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Apologetics

(9,615 words)

Author(s): Usarski, Frank | Horst, Pieter W. van der | Dan, Joseph | Lüdemann, Gerd | Skarsaune, Oskar | Et al.
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Judaism – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Islam – VI. Fundamental Theology – VII. Practical Theology – VIII. Missiology I. Concept The necessity – felt with varying intensity by different communities of faith – to lend credibility to one's own convictions, ways of behaving, etc. in the face of other, perhaps dominant worldviews, using appropriate means, is an essential element of the history of religion. When the term apologetics is used in this context there is a certain conformity in content which is rooted in the history of Christianity. This is indicated by the etymologically relevant references, esp. Gk ἀπολογία/ apologia in the sense of the justification that originally took place in court. In the present context this implies the initial institutional accusation against a persecuted religious minority and the compulsion of the members to defend themselves publicly (Gk …

Aphrodisias

(158 words)

Author(s): Horst, Pieter W. van der
[German Version] is a Greek town in Caria (Asia Minor), approx. 90 km east of Miletus. From time immemorial it was a shrine of the mother goddess of Asia Minor. The town flourished during the Imperial era and developed into one of the most important cultural centers of Anatolia. There is no evidence of Christianity in Aphrodisias prior to the 4th century but t…

Agnostos Theos

(277 words)

Author(s): Horst, Pieter W. van der
[German Version] In Acts 17:23, Luke relates how Paul chose the altar inscription “to an unknown God” (ἀγνώστῳ θεῷ/ agnṓstō theṓ) as the starting point for his Areopagus Speech in Athens. This is the earliest testimony to a cult of “unknown gods” and the only testimony for the cult of an “unknown god” in the singular. Pagan and Christian authors from the 2nd to the 4th centuries (including Paus. I 1.4; V 14.8; Diog. Laert. I 110; Philostr. V…

Artapanus

(130 words)

Author(s): Horst, Pieter W. van der
[German Version] was a Jewish-Hellinistic “historian” who around the middle of the 2nd century bce wrote a sort of biblical tale in which he dressed up the stories of Abraham and Joseph, but esp. those of Moses, with motifs from Egyptian and Greek literature. On apologetic grounds he made Moses (whom he identified with Musaeus) the great inventor (e.g. of writing and weapons technology) and founder …

Areopagus Speech

(564 words)

Author(s): Horst, Pieter W. van der
[German Version] The speech which Luke in Acts 17:22–31 has Paul deliver on the Areopagus (i.e. the “Ares Hill,” formerly the highest court site, but also the name for a …

Aristobulus

(128 words)

Author(s): Horst, Pieter W. van der
[German Version] (mid-2nd cent. bce) was a Jewish exegete from Alexandria. He wrote a collection of philosophical observations on exegetical problems of the Bible in the form of discussions with the Egyptian king Ptolemy VI Philometor (180–145 bce). He is the first known Jewish thinker to apply to the Bible the method…

Alexander of Lycopolis

(112 words)

Author(s): Horst, Pieter W. van der
[German Version] (Egypt; 2nd half of 3rd cent. ce) was a Platonic philosopher (not a Christian bishop, as many from Photius to Migne have claimed). Toward the end of the 3rd century, he composed the first Greek work against Manichaeism (πρὸς τὰς Μανιχαίου δόξας/ prós tás Manichaíou dóxas) and is an important witness to the early Manichaean intellectual world and the reservations of Greek philosophers concerning this form of Gnostic dualism. Although Alexander…