The Defense of Christianity
(Minucius Felix: Octavius, 59-62; Celsus, 62-69; Justin’s First Apology, 74- 81; Athenagoras: Plea Regarding the Christians, 82-88; The Letter to Diognetus, 88-92; Tertullian: Apology, 92-99; Origen: Against Celsus, 99-110)

Instructions: In a few paragraphs, please provide a written response to all of the following questions below. Your responses should show evidence of serious thought and engagement of the questions. [Reminder: Although the Reading Response Assignments are not graded, they are required!]

1) After locating and examining Justin Martyr’s thesis in his Apology, discuss why such a thesis is important for him and how he employs it in his argumentation.

2) What is the basis of Justin’s argument that Christians should be given a fair hearing? How does he and other apologists address the pagan charge of Christian atheism?

3) The apologists are compelled to address pagan religion and the success of Rome. Examine, explore and compare how Tertullian and Minucius Felix argue against both Roman religious piety (as an argument for Rome’s success) and pagan religion in general.

4) On what grounds are Christians charged with treason and how does Tertullian’s refutation of the charges in his Apology compare with Athenagora’s thesis in his Plea Regarding Christians?

5) How does Origen counter Celsus’ attack that Christian’s represent a secret society?

6) Discuss why the Sermon of the Mount (quoted and paraphrased by several apologists) and The Last Judgment were important topics for the apologists’ arguments.


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