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Significance of the Term (§ 1)
Place Among the Theological Disciplines (§ 2)
Source of Divergent Views (§ 3)
The True Task of Apologetics (§ 4)
Division of Apologetics (§ 5)
The Conception of Theology as a Science (§ 6)
The Five Subdivisions of Apologetics (§ 7)
The Value of Apologetics (§ 8)
Relation of Apologetics to Christian Faith (§ 9)
The Earliest Apologetics (§ 10)
The Later Apologetics (§ 11).
1. Significance of the Term.
Since Planck (1794) and Schleiermacher (1811), “apologetics” has been the accepted name of one of the theological disciplines or departments of theological science. The term is derived from the Greek apologeisthai, which embodies as its central notion the idea of “defense.” In its present application, however, it has somewhat shifted its meaning, and we speak accordingly of apologetics and apologies in contrast with each other. The relation between these two is not that of theory and practise (so, e.g., Düsterdieck), nor yet that of genus and species (so, e.g., Kübel). That is to say, apologetics is not a formal science in which the principles exemplified in apologies are investigated, as the principles of sermonizing are investigated in homiletics. Nor is it merely the sum of all existing or all possible apologies, or their quintessence, or their scientific exhibition, as dogmatics is the scientific statement of dogmas. Apologies are 233 defenses of Christianity, in its entirety, in its essence, or in some one or other of its elements or presuppositions, as against either all assailants, actual or conceivable, or some particular form or instance of attack; though, of course, as good defenses they may rise above mere defenses and become vindications. Apologetics undertakes not the defense, not even the vindication, but the establishment, not, strictly speaking, of Christianity, but rather of that knowledge of God which Christianity professes to embody and seeks to make efficient in the world, and which it is the business of theology scientifically to explicate. It may, of course, enter into defense and vindication when in the prosecution of its task it meets with opposing points of view and requires to establish its own standpoint or conclusions. Apologies may, therefore, be embraced in apologetics, and form ancillary portions of its structure, as they may also do in the case of every other theological discipline. It is, moreover, inevitable that this or that element or aspect of apologetics will be more or less emphasized and cultivated, as the need of it is from time to time more or less felt. But apologetics does not derive its contents or take its form or borrow its value from the prevailing opposition; but preserves through all varying circumstances its essential character as a positive and constructive science which has to do with opposition only—like any other constructive science—as the refutation of opposing views becomes from time to time incident to construction. So little is defense or vindication of the essence of apologetics that there would be the same reason for its existence and the same necessity for its work, were there no opposition in the world to be encountered and no contradiction to be overcome. It finds its deepest ground, in other words, not in the accidents which accompany the efforts of true religion to plant, sustain, and propagate itself in this world; not even in that most pervasive and most portentous of all these accidents, the accident of sin; but in the fundamental needs of the human spirit. If it is incumbent on the believer to be able to give a reason for the faith that is in him, it is impossible for him to be a believer without a reason for the faith that is in him; and it is the task of apologetics to bring this reason clearly out in his consciousness, and make its validity plain. It is, in other words, the function of apologetics to investigate, explicate, and establish the grounds on which a theology—a science, or systematized knowledge of God—is possible; and on the basis of which every science which has God for its object must rest, if it be a true science with claims to a place within the circle of the sciences. It necessarily takes its place, therefore, at the head of the departments of theological science and finds its task in the establishment of the validity of that knowledge of God which forms the subject-matter of these departments; that we may then proceed through the succeeding departments of exegetical, historical, systematic, and practical theology, to explicate, appreciate, systematize, and propagate it in the world.
2. Place Among the Theological Disciplines.
It must be admitted that considerable confusion has reigned with respect to the conception and function of apologetics, and its place among the theological disciplines. Nearly every writer has a definition of his own, and describes the task of the discipline in a fashion more or less peculiar to himself; and there is scarcely a corner in the theological encyclopedia into which it has not been thrust. Planck gave it a place among the exegetical disciplines; others contend that its essence is historical; most wish to assign it either to systematic or practical theology. Nösselt denies it all right of existence; Palmer confesses inability to classify it; Räbiger casts it formally out of the encyclopedia, but reintroduces it under the different name of “theory of religion.” Tholuck proposed that it should be apportioned through the several departments; and Cave actually distributes its material through three separate departments. Much of this confusion is due to a persistent confusion of apologetics with apologies. If apologetics is the theory of apology, and its function is to teach men how to defend Christianity, its place is, of course, along side of homiletics, catechetics, and poimenics in practical theology. If it is simply, by way of eminence, the apology of Christianity, the systematically organized vindication of Christianity in all its elements and details, against all opposition or in its essential core against the only destructive opposition—it of course presupposes the complete development of Christianity through the exegetical, historical, and systematic disciplines, and must take its place either as the culminating department of systematic theology, or as the intellectualistic side of practical theology, or as an independent discipline between the two. In this case it can be only artificially separated from polemic theology and other similar disciplines—if the analysis is pushed so far as to create these, as is done by F. Duilhé de Saint-Projet who distinguishes between apologetical, controversial, and polemic theology, directed respectively against unbelievers, heretics, and fellow believers, and by A. Kuyper who distinguishes between polemics, elenchtics, and apologetics, opposing respectively heterodoxy, paganism, and false philosophy. It will not be strange, then, if, though separated from these kindred disciplines it, or some of it, should be again united with them, or some of them, to form a larger whole to which is given the same encyclopedic position. This is done for example by Kuyper who joins polemics, elenchtics, and apologetics together to form his “antithetic dogmatological” group of disciplines; and by F. L. Patton who, after having distributed the material of apologetics into the two separate disciplines of rational or philosophical theology, to which as a thetic discipline a place is given at the outset of the system, and apologetics, joins the latter with polemics to constitute the antithetical disciplines, while systematic theology succeeds both as part of the synthetic disciplines.
3. Source of Divergent Views.
Much of the diversity in question is due also, however, to varying views of the thing which apologetics undertakes to establish; whether it be, for example, the truth of the Christian religion, or the validity of that knowledge of God which theology 234 presents in systematized form. And more of it still is due to profoundly differing conceptions of the nature and subject-matter of that “theology,” a department of which apologetics is. If we think of apologetics as undertaking the defense or the vindication or even the justification of the “Christian religion,” that is one thing; if we think of it as undertaking the establishment of the validity of that knowledge of God, which “theology” systematizes, that may be a very different thing. And even if agreement exists upon the latter conception, there remain the deeply cutting divergences which beset the definition of “theology” itself. Shall it be defined as the “science of faith"? or as the “science of religion"? or as the “science of the Christian religion"? or as the “science of God"? In other words, shall it be regarded as a branch of psychology, or as a branch of history, or as a branch of science? Manifestly those who differ thus widely as to what theology is, can not be expected to agree as to the nature and function of any one of its disciplines. If “theology” is the science of faith or of religion, its subject-matter is the subjective experiences of the human heart; and the function of apologetics is to inquire whether these subjective experiences have any objective validity. Of course, therefore, it follows upon the systematic elucidation of these subjective experiences and constitutes the culminating discipline of “theology.” Similarly, if “theology” is the science of the Christian religion, it investigates the purely historical question of what those who are called Christians believe; and of course the function of apologetics is to follow this investigation with an inquiry whether Christians are justified in believing these things. But if theology is the science of God, it deals not with a mass of subjective experiences, nor with a section of the history of thought, but with a body of objective facts; and it is absurd to say that these facts must be assumed and developed unto their utmost implications before we stop to ask whether they are facts. So soon as it is agreed that theology is a scientific discipline and has as its subject-matter the knowledge of God, we must recognize that it must begin by establishing the reality as objective facts of the data upon which it is based. One may indeed call the department of theology to which this task is committed by any name which appears to him appropriate: it may be called “general theology,” or “fundamental theology,” or “principal theology,” or “philosophical theology,” or “rational theology,” or “natural theology,” or any other of the innumerable names which have been used to describe it. Apologetics is the name which most naturally suggests itself, and it is the name which, with more or less accuracy of view as to the nature and compass of the discipline, has been consecrated to this purpose by a large number of writers from Schleiermacher down (e.g., Pelt, Twesten, Baumstark, Swetz, Ottiger, Knoll, Maissoneuve). It powerfully commends itself as plainly indicating the nature of the discipline, while equally applicable to it whatever may be the scope of the theology which it undertakes to plant on a secure basis. Whether this theology recognizes no other knowledge of God than that given in the constitution and course of nature, or derives its data from the full revelation of God as documented in the Christian scriptures, apologetics offers itself with equal readiness to designate the discipline by which the validity of the knowledge of God set forth is established. It need imply no more than natural theology requires for its basis; when the theology which it serves is, however, the complete theology of the Christian revelation, it guards its unity and protects from the fatally dualistic conception which sets natural and revealed theology over against each other as separable entities, each with its own separate presuppositions requiring establishment by which apologetics would be split into two quite diverse disciplines, given very different places in the theological encyclopedia.
4. The True Task of Apologetics.
It will already have appeared how far apologetics may be defined, in accordance with a very prevalent custom (e.g., Sack, Lechler, Ebrard, Kübel, Lemme) as “the science which establishes the truth of Christianity as the absolute religion.” Apologetics certainly does establish the truth of Christianity as the absolute religion. But the question of importance here is how it does this. It certainly is not the business of apologetics to take up each tenet of Christianity in turn and seek to establish its truth by a direct appeal to reason. Any attempt to do this, no matter on what philosophical basis the work of demonstration be begun or by what methods it be pursued, would transfer us at once into the atmosphere and betray us into the devious devices of the old vulgar rationalism, the primary fault of which was that it asked for a direct rational demonstration of the truth of each Christian teaching in turn. The business of apologetics is to establish the truth of Christianity as the absolute religion directly only as a whole, and in its details only indirectly. That is to say, we are not to begin by developing Christianity into all its details, and only after this task has been performed, tardily ask whether there is any truth in all this. We are to begin by establishing the truth of Christianity as a whole, and only then proceed to explicate it into its details, each of which, if soundly explicated, has its truth guaranteed by its place as a detail in an entity already established in its entirety. Thus we are delivered from what is perhaps the most distracting question which has vexed the whole history of the discipline. In establishing the truth of Christianity, it has been perennially asked, are we to deal with all its details (e.g., H. B. Smith), or merely with the essence of Christianity (e.g., Kübel). The true answer is, neither. Apologetics does not presuppose either the development of Christianity into its details, or the extraction from it of its essence. The details of Christianity are all contained in Christianity: the minimum of Christianity is just Christianity itself. What apologetics undertakes to establish is just this Christianity itself—including all its “details” and involving its “essence"—in its unexplicated and uncompressed 235 entirety, as the absolute religion. It has for its object the laying of the foundations on which the temple of theology is built, and by which the whole structure of theology is determined. It is the department of theology which establishes the constitutive and regulative principles of theology as a science; and in establishing these it establishes all the details which are derived from them by the succeeding departments, in their sound explication and systematization. Thus it establishes the whole, though it establishes the whole in the mass, so to speak, and not in its details, but yet in its entirety and not in some single element deemed by us its core, its essence, or its minimum expression.
5. Division of Apologetics.
The subject-matter of apologetics being determined, its distribution into its parts becomes very much a matter of course. Having defined apologetics as the proof of the truth of the Christian religion, many writers naturally confine it to what is commonly known somewhat loosely as the “evidences of Christianity.” Others, defining it as “fundamental theology,” equally naturally confine it to the primary principles of religion in general. Others more justly combine the two conceptions and thus obtain at least two main divisions. Thus Hermann Schultz makes it prove “the right of the religious conception of the world, as over against the tendencies to the denial of religion, and the right of Christianity as the absolutely perfect manifestation of religion, as over against the opponents of its permanent significance.” He then divides it into two great sections with a third interposed between them: the first, “the apology of the religious conception of the world;” the last, “the apology of Christianity;” while between the two stands “the philosophy of religion, religion in its historical manifestation.” Somewhat less satisfactorily, because with a less firm hold upon the idea of the discipline, Henry B. Smith, viewing apologetics as “historico-philosophical dogmatics,” charged with the defense of “the whole contents and substance of the Christian faith,” divided the material to much the same effect into what he calls fundamental, historical, and philosophical apologetics. The first of these undertakes to demonstrate the being and nature of God; the second, the divine origin and authority of Christianity; and the third, somewhat lamely as a conclusion to so high an argument, the superiority of Christianity to all other systems. Quite similarly Francis R. Beattie divided into (1) fundamental or philosophical apologetics, which deals with the problem of God and religion; (2) Christian or historical apologetics, which deals with the problem of revelation and the Scriptures; and (3) applied or practical apologetics, which deals with the practical efficiency of Christianity in the world. The fundamental truth of these schematizations lies in the perception that the subject-matter of apologetics embraces the two great facts of God and Christianity. There is some failure in unity of conception, however, arising apparently from a deficient grasp of the peculiarity of apologetics as a department of theological science, and a consequent inability to permit it as such to determine its own contents and the natural order of its constituent parts.
6. The Conception of Theology as a Science.
If theology be a science at all, there is involved in that fact, as in the case of all other sciences, at least these three things: the reality of its subject-matter, the capacity of the human mind to receive into itself and rationally to reflect this subject-matter, the existence of media of communication between the subject-matter and the percipient and understanding mind. There could be no psychology were there not a mind to be investigated, a mind to investigate, and a self-consciousness by means of which the mind as an object can be brought under the inspection of the mind as subject. There could be no astronomy were there no heavenly bodies to be investigated, no mind capable of comprehending the laws of their existence and movements, or no means of observing their structure and motion. Similarly there can be no theology, conceived according to its very name as the science of God, unless there is a God to form its subject-matter, a capacity in the human mind to apprehend and so far to comprehend God, and some media by which God is made known to man. That a theology, as the science of God, may exist, therefore, it must begin by establishing the existence of God, the capacity of the human mind to know him, and the accessibility of knowledge concerning him. In other words, the very idea of theology as the science of God gives these three great topics which must be dealt with in its fundamental department, by which the foundations for the whole structure are laid,—God, religion, revelation. With these three facts established, a theology as the science of God becomes possible; with them, therefore, an apologetic might be complete. But that, only provided that in these three topics all the underlying presuppositions of the science of God actually built up in our theology are established; for example, provided that all the accessible sources and means of knowing God are exhausted. No science can arbitrarily limit the data lying within its sphere to which it will attend. On pain of ceasing to be the science it professes to be, it must exhaust the means of information open to it, and reduce to a unitary system the entire body of knowledge in its sphere. No science can represent itself as astronomy, for example, which arbitrarily confines itself to the information concerning the heavenly bodies obtainable by the unaided eye, or which discards, without sound ground duly adduced, the aid of, say, the spectroscope. In the presence of Christianity in the world making claim to present a revelation of God adapted to the condition and needs of sinners, and documented in Scriptures, theology can not proceed a step until it has examined this claim; and if the claim be substantiated, this substantiation must form a part of the fundamental department of theology in which are laid the foundations for the systematization of the knowledge of God. In that case, two new topics are added to the subject-matter with which apologetics must constructively deal, Christianity—and the Bible. It thus lies in the very nature of apologetics 236 as the fundamental department of theology, conceived as the science of God, that it should find its task in establishing the existence of a God who is capable of being known by man and who has made himself known, not only in nature but in revelations of his grace to lost sinners, documented in the Christian Scriptures. When apologetics has placed these great facts in our hands—God, religion, revelation, Christianity, the Bible—and not till then are we prepared to go on and explicate the knowledge of God thus brought to us, trace the history of its workings in the world, systematize it, and propagate it in the world.
7. The Five Subdivisions of Apologetics.
The primary subdivisions of apologetics are therefore five, unless for convenience of treatment it is preferred to sink the third into its most closely related fellow. (1) The first, which may perhaps be called philosophical apologetics, undertakes the establishment of the being of God, as a personal spirit, the Creator, preserver, and governor of all things. To it belongs the great problem of theism, with the involved discussion of the antitheistic theories. (2) The second, which may perhaps be called psychological apologetics, undertakes the establishment of the religious nature of man and the validity of his religious sense. It involves the discussion alike of the psychology, the philosophy, and the phenomenology of religion, and therefore includes what is loosely called “comparative religion” or the “history of religions.” (3) To the third falls the establishment of the reality of the supernatural factor in history, with the involved determination of the actual relations in which God stands to his world, and the method of his government of his rational creatures, and especially his mode of making himself known to them. It issues in the establishment of the fact of revelation as the condition of all knowledge of God, who as a personal Spirit can be known only so far as he expresses himself; so that theology differs from all other sciences in that in it the object is not at the disposal of the subject, but vice versa. (4) The fourth, which may be called historical apologetics, undertakes to establish the divine origin of Christianity as the religion of revelation in the special sense of that word. It discusses all the topics which naturally fall under the popular caption of the “evidences of Christianity.” (5) The fifth, which may be called bibliological apologetics, undertakes to establish the trustworthiness of the Christian Scriptures as the documentation of the revelation of God for the redemption of sinners. It is engaged especially with such topics as the divine origin of the Scriptures; the methods of the divine operation in their origination; their place in the series of redemptive acts of God, and in the process of revelation; the nature, mode, and effect of inspiration; and the like.
8. The Value of Apologetics.
The estimate which is put upon apologetics by scholars naturally varies with the conception which is entertained of its nature and function. In the wake of the subjectivism introduced by Schleiermacher, it has become very common to speak of such an apologetic as has just been outlined with no little scorn. It is an evil inheritance, we are told, from the old supranaturalismus vulgaris, which “took its standpoint not in the Scriptures but above the Scriptures, and imagined it could, with formal conceptions, develop a “ground for the divine authority of Christianity” (Heubner), and therefore offered proofs for the divine origin of Christianity, the necessity of revelation, and the credibility of the Scriptures” (Lemma). To recognize that we can take our standpoint in the Scriptures only after we have Scriptures, authenticated as such, to take our standpoint in, is, it seems, an outworn prejudice. The subjective experience of faith is conceived to be the ultimate fact; and the only legitimate apologetic, just the self-justification of this faith itself. For faith, it seems, after Kant, can no longer be looked upon as a matter of reasoning and does not rest on rational grounds, but is an affair of the heart, and manifests itself most powerfully when it has no reason out of itself (Brunetière). If repetition had probative force, it would long ago have been established that faith, religion, theology, lie wholly outside of the realm of reason, proof, and demonstration.
It is, however, from the point of view of rationalism and mysticism that the value of apologetics is most decried. Wherever rationalistic preconceptions have penetrated, there, of course, the validity of the apologetic proofs has been in more or less of their extent questioned. Wherever mystical sentiment has seeped in, there the validity of apologetics has been with more or less emphasis doubted. At the present moment, the rationalistic tendency is most active, perhaps, in the form given it by Albrecht Ritschl. In this form it strikes at the very roots of apologetics, by the distinction it erects between theoretical and religious knowledge. Religious knowledge is not the knowledge of fact, but a perception of utility; and therefore positive religion, while it may be historically conditioned, has no theoretical basis, and is accordingly not the object of rational proof. In significant parallelism with this, the mystical tendency is manifesting itself at the present day most distinctly in a wide-spread inclination to set aside apologetics in favor of the “witness of the Spirit.” The convictions of the Christian man, we are told, are not the product of reason addressed to the intellect, but the immediate creation of the Holy Spirit in the heart. Therefore, it is intimated, we may do very well without these reasons, if indeed they are not positively noxious, because tending to substitute a barren intellectualism for a vital faith. It seems to be forgotten that though faith be a moral act and the gift of God, it is yet formally conviction passing into confidence; and that all forms of convictions must rest on evidence as their ground, and it is not faith but reason which investigates the nature and validity of this ground. “He who believes,” says Thomas Aquinas, in words which have become current as an axiom, “would not believe unless he saw that what he believes is worthy of belief.” Though faith is the gift of God, it does not in the least follow that the faith which God gives is an irrational faith, that is, a faith 237 without cognizable ground in right reason. We believe in Christ because it is rational to believe in him, not even though it be irrational. Of course mere reasoning can not make a Christian; but that is not because faith is not the result of evidence, but because a dead soul can not respond to evidence. The action of the Holy Spirit in giving faith is not apart from evidence, but along with evidence; and in the first instance consists in preparing the soul for the reception of the evidence.
9. Relation of Apologetics to Christian Faith.
This is not to argue that it is by apologetics that men are made Christians, but that apologetics supplies to Christian men the systematically organized basis on which the faith of Christian men must rest. All that apologetics explicates in the forms of systematic proof is implicit in every act of Christian faith. Whenever a sinner accepts Jesus Christ as his savior, there is implicated in that act a living conviction that there is a God, knowable to man, who has made himself known in a revelation of himself for redemption in Jesus Christ, as is set down in the Scriptures. It is not necessary for his act of faith that all the grounds of this conviction should be drawn into full consciousness and given the explicit assent of his understanding, though it is necessary for his faith that sufficient ground for his conviction be actively present and working in his spirit. But it is necessary for the vindication of his faith to reason in the form of scientific judgment, that the grounds on which it rests be explicated and established. Theology as a science, though it includes in its culminating discipline, that of practical theology, an exposition of how that knowledge of God with which it deals objectively may best be made the subjective possession of man, is not itself the instrument of propaganda; what it undertakes to do is systematically to set forth this knowledge of God as the object of rational contemplation. And as it has to set it forth as knowledge, it must of course begin by establishing its right to rank as such. Did it not do so, the whole of its work would hang in the air, and theology would present the odd spectacle among the sciences of claiming a place among a series of systems of knowledge for an elaboration of pure assumptions.
10. The Earliest Apologetics.
Seeing that it thus supplies an insistent need of the human spirit, the world has, of course, never been without its apologetics. Whenever men have thought at all they have thought about God and the supernatural order; and whenever they have thought of God and the supernatural order, there has been present to their minds a variety of more or less solid reasons for believing in their reality. The enucleation of these reasons into a systematically organized body of proofs waited of course upon advancing culture. But the advent of apologetics did not wait for the advent of Christianity; nor are traces of this department of thought discoverable only in the regions lit up by special revelation. The philosophical systems of antiquity, especially those which derive from Plato, are far from empty of apologetical elements; and when in the later, stages of its development, classical philosophy became peculiarly religious, express apologetical material became almost predominant. With the coming of Christianity into the world, however, as the contents of the theology to be stated became richer, so the efforts to substantiate it became more fertile in apologetical elements. We must not confuse the apologies of the early Christian ages with formal apologetics. Like the sermons of the day, they contributed to apologetics without being it. The apologetic material developed by what one may call the more philosophical of the apologists (Aristides, Athenagoras, Tatian, Theophilus, Hermias, Tertullian) was already considerable; it was largely supplemented by the theological labors of their successors. In the first instance Christianity, plunged into a polytheistic environment and called upon to contend with systems of thought grounded in pantheistic or dualistic assumptions, required to establish its theistic standpoint; and as over against the bitterness of the Jews and the mockery of the heathen (e.g., Tacitus, Fronto, Crescens, Lucian), to evince its own divine origin as a gift of grace to sinful man. Along with Tertullian, the great Alexandrians, Clement and Origen, are the richest depositaries of the apologetic thought of the first period. The greatest apologists of the patristic age were, however, Eusebius of Cæsarea and Augustine. The former was the most learned and the latter the most profound of all the defenders of Christianity among the Fathers. And Augustine, in particular, not merely in his “City of God” but in his controversial writings, accumulated a vast mesa of apologetical material which is far from having lost its significance even yet.
11. The Later Apologetics.
It was not, however, until the scholastic age that apologetics came to its rights as a constructive science. The whole theological activity of the Middle Ages was so far ancillary to apologetics, that its primary effort was the justification of faith to reason. It was not only rich in apologists (Agobard, Abelard, Raymund Martini), but every theologian was in a sense an apologist. Anselm at its beginning, Aquinas at its culmination, are types of the whole series; types in which all its excellencies are summed up. The Renaissance with its repristination of heathenism, naturally called out a series of new apologists (Savonarola, Marsilius Ficinus, Ludovicus Vives) but the Reformation forced polemics into the foreground and drove apologetics out of sight, although, of course, the great theologians of the Reformation era brought their rich contribution to the accumulating apologetical material. When, in the exhaustion of the seventeenth century, irreligion began to spread among the people and indifferentism ripening into naturalism among the leaders of thought, the stream of apologetical thought was once more started flowing, to swell into a great flood as the prevalent unbelief intensified and spread. With a forerunner in Philippe de Mornay (1581), Hugo Grotius (1627) became the typical apologist of the earlier portion of this period, while its middle portion was illuminated by the genius of Pascal 238 (d. 1662) and the unexampled richness of apologetical labor in its later years culminated in Butler’s great Analogy (1736) and Paley’s plain but powerful argumentation. As the assault against Christianity shifted its basis from the English deism of the early half of the eighteenth century through the German rationalism of its later half, the idealism which dominated the first half of the nineteenth century, and thence to the materialism of its later years, period after period was marked in the history of apology, and the particular elements of apologetics which were especially cultivated changed with the changing thought. But no epoch was marked in the history of apologetics itself, until under the guidance of Schleiermacher’s attempt to trace the organism of the departments of theology, K. H. Sack essayed to set forth a scientifically organized “Christian Apologetics” (Hamburg, 1829; 2d ed., 1841). Since then an unbroken series of scientific systems of apologetics has flowed from the press. These differ from one another in almost every conceivable way; in their conception of the nature, task, compass, and encyclopedic place of the science; in their methods of dealing with its material; in their conception of Christianity itself; and of religion and of God and of the nature of the evidence on which belief in one or the other must rest. But they agree in the fundamental point that apologetics is conceived by all alike as a special department of theological science, capable of and demanding separate treatment. In this sense apologetics has come at last, in the last two-thirds of the nineteenth century, to its rights. The significant names in its development are such as, perhaps, among the Germans, Sack, Steudel, Delitzsch, Ebrard, Baumstark, Tölle, Kratz, Kübel, Steude, Franck, Kaftan, Vogel, Schultz, Kähler; to whom may be added such Romanists as Drey, Dieringer, Staudenmeyer, Hettinger, Schanz, and such English-speaking writers as Hetherington, H. B. Smith, Bruce, Rishell, and Beattie.
Bibliography: Lists of literature will be found in F. R. Beattie’s Apologetics, Richmond, 1903; in A. Cave, Introduction to Theology, Edinburgh, 1896; in G. R. Crooks and J. F. Hurst, Theological Encyclopedia and Theology, pp. 434-437, New York, 1894; in P. Schaff, Theological Propœdeutic, ib. 1893. Consult F. L. Patton, in Princeton Theological Review, ii. 110 sqq.; Presbyterian and Reformed Review, vii. (1896), pp. 243 sqq. On the history of apologetics and apologetic method: H. E. Tzschirmer, Geschichte der Apologetik, Leipsic, 1805; G. H. van Senden, Geschichte der Apologelik, 2 vols., Stuttgart, 1846; K. Werner, Geschichte der apologetischen und polemischen Literatur, 5 vols. Schaffhausen, 1861-67 (Roman Catholic); W. Haan, Geschichte der Vertheidigung des Christentums, Frankenberg, 1882 (popular). For early Christian apologies consult ANF and NPNF, Am. ed., New York, 1884-1900; for discussions of these, F. Watson, The Ante-Nicene Apologies, their Character and Value, Cambridge, 1870 (Hulsean essay); W. J. Bolton, Evidences of Christianity as exhibited in the . . . Apologists down to Augustine, London, 1853; F. R. Wynne, The Literature of the Second Century, London, 1891 (popular but scholarly); A. Seits, Apologie des Christentums bei den Griechen des IV. und V. Jahrhunderten, Würzburg, 1895. On special phases in the history of apologetics: L. Noack, Die Freidenker in der Religion, oder die Repräsentanten der religiösen Aufklärung in England, Frankreich und Deutschland, 3 vols., Bern, 1853-55; A. S. Farrar, Critical History of Free Thought, London, 1863; C. R. Hagenbach, German Rationalism in its Rise, Progress, and Decline, Edinburgh, 1865; A. Viguié; Histoire de l’apologétique dans l’église reformée française, Geneva, 1858; H. B. Smith, Apologetics, New York, 1882 (appendix contains sketches of German apologetic works); J. F. Hurst, History of Rationalism, ib. 1902; A. H. Huizinga, Some Recent Phases of Evidences of Christianity, in Presbyterian and Reformed Review, vii. (1896) 34 sqq. Apologetical literature: F. R. Beattie, Apologetics, or the Rational Vindication of Christianity, i., Richmond, 1903 (to be completed in 3 vols.); W. M. Hetherington, Apologetics of the Christian Faith, Edinburgh, 1867; J. H. A. Ebrard, Apologetik, Gütersloh, 1880 (Eng. transl. Apologetics, or the Scientific Vindication of Christianity, 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1886-87); A. Mair, Studies in the Christian Evidences, Einburgh, 1883; G. F. Wright, Logic of Christian Evidences, Andover, 1884; F. H. R. Frank, System der christlichen Gewissheit, Erlangen, 1884, Eng. transl., Christian Certainty, Edinburgh, 1886; P. Schanz, Apologie des Christentums, 3 vols., Freiburg, 1887-88, Eng. transl., Christian Apology, New York, 1894 (Roman Catholic); L. F. Stearns, The Evidence of Christian Experience, New York, 1891 (the best book on the subject); A. B. Bruce, Apologetics, or Christianity defensively stated, Edinburgh, 1892; H. Wace, Students’ Manual of the Evidences of Christianity, London, 1892; J. Kaftan, Wahrheit der christlichen Religion, Bielefeld, 1888, Eng. transl., 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1894; C. W. Riehell, Foundations of the Christian Faith, New York, 1899; W. Devivier, Cours d’apologétique chrétienne, Paris, 1889, Eng. transl., Christian apologetics, 2 vols., New York, 1903; A. Harnack, What is Christianity? London, 1901; J. T. Bergen, Evidence of Christianity, Holland, Mich.,1902; A. M. Randolph, Reason, Faith, and Authority in Christianity, New York, 1903; the Boyle and Bampton lecture series deal exclusively with subjects in apologetics; see also under Agnosticism; Antitrinitarianism, and Atheism.
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