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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

An apologist is one who speaks or writes in defense of a faith or cause. The term has come to be used to describe a group of second-century Church fathers who wrote letters defending the new faith of Christianity.

The earliest of them is unknown, although his apology, To Diognetus, still survives. Perhaps the most well known of the early apologists is Justin (c. 100-c. 165), whose death for the faith earned him the name Justin Martyr. Tertullian (c. 155 or 160-c. 225) is still remembered for his work, Apology.

The importance of these works is that historians, by studying them, can learn about the early objections to Christianity as well as the manner in which educated members of the church responded to them. This leads to an understanding of how Christian theology evolved through the very act of responding to early criticism.



a collective term for the early Christian writers, primarily of the second and third centuries (the period during which the Christians were persecuted by Roman authorities), who defended the principles of Christianity against the criticism of non-Christian philosophers (Jews and “pagans”).

The most important apologists included the Easterners (who wrote in Greek) Quadratus, Aristides, Justin Martyr, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Melito of Sar-dis, and Origen; and the Westerners (who wrote in Latin) Tertullian and Minucius Felix. The apologists laid the foundation for Christian theology, especially Theophilus and Tertullian, who introduced the term “trinity.”

With the transition of Christianity to the status of a state religion (fourth century), when it became unnecessary to defend Christianity against paganism, apologetic literature gradually disappeared and was replaced by polemical works directed against heresies. The last apologist was Theodoret of Cyrrhus, who wrote in the fifth century, a time when paganism was already practically powerless.

Sometimes the term apologists is also applied to the medieval polemicists against Islam and Judaism.


References in periodicals archive ?
He does not hold himself up as a highly successful apologist, but recounts occasions when he has witnessed to large groups and to individuals.
In his systematic refutation of Strobel's book, Earl Doherty demonstrates again and again what I have said, taking on not only Strobel but the many prominent apologists Strobel interviews and quotes throughout the book.
She conducts a scathing critique of Beauvoir on many fronts, highlighting in this "future apologist of engagement"(p.
He called them the President's apologists 'trying to covet and offer alibis' for him.
24) He focused on the impact of each individual Christian's ethic on the world while also serving as an apologist for the legitimacy of the Christian faith.
That is where the apologist comes in, for only what is true can excite a commitment that nothing can shake or impede.
But to his supporters, labeling Bishop Ting an apologist for Beijing is simplistic.
Gary's favorite continuing-education opportunities have been in contemporary worship and a conference on Dorothy Sayers, the mystery writer and Christian apologist.
hotel as players in the Gay Softball World Series, as quoted by Washington Times correspondent and Bush apologist Bill Sammon in his just-published book, Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters
It's important to clear this issue up, not because I think making a living by making art is automatically "better" than doing so through advertising, but because I perceive either that my nonexistent "past in fashion" is seen as inferior--and this attitude is the exact opposite of my own feelings toward friends in fashion design and the media--or I'm misconstrued as an apologist for fashion photographers who did desert their million-dollar commissions for "redemption" in art.
But Kitwana is not an apologist for rap's sexist content.
Particularly telling (and amusing) is his run-in with John Mack, the Harvard-credentialed apologist for alien abduction theories, which ends with a college campus vigil for aliens that never show up.