Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Dulles' History of Apologetics

Yes, I've been very remiss in posting since just before Christmas. To say it's been hectic would only cover the half of it. Fortunately I managed to not make "post more and better" one of my New Year's resolutions or I'd have blown that already.

I still don't quite have a lot of time, but I wanted to mention that I just finished Avery Cardinal Dulles' fine tome, A History of Apologetics. While you might think its pretty dry and boring from the title, remember that some of the most exciting times in the history of our Church have been apologetic moments. My mind immediately moves to writings such as St. Ignatius of Lyon's Adversus haereses or John Henry Cardinal Newman's essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. One can even work back all the way to St. Peter's Pentecost speech to see very early examples of not only fine apologetics but the kind of impact well-done apologetics can have on both the Church and the world.

Cardinal Dulles lays out history into neat segments, showing the varying trends in apologetic strategies and how they worked with the times. He is very fair to all sides, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant which one would only expect from the good Cardinal. He even delves, for completeness' sake into some of the non-Christian apologetics with which the Christian apologists were faced over time.

If you in any way like history and if you love the Church, and even if you aren't Catholic but still Christian, this is a book you shouldn't pass up. The Cardinal shows a breadth of study that is positively astounding and delivers it all in terms that are both understandable and educational. There are likely not many people in the world that have read and understood as widely as Cardinal Dulles, and this is a great gift from that trove of knowledge.