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A History of Apologetics Paperback – August 30, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 417 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; 2nd edition (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898709334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898709339
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

REVISED UPDATED EDITION (AUGUST 2005)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Brumley on July 12, 2005
The Amazon reviews of Cardinal Dulles' A HISTORY OF APOLOGETICS point to what the reviewers regard as a deficiency in the 1971 edition, lack of an adequate treatment of Evangelical Protestant apologists of the second half of the 20th century. The REVISED and UPDATED edition just published by Ignatius Press expands the treatment of 20th century apologists, including Evangelical Protestant apologists, as well as apologetics in the post-Vatican II era and the New Apologetics Movement among Catholics.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steve Jackson on October 1, 2005
Avery Dulles (son of John Foster) is a distinguished American theologian. A convert to Roman Catholicism, he was the first American priest named a Cardinal on account of his contributions to theology (putting him in the rank of distinguished European theologians such as Henri de Lubac, Jean Danielou and Hans Urs von Balthasar.)

A HISTORY OF APOLOGETICS may be the only work available in English that surveys apologetics (that is the defense of the Christian faith) from the New Testament to contemporary times. Dulles treats both Catholic and Protestant thinkers, although the emphasis is on Catholic ones. For example, Calvin and Luther get a combined total of about five pages, which is the same as the eccentric Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

This emphasis is particularly noticeable when Dulles gets to contemporary Protestantism. Cornelius van Til and Gordon Clark are rather uncritically grouped together in spite of their legendary dustup in the 1940s. Neither gets nearly as much space of liberals such as Bultmann, Tillich and the brothers Neibuhr. For those who have been introduced to apologetics through studying orthodox Protestants, this part of the book will be a disappointment.

I was also surprised that Cardinal Dulles didn't discuss Eastern Orthodox thinkers. What about Berdyaev, or more recent thinkers such as Fr. Seraphim Rose or Nicholas Arseniev?

The above limitations shouldn't detract from the value of this work. The discussion of apologetic controversies in France from 1600-1800 is worth the price of the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matthew K. Minerd on February 11, 2006
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Cardinal Dulles' overview of Christian Apologetics is quite thorough and deserves to be looked at in the present age. The task of apologetics is always one which presents much difficulty, for the relationship between faith and reason is one which always tries to maintain its balance while apologetics can sometimes tip the scale entirely toward reason while depriving faith of its gracious nature. However, when one is trying to truly define apologetics, it is most excellent to have a historic overview to see the true development of it throughout history. From this, one can then surmise the high and low points of apologetical work and then march forth in a more fully formed understanding of how the Faith is to be defended.

I do not doubt that many readers will appreciated that Dulles does not approach inner-Christian polemic apologetics. Instead, he tries to retain a spirit of presenting it as a defense to the world and as a whole. History is littered with such polemic arguments between Protestants and Catholics, Catholics and Orthodox, etc. He does not deny that these exist but does not wish to even open that road up. He instead wants to outline the currents of thought in Christian apologetics to the world from various views.

The footnotes for the text are absolutely wonderful. The reader is given the chance to see many different sources to further their investigation of apologists of their choice. I think that the primary aim of this text is just that. It introduces the reader to the generalities of apologists throughout history and opens the door to deeper investigation.

Although it does seem that much of the East is not given heavy treatment, I cannot respond greatly to this, as I am not as familiar with the general currents of the Orthodox communities.
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By Kita on July 30, 2013
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Written from a Catholic theological viewpoint, probably the best single resource for the History of Apologetics. Very thorough and well written.
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