Apologetics In The Roman Empire by Edwards et al (eds)

By Edwards et al (eds)

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N. 9 above. 2 Macc. 6: 18±7: 42. Cf. Acts of the Pagan Martyrs, ed. Musurillo, Appendices II and III (pp. 236±58). 56 Lindars, New Testament Apologetics, is the classic treatment of this material. Gerhardsson's picture (Memory and Manuscript) of the collegia apostolorum in Jerusalem busily engaged in exegesis may be over-simpli®ed, but (as Lindars shows) Paul's letters show that there undoubtedly was intensive exegetical activity going on somewhere in the church's ®rst few decades. 55 The Acts of the Apostles 41 The latter, however, takes us out of the study and on to the streets.

Cf. ' 14 Esler, Community and Gospel, 222. 20 Loveday Alexander apologetic as dramatic ®ction It is evident at the outset that these various readings are operating with widely di€erent understandings of the meaning of `apologetic'. One thing which they have in common, however, is an underlying assumption that the term presupposes some kind of dramatic situation. Reading a text as apologetic seems to mean, for most people, reading it as some form of self-defence against a charge or charges perceived as coming from a particular quarter.

V. `apologetic': `1. a formal apology or justi®cation; 2. the systematic defense and exposition of the Christian faith addressed primarily to non-Christians'. `Apologetics' yields a fuller, more technical de®nition: `1. systematic argumentative tactics or discourse in defense; 2. that branch of theology devoted to the defense of a religious faith and addressed primarily to criticism originating from outside the religious faith; esp. such defense of the Christian faith'. 17 It is of course another question how far it makes sense in the ®rst century to describe the Jewish community as an `external' audience: nevertheless, there is an undeniable continuity of interest here between the intra-communal tensions explored in Acts and the concerns of much second-century Christian apologetic.

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