The Rebirth of Apologetics

Avery Cardinal Dulles

in Church and Society

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228621
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236619 | DOI:
The Rebirth of Apologetics

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This chapter discusses apologetics, the discipline of defending a religious position through the systematic use of reason. It looks into apologetics's task, its changing forms, its recent criticisms, and its revival. It holds that faith is the work of reason submitting to the word of God, which comes by way of revelation. The unpopularity of apologetics arose from its own excesses. Among many Christian thinkers, apologetics threatened to absorb almost the whole of theology. In some cases it tried to prove too much, claiming to demonstrate by cogent arguments not only the credibility but the truth of Christian revelation. In recent centuries, apologetics has concentrated mainly on how people get to God. In the act of Catholic faith, reliance on testimony goes out indivisibly to Christ and to the Church through which he continues his mission in the world.

Keywords: testimony; apologetics; Christian revelation; reason; theology; personalism

Chapter.  4773 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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