we might add J. R. Seeley's Ecce Homo (1865). The philosophical, Platonist, or Idealist line of Christian defence is represented among recent writers by J. R. Illingworth [Anglican], in Personality, Human and Divine (1894), Divine Immanence (1898), Reason and Revelation (1902), who at times seems rather to presuppose the Thomist compromise, and A. M. Fairbairn [Congregationalist], in Place of Christ in Modern Theology (1893), Philosophy of the Christian Religion (1902). The appeal to ethical or Christian experience - " internal evidence " - is found especially in E. A. Abbott [Christianity supernatural and divine, but not miraculous], Through Nature to Christ (1877), The Kernel and the Husk (1886), The Spirit on the Waters (1897), &c., or A. B. Bruce, Chief End of Revelation (1881), The Miraculous Element in the Gospels (1886), Apologetics (1892), and other works; Bruce's posthumous article, " Jesus " in Encyc. Bib., was understood by some as exchanging Christian orthodoxy for bare theism, but probably its tone of aloofness is due to the attempt to keep well within the limits of what the author considered pure scientific history. Scholarly and apologetic discussion on the gospels and life of Jesus is further represented by the writings of W. Sanday or (earlier) of J. B. Lightfoot. Much American work of merit on the character of Christ is headed by W. E. Channing, and by H. Bushnell (in Nature and the Supernatural). For defence of Christ's resurrection, reference may be made to H. Latham's The Risen Lord and R. Mackintosh's First Primer of Apologetics. For modification in light of recent scholarship of argument from prophecy, to Riehm's Messianic Prophecy, Stanton's Jewish and Christian Messiah, and Woods's Hope of Israel. Roman Catholic apologetics - of necessity, Thomist - is well represented by Professor Schanz of Tubingen. The whole Ritschl movement is apologetic in spirit; best English account in A. E. Garvie's Ritschlian Theology (1899). See also the chief church histories or histories of doctrine (Harnack; Loofs; Hagenbach; Shedd); A. S. Farrar's Critical History of Free (i.e. anti-Christian) Thought (Bampton Lectures, 1862); R. C. Trench's Introduction to Notes on the Miracles, and F. W. Macran's English Apologetic Theology (1905). For the 18th century, G. V. Lechler's Geschichte des englischen Deismus (1841); Mark Pattison in Essays and Reviews (1860); Leslie Stephen's English Thought in 18th Century (agnostic); John Hunt, Religious Thought in England (3 vols., 1870-1873).

(R. MA.)


<< Apollyon

Apologue >>


Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

A theological science which has for its purpose the explanation and defence of the Christian religion.

Apologetics means, broadly speaking, a form of apology. The term is derived from the Latin adjective, apologeticus, which, in turn has its origin in the Greek adjective, apologetikos, the substantive being apologia, "apology", "defence". As an equivalent of the plural form, the variant, "Apologetic", is now and then found in recent writings, suggested probably by the corresponding French and German words, which are always in the singular. But the plural form, "Apologetics", is far more common and will doubtless prevail, being in harmony with other words similarly formed, as ethics, statistics, homiletics. In defining apologetics as a form of apology, we understand the latter word in its primary sense, as a verbal defence against a verbal attack, a disproving of a false accusation, or a justification of an action or line of conduct wrongly made the object of censure. Such, for example, is the Apology of Socrates, such the Apologia of John Henry Newman. This is the only sense attaching to the term as used by the ancient Greeks and Romans, or by the French and Germans of the present day.

Quite different is the meaning now conveyed by our English word, "apology", namely, an explanation of an action acknowledged to be open to blame. The same idea is expressed almost exclusively by the verb, "apologize", and generally by the adjective, "apologetic". For this reason, the adoption of the word, "Apologetics", in the sense of a scientific vindication of the Christian religion is not altogether a happy one. Some scholars prefer such terms as "Christian Evidences", the "Defence of the Christian Religion". "Apologetics" and "Apology" are not altogether interchangeable terms. The latter is the generic term, the former the specific. Any kind of accusation, whether personal, social, political, or religious, may call forth a corresponding apology. It is only apologies of the Christian religion that fall within the scope of apologetics. Nor is it all such. There is scarcely a dogma, scarcely a ritual or disciplinary institution of the Church that has not been subjected to hostile criticism, and hence, as occasion required, been vindicated by proper apologetics. But besides these forms of apology, there are the answers that have been called forth by attacks of various kinds upon the credentials of the Christian religion, apologies written to vindicate now this, now that ground of the Christian, Catholic faith, that has been called in question or held up to disbelief and ridicule.

Now it is out of such apologies for the foundations of Christian belief that the science of apologetics has taken form. Apologetics is the Christian Apology par excellence, combining in one well-rounded system the arguments and considerations of permanent value that have found expression in the various single apologies. The latter, being answers to specific attacks, were necessarily conditioned by the occasions that called them forth. They were personal, controversial, partial vindications of the Christian position. In them the refutation of specific charges was the prominent element. Apologetics, on the other hand, is the comprehensive, scientific vindication of the grounds of Christian, Catholic belief, in which the calm, impersonal presentation of underlying principles is of paramount importance, the refutation of objections being added by way of corollary. It addresses itself not to the hostile opponent for the purpose of refutation, but rather to the inquiring mind by way of information. Its aim is to give a scientific presentation of the claims which Christ's revealed religion has on the assent of every rational mind; it seeks to lead the inquirer after truth to recognize, first, the reasonableness and trustworthiness of the Christian revelation as realized in the Catholic Church, and secondly, the corresponding obligation of accepting it. While not compelling faith -- for the certitude it offers is not absolute, but moral -- it shows that the credentials of the Christian religion amply suffice to vindicate the act of faith as a rational act, and to discredit the estrangement of the sceptic and unbeliever as unwarranted and culpable. Its last word is the answer to the question: Why should I be a Catholic? Apologetics thus leads up to Catholic faith, to the acceptance of the Catholic Church as the divinely authorized organ for preserving and rendering efficacious the saving truths revealed by Christ. This is the great fundamental dogma on which all other dogmas rest. Hence apologetics also goes by the name of "fundamental theology". Apologetics is generally viewed as one branch of dogmatic science, the other and chief branch being dogmatic theology proper. It is well to note, however, that in point of view and method also they are quite distinct. Dogmatic theology, like moral theology, addresses itself primarily to those who are already Catholic. It presupposes faith. Apologetics, on the other hand, in theory at least, simply leads up to faith. The former begins where the latter ends. Apologetics is pre-eminently a positive, historical discipline, whereas dogmatic theology is rather philosophic and deductive, using as its premises data of divine and ecclesiastical authority -- the contents of revelation and their interpretation by the Church. It is only in exploring and in treating dogmatically the elements of natural religion, the sources of its authoritative data, that dogmatic theology comes in touch with apologetics.

As has been pointed out, the object of apologetics is to give a scientific answer to the question, Why should I be Catholic? Now this question involves two others which are also fundamental. The one is: Why should I be a Christian rather than an adherent of the Jewish religion, or the Mohammedan, or the Zoroastrian, or of some other religious system setting up a rival claim to be revealed? The other, still more fundamental, question is: Why should I profess any religion at all? Thus the science of apologetics easily falls into three great divisions:

  • First, the study of religion in general and the grounds of theistic belief;
  • second, the study of revealed religion and the grounds of Christian belief;
  • third, the study of the true Church of Christ and the grounds of Catholic belief. In the first of these divisions, the apologist inquirers into the nature of religion, its universality, and man's natural capacity to acquire religious ideas. In connection with this the modern study of the religious philosophy of uncultured peoples has to be taken into consideration, and the various theories concerning the origin of religion present themselves for critical discussion. This leads to the examination of the grounds of theistic belief, including the important questions of
  • the existence of a divine Personality, the Creator and Conserver of the world, exercising a special providence over man;
  • man's freedom of will and his corresponding religious and moral responsibility in virtue of his dependence on God;
  • the immortality of the human soul, and the future life with its attendant rewards and punishments. Coupled with these questions is the refutation of monism, determinism, and other anti-theistic theories. Religious philosophy and apologetics here march hand in hand.

The second division, on revealed religion, is even more comprehensive. After treating the notion, possibility, and moral necessity of a divine revelation, and its discernibility through various internal and external criteria, the apologist proceeds to establish the fact of revelation. Three distinct, progressive stages of revelation are set forth: Primitive Revelation, Mosaic Revelation, and Christian Revelation. The chief sources on which he has to rely in establishing this triple fact of revelation are the Sacred Scriptures. But if he is logical, he must prescind from their inspiration and treat them provisionally as human historical documents. Here he must depend on the critical study of the Old and New Testaments by impartial scriptural scholars, and build on the accredited results of their researches touching the authenticity and trustworthiness of the sacred books purporting to be historical. It is only by anticipation that an argument for the fact of primitive revelation can be based on the ground that it is taught in the inspired book of Genesis, and that it is implied in the supernatural state of our first parents. In the absence of anything like contemporary documents, the apologist has to lay chief stress on the high antecedent probability of primitive revelation, and show how a revelation of limited, but sufficient scope for primitive man is compatible with a very crude stage of material and æsthetic culture, and hence is not discredited by the sound results of prehistoric arch ology. Closely connected with this question is the scientific study of the origin and antiquity of man, and the unity of the human species; and, as still larger subjects bearing on the historic value of the sacred Book of Origins, the compatibility with Scripture of the modern sciences of biology, astronomy, and geology. In like manner the apologist has to content himself with showing the fact of Mosaic revelation to be highly probable. The difficulty, in the present condition of Old Testament criticism, of recognizing more than a small portion of the Pentateuch as documentary evidence contemporary with Moses, makes it incumbent on the apologist to proceed with caution lest, in attempting to prove too much, he may bring into discredit what is decidedly tenable apart from dogmatic considerations. However, there is sufficient evidence allowed by all but the most radical critics to establish the fact that Moses was the providential instrument for delivering the Hebrew people from Egyptian bondage, and for teaching them a system of religious legislation that in lofty monotheism and ethical worth is far superior to the beliefs and customs of the surrounding nations, thus affording a strong presumption in favour of its claim to be revealed. This presumption gains strength and clearness in the light of Messianic prophecy, which shines with ever increasing volume and brightness through the history of the Jewish religion till it illumines the personality of our Divine Lord. In the study of Mosaic revelation, biblical archæology is of no small service to the apologist.

When the apologist comes to the subject of Christian revelation, he finds himself on much firmer ground. Starting with the generally recognized results of New Testament criticism, he is enabled to show that the synoptic Gospels, on the one hand, and the undisputed Epistles of St. Paul, on the other, offer two independent, yet mutually corroborative, masses of evidence concerning the person and work of Jesus. As this evidence embodies the unimpeachable testimony of thoroughly reliable eye-witnesses and their associates, it presents a portraiture of Jesus that is truly historical. After showing from the records that Jesus taught, now implicitly, now explicitly, that he was the long expected Messiah, the Son of God sent by His Heavenly Father to enlighten and save mankind, and to found the new kingdom of justice, Apologetics proceeds to set forth the grounds for believing in these claims:

  • the surpassing beauty of His moral character, stamping Him as the unique, perfect man;
  • the lofty excellence of His moral and religious teaching, which has no parallel elsewhere, and which answers the highest aspirations of the human soul;
  • His miracles wrought during His public mission;
  • the transcendent miracle of His resurrection, which He foretold as well;
  • the wonderful regeneration of society through His undying personal influence. Then, by way of supplementary proof, the apologist institutes an impartial comparison of Christianity with the various rival religious systems of the world -- Brahminism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Confucianism, Taoism, Mohammedanism -- and shows how in the person of its founder, in its moral and religious ideal and influence, the Christian religion is immeasurably superior to all others, and alone has a claim to our assent as the absolute, divinely-revealed religion. Here, too, in the survey of Buddhism, the specious objection, not uncommon today, that Buddhist ideas and legends have contributed to the formation of the Gospels, calls for a summary refutation.

Beyond the fact of Christian revelation the Protestant apologist does not proceed. But the Catholic rightly insists that the scope of apologetics should not end here. Both the New Testament records and those of the sub-Apostolic age bear witness that Christianity was meant to be something more than a religious philosophy of life, more than a mere system of individual belief and practice, and that it cannot be separated historically from a concrete form of social organization. Hence Catholic apologetics adds, as a necessary sequel to the established fact of Christian revelation, the demonstration of the true Church of Christ and its identity with the Roman Catholic Church. From the records of the Apostles and their immediate successors is set forth the institution of the Church as a true, unequal society, endowed with the supreme authority of its Founder, and commissioned in His name to teach and sanctify mankind; possessing the essential features of visibility, indefectibility, and infallibility; characterized by the distinctive marks of unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. These notes of the true Church of Christ are then applied as criteria to the various rival Christian denominations of the present day, with the result that they are found fully exemplified in the Roman Catholic Church alone. With the supplementary exposition of the primacy and infallibility of the Pope, and of the rule of faith, the work of apologetics is brought to its fitting close. It is true that some apologists see fit to treat also of inspiration and the analysis of the act of faith. But, strictly speaking, these are not apologetic subjects. While they may logically be included in the prolegomena of dogmatic theology, they rather belong, the one to the province of Scripture-study, the other to the tract of moral theology dealing with the theological virtues.

The history of apologetic literature involves the survey of the varied attacks that have been made against the grounds of Christian, Catholic belief. It may be marked off into four great divisions.

  • The first division is the period from the beginning of Christianity to the downfall of the Roman Empire (A.D. 476). It is chiefly characterized by the twofold struggle of Christianity with Judaism and with paganism.
  • The second division is coextensive with the Middle Ages, from A.D. 476 to the Reformation. In this period we find Christianity in conflict with the Mohammedan religion and philosophy.
  • The third division takes in the period from the beginning of the Reformation to the rise of rationalism in England in the middle of the seventeenth century. It is the period of struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism.
  • The fourth division embraces the period of rationalism, from the middle of the seventeenth century down to the present day. Here we find Christianity in conflict with Deism, Pantheism, Materialism, Agnosticism, and Naturalism.

Contents

FIRST PERIOD

(A) Apologies in Answer to the Opposition of Judaism

It lay in the nature of things that Christianity should meet with strong Jewish opposition. In dispensing with circumcision and other works of the law, Christianity had incurred the imputation of running counter to God's immutable will. Again, Christ's humble and obscure life, ending in the ignominious death on the cross, was the very opposite of what the Jews expected of their Messiah. Their judgment seemed to be confirmed by the fact that Christianity attracted but an insignificant portion of the Jewish people, and spread with greatest vigour among the despised Gentiles. To justify the claims of Christianity before the Jews, the early apologists had to give an answer to these difficulties. Of these apologies the most important is the "Dialogue with Trypho the Jew" composed by Justin Martyr about 155-160. He vindicates the new religion against the objections of the learned Jew, arguing with great cogency that it is the perfection of the Old Law, and showing by an imposing array of Old Testament passages that the Hebrew prophets point to Jesus as the Messiah and the incarnate Son of God. He insists also that it is in Christianity that the destiny of the Hebrew religion to become the religion of the world is to find its realization, and hence it is the followers of Christ, and not the unbelieving Jews, that are the true children of Israel. By his elaborate argument from Messianic prophecy, Justin won the grateful recognition of later apologists. Similar apologies were composed by Tertullian, "Against the Jews" (Adversus Jud os, about 200), and by St. Cyprian, "Three Books of Evidences against the Jews" (about 250).

(B) Apologies in Answer to Pagan Opposition

Of far more serious moment to the early Christian Church was the bitter opposition it met from paganism. The polytheistic religion of the Roman Empire, venerated for its antiquity, was intertwined with every fibre of the body politic. Its providential influence was a matter of firm belief. It was associated with the highest culture, and had the sanction of the greatest poets and sages of Greece and Rome. Its splendid temples and stately ritual gave it a grace and dignity that captivated the popular imagination. On the other hand, Christian monotheism was an innovation. It made no imposing display of liturgy. Its disciples were, for the most part, persons of humble birth and station. Its sacred literature had little attraction for the fastidious reader accustomed to the elegant diction of the classic authors. And so the popular mind viewed it with misgivings, or despised it as an ignorant superstition. But opposition did not end here. The uncompromising attitude of the new religion towards pagan rites was decried as the greatest impiety. The Christians were branded as atheists, and as they held aloof from the public functions also, which were invariably associated with these false rites, they were accused of being enemies of the State. The Christian custom of worshipping in secret assembly seemed to add force to this charge, for secret societies were forbidden by Roman law. Nor were calumnies wanting. The popular imagination easily distorted the vaguely-known Agape and Eucharistic Sacrifice into abominable rites marked by feasting on infant flesh and by indiscriminate lust. The outcome was that the people and authorities took alarm at the rapidly spreading Church and sought to repress it by force. To vindicate the Christian cause against these attacks of paganism, many apologies were written. Some, notably the "Apology" of Justin Martyr (150), the "Plea for the Christians", by Athenagoras (177), and the "Apologetic" of Tertullian (197), were addressed to emperors for the express purpose of securing for the Christians immunity from persecution. Others were composed to convince the pagans of the folly of polytheism and of the saving truth of Christianity. Such were: Tatian, "Discourse to the Greeks" (160), Theophilus, "Three Books to Autolychus" (180), the "Epistle to Diognetus" (about 190), the "Octavius" of Minucius Felix (192), Origen, "True Discourse against Celsus" (248), Lactantius, miracles. But the one on which most stress is laid is that of the transcendent excellence of Christianity. Though not clearly marked out, a twofold line of thought runs through this argument: Christianity is light, whereas paganism is darkness; Christianity is power, whereas paganism is weakness. Enlarging on these ideas, the apologists contrast the logical coherence of the religious tenets of Christianity, and its lofty ethical teaching, with the follies and inconsistencies of polytheism, the low ethical principles of its philosophers, and the indecencies of its mythology and of some of its rites. They likewise show that the Christian religion alone has the power to transform man from a slave of sin into a spiritual freeman. They compare what they once were as pagans with what they now are as Christians. They draw a telling contrast between the loose morality of pagan society and the exemplary lives of Christians, whose devotion to their religious principles is stronger than death itself.

SECOND PERIOD. CHRISTIANITY IN CONFLICT WITH MOHAMMEDAN RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY

The one dangerous rival with which Christianity had to contend in the Middle Ages was the Mohammedan religion. Within a century of its birth, it had torn from Christendom some of its fairest lands, and extended like a huge crescent from Spain over Northern Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, Persia, and Syria, to the eastern part of Asia Minor. The danger which this fanatic religion offered to Christian faith, in countries where the two religions came in contact, was not to be treated lightly. And so we find a series of apologies written to uphold the truth of Christianity in the face of Moslem errors. Perhaps the earliest was the "Discussion between a Saracen and a Christian" composed by St. John Damascene (about 750). In this apology he vindicates the dogma of the Incarnation against the rigid and fatalistic conception of God taught by Mohammed. He also demonstrates the superiority of the religion of Christ, pointing out the grave defects in Mohammed's life and teaching, and showing the Koran to be in its best parts but a feeble imitation of the Sacred Scriptures. Other apologies of a similar kind were composed by Peter the Venerable in the twelfth, and by Raymond of Martini in the thirteenth century. Hardly less dangerous to the Christian faith was the rationalistic philosophy of Islamism. The Arabian conquerors had learned from the Syrians the arts and sciences of the Greek world. They became especially proficient in medicine, mathematics, and philosophy, for the study of which they erected in every part of their domain schools and libraries. In the twelfth century Moorish Spain had nineteen colleges, and their renown attracted hundreds of Christian scholars from every part of Europe. Herein lay a grave menace to Christian orthodoxy, for the philosophy of Aristotle as taught in these schools had become thoroughly tinctured with Arabian pantheism and rationalism. The peculiar tenet of the celebrated Moorish philosopher Averroes was much in vogue, namely: that philosophy and religion are two independent spheres of thought, so that what is true in the one may be false in the other. Again, it was commonly taught that faith is for the masses who cannot think for themselves, but philosophy is a higher form of knowledge which noble minds should seek to acquire. Among the fundamental dogmas denied by the Arabian philosophers were creation, providence, and immortality. To vindicate Christianity against Mohammedan rationalism, St. Thomas composed (1261-64) his philosophical "Summa contra Gentiles", in four books. In this great apology the respective claims of reason and faith are carefully distinguished and harmonized, and a systematic demonstration of the grounds of faith is built up with arguments of reason and authority such as appealed directly to the minds of that day. In treating of God, providence, creation and the future life, St. Thomas refutes the chief errors of the Arabian, Jewish, and Greek philosophers, and shows that the genuine teaching of Aristotle confirms the great truths of religion. Three apologies composed in much the same spirit, but belonging to a later age, may be mentioned here. The one is the fine work of Louis Vivés, "De Veritate Fidei Christianæ Libri V" (about 1530). After treating the principles of natural theology, the Incarnation, and Redemption, he gives two dialogues, one between a Christian and a Jew, the other between a Christian and a Mohammaden, in which he shows the superiority of the Christian religion. Similar to this is the apology of the celebrated Dutch theologian Grotius, "De Veritate Religionis Christianæ" (1627). It is in six books. An able treatise on natural theology is followed by a demonstration of the truth of Christianity based on the life and miracles of Jesus, the holiness of His teaching, and the wonderful propagation of His religion. In proving the authenticity and trustworthiness of the Sacred Scriptures, Grotius appeals largely to internal evidence. The latter part of the work is devoted to a refutation of paganism, Judaism, and Mohammedanism. An apology on somewhat similar lines is that of the Huguenot, Philip deMornay, "De la vérité de la religion chrétienne" (1579). It is the first apology of note that was written in a modern tongue.

THIRD PERIOD. CATHOLICISM IN CONFLICT WITH PROTESTANTISM

The outbreak of Protestantism in the beginning of the sixteenth century, and its rejection of many of the fundamental features of Catholicism, called forth a mass of controversial apologetic literature. It was not, of course, the first time that the principles of Catholic belief had been questioned with reference to Christian orthodoxy. In the early ages of the Church heretical sects, assuming the right to profess allegiance and fidelity to the spirit of Christ, had given occasion to St. Irenæus "On Heresies", Tertullian "On Prescription against Heretics," St. Vincent of Lér ins, in his "Commonitory", to insist on unity with the Catholic Church, and, for the purpose of confuting the heretical errors of private interpretation, to appeal to an authoritative rule of faith. In like manner, the rise of heretical sects in the three centuries preceding the Reformation led to an accentuation of the fundamental principles of Catholicism, notably in Moneta's "Summa contra Catharos et Waldenses" (about 1225), and Torquemada's "Summa de Ecclesiâ" (1450). So to a far greater extent, in the outpouring from many sources of Protestant ideas, it became the duty of the hour to defend the true nature of the Church of Christ, to vindicate its authority, its divinely authorized hierarchy under the primacy of the Pope, its visibility, unity, perpetuity, and infallibility, along with other doctrines and practices branded as superstitious.

In the first heat of this gigantic controversy the writings on both sides were sharply polemic, abounding in personal recriminations. But towards the close of the century there developed a tendency to treat the controverted questions more in the manner of a calm, systematic apology. Two works belonging to this time are especially noteworthy. One is the "Disputations de controversiis Christianæ Fidei" (1581-92), by Robert Bellarmin, a monumental work of vast erudition, rich in apologetic material. The other is the "Principiorum Fidei Doctrinalium Demonstratio" (1579), by Robert Stapleton, whom Döllinger pronounced to be the prince of controversialists. Though not so erudite, it is more profound than the work of Bellarmin. Another excellent work of this period is that of Martin Becan, "De Ecclesiâ Christi" (1633).

FOURTH PERIOD. CHRISTIANITY IN CONFLICT WITH RATIONALISM

(A) From the Middle of the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century

Rationalism -- the setting up of the human reason as the source and measure of all knowable truth -- is, of course, not confined to any one period of human history. It has existed from the earliest days of philosophy. But in Christian society it did not become a notable factor till the middle of the seventeenth century, when it asserted itself chiefly in the form of Deism. It was associated, and even to a large extent identified with the rapidly growing movement towards greater intellectual freedom which, stimulated by fruitful scientific inquiry, found itself seriously hampered by the narrow views of inspiration and of historic Bible-interpretation which then prevailed. The Bible had been set up as an infallible source of knowledge not only in matters of religion, but of history, chronology, and physical science. The result was a reaction against the very essentials of Christianity. Deism became the intellectual fashion of the day, leading in many cases to downright atheism. Starting with the principle that no religious doctrine is of value that cannot be proved by experience or by philosophical reflection, the Deists admitted the existence of a God external to the world, but denied every form of divine intervention, and accordingly rejected revelation, inspiration, miracles, and prophecy. Together with unbelievers of a still more pronounced type, they assailed the historic value of the Bible, decrying its miraculous narratives as fraud and superstition. The movement started in England, and in the eighteenth century spread to France and Germany. Its baneful influence was deep and far-reaching, for it found zealous exponents in some of the leading philosophers and men of letters -- Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Voltaire, Rousseau, d'Alembert, Diderot, Lessing, Herder, and others. But able apologists were not lacking to champion the Christian cause. England produced several that won lasting honour for their scholarly defence of fundamental Christian truths -- Lardner, author of the "Credibility of the Gospel History", in twelve volumes (1741-55); Butler, likewise famous for his "Analogy of Religion Natural and Revealed to the Constitution of Nature" (1736); Campbell, who in his "Dissertation on Miracles" (1766) gave a masterly answer to Hume's arguments against miracles; and Paley, whose "Evidences of Christianity" (1794) and "Natural Theology" (1802) are among the classics of English theological literature. On the continent, the work of defence was carried on by such men as Bishop Huet, who published his "Démonstration Evangélique" in 1679; Leibnitz, whose "Théodicée" (1684), with its valuable introduction on the conformity of faith with reason, had a great influence for good; the Benedictine Abbot Gerbert, who gave a comprehensive Christian apology in his "Demonstratio Veræ Religionis Ver que Ecclesiæ Contra Quasvis Falsas" (1760); and the Abbé Bergier, whose "Traité historique et dogmatique de la vraie religion", in twelve volumes (1780), showed ability and erudition.

(B) The Nineteenth Century

In the last century the conflict of Christianity with rationalism was in part lightened and in part complicated by the marvelous development of scientific and historic inquiry. Lost languages, like the Egyptian and the Babylonian, were recovered, and thereby rich and valuable records of the past -- many of them unearthed by laborious and costly excavation -- were made to tell their story. Much of this bore on the relations of the ancient Hebrew people with the surrounding nations and, while in some instances creating new difficulties, for the most part helped to corroborate the truth of the Bible history. Out of these researches have grown a number of valuable and interesting apologetic studies on Old Testament history: Schrader, "Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament" (London, 1872); Hengstenberg's "Egypt and the Books of Moses" (London, 1845); Harper, "The Bible and Modern Discoveries" (London, 1891); McCurdy, "History, Prophecy, and the Monuments" (London-New York, 1894-1900); Pinches, "The Old Testament in the Light of the Historic Records of Assyria and Babylonia" (London-New York, 1902); Abbé Gainet, "La bible sans la bible, ou l'histoire de l'ancien testament par les seuls témoignages profanes" (Bar-le-Duc, 1871); Vigouroux, "La bible et les découvertes modernes" (Paris, 1889). On the other hand, Biblical chronology, as then understood, and the literal historic interpretation of the Book of Genesis were thrown into confusion by the advancing sciences -- astronomy, with its grand nebular hypothesis; biology, with its even more fruitful theory of evolution; geology, and prehistoric arch ology. Rationalists eagerly laid hold of these scientific data, and sought to turn them to the discredit of the Bible and likewise of the Christian religion. But able apologies were forthcoming to essay a conciliation of science and religion. Among them were: Dr. (afterwards Cardinal) Wiseman, "Twelve Lectures on the Connection between Science and Revealed Religion" (London, 1847), which, though antiquated in parts, is still valuable reading; Reusch, "Nature and the Bible" (London, 1876). Others more modern and up to date are: Duilhé de Saint-Projet, "Apologie scientifique de la foi chrétienne" (Paris, 1885); Abbé Guibert, "In the beginning" (New York, 1904), one of the best Catholic treatises on the subject; and more recent still, A. de Lapparent, "Science et apolog tique" (Paris, 1905). A more delicate form of scientific inquiry for Christian belief was the application of the principles of historic criticism to the books of Holy Scripture. Not a few Christian scholars looked with grave misgivings on the progress made in this legitimate department of human research, the results of which called for a reconstruction of many traditional views of Scripture. Rationalists found here a congenital field of study, which seemed to promise the undermining of Scripture-authority. Hence it was but natural that the encroachments of Biblical criticism on conservative theology should be disputed inch by inch. On the whole, the outcome of the long and spirited contest has been to the advantage of Christianity. It is true that the Pentateuch, so long attributed to Moses, is now held by the vast majority of non-Catholic, and by an increasing number of Catholic, scholars to be a compilation of four independent sources put together in final shape soon after the Captivity. But the antiquity of much of the contents of these sources has been firmly established, as well as the strong presumption that the kernel of the Pentateuchal legislation is of Mosaic institution. This has been shown by Kirkpatrick in his "Divine Library of the Old Testament" (London-New York, 1901), by Driver in his "Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament" (New York, 1897), and by Abbé Lagrange, in his "Méthode historique de l'Ancien Testament" (Paris, 1903; tr. London, 1905). In the New Testament the results of Biblical criticism are still more assuring. The attempt of the Tübingen school to throw the Gospels far into the second century, and to see in most of the Epistles of St. Paul the work of a much later hand, has been absolutely discredited. The synoptic Gospels are now generally recognized, even by advanced critics, to belong to the years 65-85, resting on still earlier written and oral sources, and the Gospel of St. John is brought with certainty down to at least A.D. 110, that is, within a very few years of the death of St. John. The three Epistles of St. John are recognized as genuine, the pastoral letters being now the chief object of dispute. Closely connected with the theory of the Tübingen School, was the attempt of the rationalist Strauss to explain away the miraculous element in the Gospels as the mythical fancies of an age much later than that of Jesus. Strauss's views, embodied in his "Life of Jesus" (1835), were ably refuted, together with the false assertions and inductionsof the Tübingen School by such Catholic scholars as Kuhn, Hug, Sepp, Döllinger, and by the Protestant critics, Ewald, Meyer, Wieseler, Tholuck, Luthardt, and others. The outcome of Strauss's "Life of Jesus," and of Renan's vain attempt to improve on it by giving it a legendary form (Vie de Jésus, 1863), has been a number of scholarly biographies of our blessed Lord: by Fouard, "Christ the Son of God" (New York, 1891); Didon, "Jesus Christ" (New York, 1891); Edersheim, "Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah" (New York, 1896), and others.

Another field of study which grew up chiefly in the last century, and has had an influence in shaping the science of apologetics, is the study of religions. The study of the great religious systems of the pagan world, and their comparison with Christianity, furnished material for a number of specious arguments against the independent and supernatural origin of the Christian religion. So, too, the study of the origin of religion in the light of the religious philosophy of uncultured peoples has been exploited against Christian (theistic belief) on the unwarranted ground that Christianity is but a refinement, through a long process of evolution, of a crude primitive religion originating in ghost-worship. Among those who have distinguished themselves in this branch of apologetics are Döllinger, whose "Heidenthum und Judenthum" (1857), tr. "Gentile and Jew in the Court of the Temple" (London, 1865-67), is a mine of information on the comparative merits of revealed religion and the paganism of the Roman world; Abbé de Broglie, author of the suggestive volume, "Problèmes et conclusions de l'histoire des religions" (Paris, 1886); Hardwick, Christ and other Masters" (London, 1875). Another factor in the growth of apologetics during the last century was the rise of numerous systems of philosophy that, in the teaching of such men as Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, Comte, and Spencer, were openly or covertly in opposition to Christian belief. To counteract these systems, Pope Leo XIII revived throughout the Catholic world the teaching of Thomistic philosophy. The many works written to vindicate Christian Theism against Pantheism, Materialism, Positivism, and Evolutionary Monism have been of great service to apologetics. Not all these philosophic apologies, indeed, are scholastic. They represent several modern schools of thought. France has furnished a number of able apologetic thinkers who lay chief stress on the subjective element in man, who point to the needs and aspirations of the soul, and to the corresponding fitness of Christianity, and of Christianity alone, to satisfy them. This line of thought has been worked out in various ways by the lately deceased Ollé-Laprune, author of "La certitude morale" (Paris, 1880), and "Le prix de la vie" (Paris, 1892); by Fonsegrive, "Le catholicisme et la vie de l'esprit" (Paris, 1899); and, in "L'action" (Paris, 1893), by Blondel, the founder of the so-called "Immanence School" the principles of which are embodied in the spiritual writings of Father Tyrrell, "Lex Orandi" (London, 1903), "Lex Credendi" (London, 1906). The continued opposition between Catholicism and Protestantism in the last century resulted in the production of a number of noteworthy apologetic writings: Möhler, "Symbolism", published in Germany in 1832, which has gone through many editions in English; Balmes, "Protestantism and Catholicity Compared in their Effects on the Civilization of Europe", a Spanish work published in English in 1840 (Baltimore); the works of the three illustrious English cardinals, Wiseman, Newman, and Manning, most of whose writings have a bearing on apologetics.

It is out of all these varied and extensive studies that apologetics has taken form. The vastness of the field makes it extremely difficult for any one writer to do it full justice. In fact a complete, comprehensive apology of uniform excellence still remains to be written.

Portions of this entry are taken from The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907.
Facts about ApologeticsRDF feed

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message