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6 Apologetic and Philosophy in the Second Century

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Chapter Summary

The study of early Christianity has in recent years experienced a renewal of interest in the second century Apologists. More particularly, there has been a revived concern to understand these men in their relation to the philosophical background of their time. This chapter contributes to a proper perspective from which to view the Apologists and their relationship to their philosophical background. By taking note of how philosophy was conceived of in this period and how Christians were regarded by pagans and how they responded to the pagan view, one can hope to ground the discussion in its historical context. Special attention is given to Athenagoras, the most educated and highly cultured and also the most neglected of the Apologists of the second century. Athenagoras presents Christianity as a philosophy, but he nowhere expressly calls Christians philosophers or styles Christianity a philosophy.

Keywords: Athenagoras; christianity; Greek philosophy; second century apologists



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