Juridical Apologists 1600-2000 AD: A Bio-Bibliographical Essay -- By: Philip Johnson
Juridical Apologists 1600-2000 AD:
A Bio-Bibliographical Essay
Presbyterian Theological Centre
Lecturer in Cults, World Religions & Philosophy, Presbyterian Theological Centre, Sydney, Australia & CEO, Global Apologetics & Mission Ltd.
Since the seventeenth century, over one hundred and twenty Christian apologists have composed juridically (i.e. legal) styled apologetic texts. Juridical or jural apologetics may be defined as a style that employs either general legal principles or technical legal criteria in presenting a reasoned case for Christian belief. Apologists in this school are those who have been educated in the law and held positions as solicitors, barristers, judges, and law school lecturers. A few non-lawyers belong in this school because they follow jural methods, but space limitations preclude listing most of them. Thus only ninety two apologists appear in this bibliography.
What distinguishes juridical apologetics, as a distinct school of thought, is the use of jural analogies or metaphors that are applied in the defence of Scripture. Major analogies entail the concept of evidence, degrees of proof, and techniques for assessing eyewitnesses. Others include the interpretation of documents, the admissibility of ancient documents in court, judicial notice of accepted facts, and legal logic. Often the metaphors of a legal brief or a moot (mock trial) have been employed as a genre for the apologist’s argument.
Most modern juridical apologists have operated in common-law based nations. Several have been scholars or practitioners of considerable renown who have exerted a lot of influence on subsequent popular apologetics. Remarkably, their contributions as a distinct school has gone unrecognised in the introductory textbooks on apologetics, even when such texts occasionally mention one or more legal apologists. It is therefore hardly surprising that John Warwick Montgomery laments that it remains a neglected style. See his ‘Neglected Apologetic Styles: The Juridical and the Literary,’ in M. Bauman, D. Hall & R. Newman (Eds) Evangelical Apologetics, Camp Hill: Christian Publications, 1996.
This bibliography represents a start towards filling up the lacuna. It is arranged chronologically either by the date of the author’s birth or where such data is lacking by the date of publication. Each author entry is numbered sequentially, and an alphabetical index of authors is supplied at the end. Bibliographical details have been checked against Religious Books 1876-1982, and the on-line catalogues of The British Library, Library of Congress, and the National Library of Canada.
[Note: See alphabetical list at of scholars at end of article]
Legal apologists 1600-2000
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