Ancient Apologetic Writing
Ancient writers almost always wrote as apologists. Their purpose was to defend the integrity of a class or a people.
- Homer’s Epic Poems
Homer’s epic poems define and defend the cultural identity of the Greeks.
- Virgil’s Aeneid
Virgil’s Aeneid rooted Roman cultural identity in a fabled Greek past, an act that boasted of Roman self-esteem.
- Plutarch’s Parallel Lives
The historian Plutarch’s Parallel Lives matches Greek personalities with great Roman ones to show how, in a stretch of his imagination, great heroes hold similar characteristics – especially Greek and Roman heroes.
- Biblical Deuteronomist
The Biblical Deuteronomist is the writer who told the story of ancient Israel found in the books from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings. In this history, the writer portrays the Israelite kings Saul and David in all their tragic faults. The presentation is primarily a theological one rather than historical account that defines and shapes a specific interpretation of history. Many archeologists today hold that the Deuteronomist version of history is largely fiction.
- Early Christian Writings
Early Christian writings hold similar apologetic and fictional characteristics as the Deuteronomist writings. Though the Christian gospels contain some historical information, the writing is largely designed to defend Christianity. The gospels are not biographies. The writers are not really interested in who Jesus was, which means many questions simply cannot be answered.