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Author Topic: Patristic Apologetic Sources?  (Read 1096 times) Average Rating: 0
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David
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« on: March 04, 2003, 08:00:13 PM »

On a secular message board I visit there is an ongoing discussion of if there is a hell and if there is do you believe you will go there. (if you're interested you can find that discussion here )

In that thread, there are many arguments and counterarguments about various points of Christian, and Muslim teaching.  It reminded me of another thread on that board on the divinity of Christ where I quoted sections of St. Athanasios' On the Incarnation and posted a link to the entire work on the St. Pachomius website, which worked well with this very secular group of people.  I am wondering what other patristic sources are very good to use in discussions with nonbelievers and people of other religions?

Here are a few I am personally familiar with:

On the Divine Images by St. John of Damascus.  A WONDERFUL treatise of why icons are necessary in an incarnational faith.  The source of the famous quote "In former times God, who is without form or body, could never be depicted.  But now when God is seen in the flesh conversing with humans, I make an image of the God whom I see.  I do not worship matter:  I worship the Creator of matter who became matter for my sake, who willed to take his abode in matter: who worked out my salvation through matter.  Never will I cease honouring the matter which wrought my salvation!  I honour it but not as God."

On the Incarnation by St. Athanasious the Great.  THE culmination of the teachings of St. Athanasious, who defended the teachings of the Church against Arius at the First Ecumenical Council.  The SVS Press version also includes the wonderful introduction by C.S. Lewis.  If you have another printing of this work, the introduction can be found here.  

What I am really interested in is a book similar to the above on the Holy Trinity.  The only one I am familiar with is Augustine's book on the Trinity that pretty much set up the West for many of the unorthodox teachings they have today.  

Please list your suggestions and why you suggest the work.  Perhaps this may become part of Orthodox Answers...
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2003, 10:03:01 PM »

Saint Gregory the Theologian's (so-called) five theological Orations provide a good defense of the Trinity. I'd suggest Saint Gregory's Orations because they articulate the Orthodox position perfectly, yet remain accessible to a general audience (unlike texts like Saint John of Damascus' Exact Exposition..., which can get way too deep for the average layman, and would probably be too foreign to those unfamiliar with Christian theological language.)

Saint Basil's treatise on The Holy Spirit is also a good resource as he goes over many of the Scriptural evidences that support the divinity (=consubstantiality) of the Holy Spirit (this would be good as a supplement to the works of Gregory the Theologian since Saint Gregory rarely quotes Scripture... though of course his work is in agreement with Scripture).
« Last Edit: March 04, 2003, 10:05:39 PM by Paradosis » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2003, 10:26:09 PM »

Paradosis, excellent suggestions!  That is exactly the type of patristic literature I was looking for.  If you know of anything else that is inquirer friendly and would be good for apologetics, please share it with us.  

I should add the CCEL links to my above suggestions.  I checked St. Pachomius Library's website, but everything appears to be down.  I hope they will get everything straightened out soon.
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Tags: patristics apologetics 
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