17 August 2015

A book of apologetics by Saint Thomas More

On my recent flight across the Pacific Ocean, I finished reading Saint Thomas More's Dialogue Concerning Heresies (New York: Scepter Publishers, Inc., 2006), an intriguing account of a dialogue More had with the servant of a friend concerning the teachings of Martin Luther, William Tyndale, and other Protestants.

After the conversation, the servant was to return to his master and relate what More said. In case the servant either misremembered or misrepresented More's responses, he decided to write out the conversation and sent it to his friend.

It was a fascinating read because More, who was beheaded in 1535, provided early, substantial, and logically irrefutable responses to many of the Protestants objections about the Sacred Scriptures, the veneration of Saints and relics, the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and numerous other objections besides. He even discusses the personality of Luther in various places.

Because the book is the record of a conversation, it is not organized explicitly according to a thematic structure (which is perhaps its only downfall), but reads in the manner of an actual conversation, with a back-and-forth between More and the servant. The servant first asks More's opinion about a certain topic (as instructed by his master); after More makes his response, the servant expresses his agreement, asks additional questions, or makes his own objections, each of which furthers the conversation along and to which More responds.

This is a book that should be in the hands of anyone involved in or interested in the work of apologetics. The answers More provides are not very different from those in more contemporary works, but they are often more thorough and often more blunt.

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