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  • Author or Editor: Anders Klostergaard Petersen x
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Despite its absence from the stock vocabulary of the study of religion, polemics is a key phenomenon in the study of religion. Although an intrinsic connection exists between polemics and the emergence of secondary forms of religion that place special emphasis on written records and doctrine rather than on ritual, polemics is also found in primary religions, as in “the ‘magic’ of the others versus our true religion.” In the contemporary global world religious polemics is playing an increasingly important role. Although polemics may be particularly prominent in the monotheistic religions, there is hardly a large religion today that is exempt from polemics.  ⸙

Apologetics has traditionally been linked to Christianity, Judaism, and one strand of the ancient Greek rhetorical tradition. In scholarly parlance the notion designates ancient Jewish and Christian works formally addressed to an external audience and undertaken in defence of the authors’ worldviews as responses to external accusations having been made against them by non-Jewish and non-Christian authors of the Greco-Roman world. The phenomenon, however, has greater prevalence. From a comparative perspective it designates a wide array of works and strategies within any religious tradition which are produced as a defence of one’s own tradition against real or imagined threats stemming from rival worldviews. ⸙