New Books: An Apologetics Primary Source Reader

Erasmus famous statement summarizes the bibliophilia that many of us know well: “When I get a little money I buy books, and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” And for those who are interested in becoming better acquainted with apologetics, this new work will be a prized investment.

Christian Apologetics Past and Present: A Primary Source Reader

It is said that the only thing worse than nostalgia is amnesia. Christian Apologetics Past and Present is a book that will go a long way in helping to address the amnesia of the church. In it, William Edgar and K. Scot Oliphint have corralled some of the primary source documents of the earliest apologists and given us a valuable link to the intellectual heritage that the we all share. The book will be released at the end of this month and is the first of two proposed volumes featuring original writings of important apologists throughout history.  Volume 1 presents documents from the time of the early church (100-400) to the Middle Ages (400-1500) and will feature thinkers such as Aristides, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas.

This primary source reader will not just be a collection of original texts. Along with timelines and maps, each section is introduced with a commentary on the biographical and historical context of each thinker. Each text is also followed by questions that can be used for group discussion or to stimulate personal reflection and study.

Edgar and Oliphint are both professors of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and authors of numerous books. I haven’t encountered much of Edgar’s work, but what I’ve read of Oliphint (Reason’s for Faith) has left me wanting more. While Christian Apologistics Past and Present isn’t exactly the book for me to do that, it still looks to be a useful reference guide. We cannot afford to neglect our roots, and our witness to Jesus Christ will doubtless benefit from knowing the arguments that have shaped the apologetic enterprise and buttressed “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints”.

512 Pages. 39 US Dollars Hardcover (54 NZ Dollars)


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