What is apologetics

What exactly is meant by this forum by the terms apologetics and apologist. Are these refering solely to the use of neo-scholasticism or neo-Thomism to address theological questions?

**Good definition of apologetics:

What does the word “apologetics” mean?
The word “apologetics” is derived from the ancient Greek word apologia, which means, an apology. Not an apology in the modern sense of the word - which is to say you’re sorry for something. But rather, an apology in the ancient sense of the word - which is to make a reasoned defense of something or someone. In ancient times, the word apology referred to the case a lawyer would make on behalf of his client.
Apologetics is about building the case for our Faith…learning how to explain and defend our Faith. Basically, there are 3 types of apologetics: natural apologetics, Christian apologetics, and Catholic apologetics. Natural apologetics builds the case for truths we can know from the “natural” light of reason. Truths that can be known without any divine intervention. Truths which the articles of our Faith rest upon and build upon. Truths such as the existence of God, the innate spirituality of the human soul, the objective reality of right and wrong…truths that our faith rest upon and build upon.
Christian apologetics, on the other hand, builds the case for divinely revealed truths - truths that cannot be known by reason apart from faith. Truths such as the reality of biblical miracles, the divinity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection to name a few.
Catholic apologetics encompasses all of Christian apologetics - since Catholicism is the fullness of Christianity - but Catholic apologetics tends to focus on those truths of Christianity that are not generally believed by non-Catholic Christians. Truths such as: the Catholic Church having been founded directly by Jesus Christ; the papacy; the Sacraments; the Immaculate Conception, and others.

Apologetics is the defense of God’s eternal Truth against manmade lies.

Here is a short biblical quote that kind of sums it up:

1 Peter 3:15-16
Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear,…

I thought apologetics had something to do with neo-scholasticism.

Why did you think that?

Because when I’ve heard the term apolgetics it is in a pejorative sense and is used describe some archaic way of explaining the faith, basically neo-scholasticism. I see people here use it in a different way then what I have encountered.

I would better say “confusion”, not “lies”. Not everyone that errs does so on purpose. Even the faithful can benefit from apologetics. I for one have had many doubts, and I always go to apologetics, because I find in them the best explanations of the faith.

For instance, would the articles in “This Rock” or in the Catholic Encyclopedia be as good as they are without disputations doubts and sincere scholastic questions?


By the way, what are the best apologetics books on the general public market? There are many evangelical ones, but I do not know of any Catholic ones. They’re fine and serve their purpose, but, well, I always have to do mental redactions to keep out the fundamentalist/calvinistic bits.

FP, some authors to look for are Peter Kreeft, Alan Schreck, Scott Hahn, Frank Sheed, Thomas Howard and Karl Keating (of Catholic Answers). I’m sure you’ll receive other recommendations.

Catholic apologetics is the art of developing patience while striving to determine whether or not your interlocutors are invincibly or vincibly ignorant.


Great, thanks. :clapping:

(1) “Amazoning” About Karl, I find this:
Most of it is defense against fundies. :hmmm:

(2) About Kreeft:
Ooo… what I’ve been looking for (maybe):
Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions (Paperback)

Sounds so awsome. :dancing: Too bad I live outside the US. I like to skim through a book before I buy it. Oh well, paperback so it can’t be too expensive.

If anyone has read it, please let me know what you think! Oh, wait, this is Amazon, it has reviews on the bottom (Duh!). Lemme see…

Voted one of Christianity Today’s 1995 Books of the Year!Reasonable, concise, witty and wise, Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli have written an informative and valuable guidebook for anyone looking for answers to questions of faith and reason.

Hmm… Nice comment over here:

This is one of the books that brought me back from the brink of agnosticism. Christianity is a worldview that is based on historical evidence and rational arguments. The Handbook of Christian Apologetics provides a firm basis for defending Christianity by offering a wide range of reasons for belief.

A comment from a protestant:

Although I am not Catholic and did not agree with every one of the authors’ conclusions, I must say that this book is a good overall defense of the historic Christian church. I appreciate that these men were Christian first and Catholic second, and so there were no real noticeable diatribes on the issues that could separate Catholics and Protestants.

Looks like a good buy. Maybe maybe…

One book I like is Catholic for a Reason by Scott Hahn & Leon Suprenant.

It is actually a collection of essays by various apologists, including both Dr. Hahn and his wife Kimberly. I there is actually a whole series I-IV.

Ok, Teflon. If curiosity is a sin (and I don’t think so) the devil’s got me: What’s that about a Tiber swim? Isn’t the Tevere a city river? Isn’t it eeeeew?


It’s a short swim to the City of God—not even time to say “eeew”.

And many a brave soul has willingly sought to be baptized in the Jordan River, no?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.