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Annotated bibliography of historical apologetics on line

I'm pleased to announce that an annotated bibliography of apologetics works from the late 17th through the 19th centuries is now available here. It contains links to the works in question, available in the public domain.

It is entirely the work of my husband, Tim McGrew, in one of his areas of specialization. He has been working on it for some time before being satisfied that it's ready to be made public. But he is very interested in making these works more widely available. The men who answered the Deists in their own time get far too little credit nowadays and deserve to be more widely known and read than they are.

Pastors, youth leaders, and professors who work with Christian young people could do far worse than to familiarize themselves with some of the apologetic work that was done in the past. Those who have an interest in apologetics should acquaint themselves with the pre-20th-century material so as not to reinvent the wheel.

Feel free to pass this link on to others who might find it useful.

Cross-posted at Extra Thoughts

Comments (9)

Well done! This is a terrific resource. Congratulations to Tim, and many thanks.

Thanks, Michael. Pass it on.

And excellent resource indeed -- always a worthy effort to recover what other Christians in other ages have done against the works of the devil.

Congrats to the McGrews!

Considering the recent discussion at the book burning party, a timely post. Thanks Lydia.

Yeah, actually, I thought of mentioning this w.r.t. "good modernism." As I said there, I already fought my Locke battle here


and said more than I probably should have about the Protestant-Catholic divide there, too, being betrayed into indiscretion and possibly uncharity by my heatedness on behalf of Locke. So I'm not going to start it again. I'll just let 'em say what they like, having already had my say. But as far as good modernism goes, the biggest part of what I mean by that is the evidentialism of the British writers who answered the Deists. That whole approach and tradition is a sort of "good modernism" that should have its children and great-grandchildren today. Speaking logically, the Deists were soundly defeated, which just goes to show, I guess, that history isn't always written by the winners, at least not by the winners of the debate proper.

Dear Lydia,

Some time ago I had downloaded your paper on the Resurrection of Jesus, and recently returned to it as I am teaching a Sunday School class on its meaning and defense. I'm not through it all yet, but what I have read is excellent. I will be incorporating some of it in my lectures.

This morning, I went back to your website and (coincidentally) also found the historical apologetics bibliography compiled by your husband. It looks like a real treasure trove of materials! And for free, too! I look forward to digging into them.

Thanks so much to you and Tim for making these available.

Two questions, if you'll indulge me: (1) Can you recommend a gentle introduction for those not wanting to learn Bayesian probability theory? (2) What did you think of W.L. Craig's debate with Bart Ehrman, and the discussion of probabilities and Bayesian mathematics?



Sorry, that first question should have read "...for those wanting to learn Bayesian probability theory?"




Thanks for your interest and your gracious words.

For your questions:

(1) This depends on your math background. If you want a very gentle introduction and don’t want to push your recollection of highschool math too hard, try Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Intuitive Explanation of Bayesian Reasoning. If you want a book that gives a very leisurely introduction to the subject, try Ian Hacking, An Introduction to Probability and Inductive Logic (Cambridge University Press, 2001).

(2) I have read a transcript of the debate. Craig’s use of a bit of probability in his first rebuttal was reasonable and the point he was making is correct: in the quotation from The New Testament: A Historical Introduction, p. 229, Ehrman does indeed seem to be confusing P(R|B & E) with P(R|B). Ehrman took his chance to avoid the criticism by complaining about the math, which he plainly did not understand. But Craig’s diagnosis was correct.

Craig makes one small slip in the Second Rebuttal. In what looks like a verbal stumble, he seems to be saying that Apollonius of Tyana is a third-century figure, when what he meant to say (and he seems to be trying to correct himself; you can look this up if you like) is that Philostratus, who wrote the “Life of Apollonius,” is writing at the opening of the third century – which is, of course, more than a century after the death of Apollonius. This last point is the matter of real significance, since it illustrates how much closer the gospel accounts are to the life of Jesus than Philostratus’s “Life” is to the actual life of his subject.

Ehrman tries to capitalize on this in his Second Rebuttal, but in doing so he makes a few errors of his own. First, he claims that Craig placed not only Apollonius but also Hanina ben Dosa and Honi the Circle-Drawer in the third century. But what Craig actually said about the latter two is that “John Meier and Ben Witherington have shown these have little relevance to the first century situation of Jesus.” Second, Ehrman claims that all of these people “lived in the days of Jesus,” which is a fairly loose statement: Honi died before Jesus was born; Apollonius was not born until about A.D. 40; Hanina is a first-century figure, but it is difficult to nail his dates down with greater precision.

Thank you, Tim! Blessings,


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