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Christian Apologetics Past and Present (Volume 1, To 1500): A Primary Source Reader Hardcover – August 24, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


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

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

“This collection is superbly done and will bring much needed wisdom to our own times.”
David F. Wells, Distinguished Senior Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“For years I have wanted a book of primary sources in apologetics to use in my classes. Now we have an excellent one in this volume.”
John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida

“Edgar and Oliphint have skillfully selected the best pre-Reformation sources. Their volume, the first of two, fills a gap in scholarly resources and highlights the strength, wisdom, and solidity of defenders of the faith in earlier times.”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“This reader on the classical traditions of Christian apologetics is, to my knowledge, unmatched in basic compendia. It will equip and encourage thoughtful Christians to develop equally compelling defenses of the faith.”
Max L. Stackhouse, De Vries Professor of Theology and Public Life Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary

About the Author

William Edgar (DTheol, University of Geneva) is professor of apologetics and coordinator of the apologetics department at Westminster Theological Seminary. His books include Reasons of the Heart, The Face of Truth, and Truth in All Its Glory.

K. Scott Oliphint (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and has written numerous scholarly articles and books, including God With Us. He is also the co-editor of the two-volume Christian Apologetics Past and Present: A Primary Source Reader and Revelation and Reason: New Essays in Reformed Apologetics.

Peter Abelard was a French scholastic philosopher, theologian, and preeminent logician during the medieval period.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (August 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581349068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581349061
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #642,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mike Robinson on October 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Reformed presuppositionalist scholars Edgar and Oliphint provide a sample collection of history's best apologetic works of the Christian church. The editors offer *primary sources of many of the most vital apologetic texts starting from the New Testament up to 1500 AD. It is a fascinating anthology and many top seminary professors claim that they will make use of this collection in the classroom. Included in this compilation are some essential writings of Aristides, Justin Martyr, Origen, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and Savonarola.

This reviewer is an avid reader forasmuch as I consume every apologetic book I can obtain and this book disappoints me for two interconnected reasons:

1. The editors "let the texts speak for themselves" (one can find most of the documents in this assemblage on the internet without cost).
2. The editors (two of the brightest and most gifted presuppositional apologists of this generation) do not participate in much interaction with the sources they provide. One would desire to learn how the modern apologist can relate with the strengths and errors of the past greats. I desired a personal critique from these two brilliant men of letters, yet they only furnished a minuscule portion of their views. Supplying the historical texts at face value does not necessarily imply one cannot expound, evaluate, and comment at length on the documents provided. Thus I do not recommend this collection for those on a book budget.
*(translated in English).
God Does Exist!: Defending the faith using presuppositional apologetics, evidence, and the impossibility of the contrary
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By PastoralMusings VINE VOICE on October 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Christian Apologetics Past And Present
Vol 1: To 1500

ISBN-10: 1581349068 ISBN-13: 9781581349061
Christian Apologetics is a primary source reader. Instead of giving to us an apologetic argument, the editors have simply allowed people from the first sixteen centuries of Christianity to speak to us concerning the Christian faith.
First of all, I must say that this is a very good approach. Too often we commit the sin of what C.S. Lewis called "chronological snobbery" and think that we should apply ourselves more to contemporary writings. Sadly, those who ignore the past are certain to commit many of the same errors that have already been made. They will also fall into many of the heresies of the past. It is wise to present the words of past apologists that we might learn from them.
Second, I must say that I believe that the average person is neither familiar enough with the past to know what they should read. Neither do they have the money to buy the complete writings of the past. Even the thirty-eight volumes of the early church fathers is quite expensive. It is also a daunting task to try to read them. It is nowhere near such a task to sit down and carefully read a source book such as this.
I especially appreciate the care that was given to presenting the reader with a short biographical sketch of each one whose writings were included as well as the historical background into which they spoke.
A great plus for the reader is the fact that this book is extremely well bound. This book oozes quality in workmanship and in content.
It would be difficult to recommend this book too highly. For someone who wants to learn about apologetics, and for the one who desires to learn much about theology, too, this book is a blessing.
Many thanks to Angie Cheatham of Crossway for providing me with this copy of Christian Apologetics to review.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Pastor on July 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This Historical Anthology of Christian apologists Volume 1 is a decent attempt at a source book, but in the end falls short in many ways as a useful guide and tool. Here are a number of problems I found in using the book for Church History and Apologetics:

1. The introductory comments, while they are helpful to the book, are simply too short. There is more and far better information and analysis on each of the apologists to be found in Schaff's Church history and on Wikipedia for nothing, as well as is in more elaborate manuals of Church History.

2. The choice of apologists that are used as examples is quite poor. Or I should say, there are just too many important apologists that are not included in the book, such as: The Apostolic fathers, Hyppolytus, Eusebius, Lactantius, the Cappadocians, Patrick, Ambrose, Gregory the Great, John of Damascus, Alcuin, Gottschalk, Bernard of Clairvaux, Peter Lombard, Bonaventure, Thomas Kempis, Dante, Wyclif, Hus, Wessel Gansfort, etc... I know you can't include them all, but the book is really too slight for any level of instruction in Christian apologetics. It only includes 16 examples in the entire period of 1500 years from the New Testament to the Reformation. This has to be the most striking fault of the whole book! Only 16 Christian apologists taken from 1500 years of church history!!!! This must be a product of the dumbing down "No Child Left Behind" mentality of educational philosophy. My 13-14 year old kids read more extensively than what this volume includes.

3. The works that are included here are all easily accessible for free on the internet, without editing or condensing. In fact I have an outline of the history of apologetics that I use for Bible college level that is far more extensive than this, and it's for free.
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