Reviews - What do customers think about Classical Readings in Christian Apologetics?
More of an Historical Apologetics Text Oct 11, 2005
There are dozens of compilations of Church Writings throughout Church history, but not too many which focus on apologetics. While L. Russ Bush's work "Classical Readings in Christian Apologetics" is one of those rare compilations, it is also one of the earliest in terms of publishing date. In other words, this book has been out there awhile and is still in print.
The book is a collection of writings that date from A.D. 100 to 1800. It is limited in its scope in spite of the wide time frame Bush has worked in. In other words, for such a long time frame there are only a few thinkers covered. However, good portions of the primary works of these thinkers are covered. The thinkers, who are covered in this work are: Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Calvin, Joseph Butler, and William Paley.
The interesting feature, however, is that Bush focuses only on these thinkers apologetic works. Additionally, here is a text which actually includes William Paley (an apologist who is often times overlooked). So, as far as apologetics is concerned and what certain thinkers thought through Church History regarding apologetics, this is a great 'primary' text.
Portions of each of the above mentioned thinkers are included in this compilation. This gives the reader a chance to get acquainted with each thinker. However, the onus is on the reader to go a step further and read each thinker more thoroughly.
If you want a good overall grasp of apologetics through Church History then this is a good place to begin. I highly recommend it!
Well Done Compendium of Apologetic Writings of 1700 years Apr 4, 2002
Bush does a reasonably well job of collecting the writings of some major Christian apologists of the era A.D. 100-1800.
This book is widely used in apologetics classes, as my exposure to this work was in a seminary class on the subject.
Here one will find exposure to a wide variety of Christian apologetical approaches over a wide time. Included are selections by Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Calvin, Butler and Paley.
If one has not been exposed to these famous apologists, this book will handsomely serve this purpose.
There is a well done Bibliographical essay on the Apologetics Scene in the 19th and 20th centuries by the author.
This is a valuable resource in the Christian apologist's resource library.
Excellent selections of primary source material! Mar 27, 2001
So don't feel like wading through the Summa Contra Gentiles or The City of God? Not up to reading Calvin's Institutes, the First Apology of Justin Marytr? Not feeling like spending a few weeks reading Butler's Analogy of Religion? Then this book is for you! L. Russ Bush was formerly Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Currently, he teaches philosophy of religion at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is also the Academic Dean. Bush put this together while on sabbatical from SWBTS several years ago, with the intension of giving readers a look into the development of apologetic methodology and specific examples of apologetic literature beyond the secondary source material most often read. Bush's desire is to give his readers a look at the primary source material. He succeeds completely!
His approach is not analytical. He simply writes a short biography of the chosen author and provides us with (lengthy) selections from the author's works. He also lists them in historical order, so the reader can more or less trace the development of apologetic thought and method as well as see how secular and religious history have been intertwined to affect how apologetics has been done.
The tome is, itself, 386 pages, much is in small print (all the selections). No doubt it would be double in size if the selections were in larger print. You'll need your reading glasses and good light if you have sight difficulties. The selections are quite lengthy as well. This is not light reading that can done in a few days if you wish to understand the apologists' methods and arguments. The selections come from: Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Ireaneus, Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine of Hippo, Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Joseph Butler, and William Paley. Please note, Calvin is more theologian than apologist, but his work is cited because of the consistency of thought that would characterize apologetic writing of the Reformation era to the modern day. Otherwise, while many of these are great theologians in their own way, Bush makes a careful distinction between apologetic writing and systematic theology, thus Luther, Edwards, and others are excluded, but, presumably would be included in a similar work on systematic theology.
In his final chapter, Bush writes a short, (and dare I say too short...as someone who took his philosophy class at SEBTS, I was a bit surprised at his brevity), but useful bibliographical essay on 19th century to modern apologetic literature. This essay is intended to steer the reader into the primary source material and give him a short working knowledge of the approaches used by apologists of this era.