“The Modest but Important End of Apologetics”


The title page of a 1912 book by Elder B. H. Roberts


My introduction to Volume 6 of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture has just appeared online.




This completes the volume, which means that, since its launch in August 2012 — in other words, in the space of one year, one month, and three days (or, to put it in yet another way, over the course of 399 days) — The Interpreter Foundation has produced six book-length volumes of its signature publication, along with its roundtables, and its blog entries, and its resources for teaching and learning, and so on and so forth.


Incidentally, this essay reflects on the same book (Myron Penner’s The End of Apologetics) as my FAIR presentation in early August did.  (That presentation is currently being transcribed and will be posted on the FAIR website when the transcription is complete.)  There is some overlap between the two, but this essay reads Penner with a somewhat different intent and proceeds in a substantially different direction.



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  • Loran

    It would seem to me that, as a postmodernist, Penner’s most serious difficulty would not be apologetics per se, but discerning in any “meta-narrative” such as Christianity anything to defend.

    “Truth” in postmodern thought is usually understood to be sets of strictly relative, if not thoroughly arbitrary social constructions (“texts”), bound to culture, time, and era, centered in the class/power relationships of various groups. I haven’t read the book, but I’m not at all sure how postmodernism can be grafted onto Christianity at all unless most of the cutting is done on the Christian patient (and this would hold to the infinite power with the restored gospel, where direct revelation, both personal and to the church generally through authorized representatives of God, are the ultimate frame of epistemic reference).

  • Ryan

    Didn’t Jesus’ disciples practice apologetics in the Bible? Or is my recollection rusty and confused.

    • DanielPeterson

      They did indeed.