This Historical Anthology of Christian apologists Volume 1 is a decent attempt at a source book, but in the end falls short in many ways as a useful guide and tool. Here are a number of problems I found in using the book for Church History and Apologetics:
1. The introductory comments, while they are helpful to the book, are simply too short. There is more and far better information and analysis on each of the apologists to be found in Schaff's Church history and on Wikipedia for nothing, as well as is in more elaborate manuals of Church History.
2. The choice of apologists that are used as examples is quite poor. Or I should say, there are just too many important apologists that are not included in the book, such as: The Apostolic fathers, Hyppolytus, Eusebius, Lactantius, the Cappadocians, Patrick, Ambrose, Gregory the Great, John of Damascus, Alcuin, Gottschalk, Bernard of Clairvaux, Peter Lombard, Bonaventure, Thomas Kempis, Dante, Wyclif, Hus, Wessel Gansfort, etc... I know you can't include them all, but the book is really too slight for any level of instruction in Christian apologetics. It only includes 16 examples in the entire period of 1500 years from the New Testament to the Reformation. This has to be the most striking fault of the whole book! Only 16 Christian apologists taken from 1500 years of church history!!!! This must be a product of the dumbing down "No Child Left Behind" mentality of educational philosophy. My 13-14 year old kids read more extensively than what this volume includes.
3. The works that are included here are all easily accessible for free on the internet, without editing or condensing. In fact I have an outline of the history of apologetics that I use for Bible college level that is far more extensive than this, and it's for free. So to be honest, I have no idea why this book would be recommended by Evangelical and Reformed scholars. I am sure they have websites as well, and have written extensive outlines on the history of Apologetics. They should. They teach at the Seminary level! So what's the deal??? Why not just post the information for free on the internet! Its just an Anthology, with a few notes! There seems to be a whole lot of deceit amongst scholars today and alot of waste in Christian publishing. And as I said before, you can get this same material (and more of it) for free on the internet!
4. Who in the world would bother reading a condensed version of an apologetical treatise anyway??? The thought is repulsive to me!
5. My last point. These men (though they are good and godly men) should not have wasted their time on publishing an Anthology as this, but instead should have written an extensive documented history of Christian Apologetics on the period and beyond to replace the misguided one done by the Catholic scholar Avery Dulles. This is what is needed in the Church today, not a superficial Anthology!
Pastor Brett Woody