AskDefine | Define polemics

Dictionary Definition

polemics n : the branch of Christian theology devoted to the refutation of errors

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The practice of making arguments or controversies
  2. The refutation of errors in theological doctrine

Extensive Definition

Polemics () is the practice of disputing or controverting religious, philosophical, or political matters. As such, a polemic text on a topic is often written specifically to dispute or refute a position or theory that is widely viewed to be beyond reproach. The antonym of a polemic source is an apologia.
Polemic journalism was common in continental Europe when libel laws weren't stringent. The Research Support Libraries Programme "Pamphlet and polemic: pamphlets as a guide to the controversies of the 17th-19th centuries", co-managed by the University of St. Andrews, the University of Aberdeen, and University of Wales Lampeter, collected and placed thousands of pamphlets on-line as a study of polemic rhetoric of that era. There are other meanings of the word as well. Polemic is also a branch of theology, pertaining to the history or conduct of ecclesiastical controversy.
The word is derived from the Greek word polemikos (πολεμικως) which means "warlike", "hostile". Plato uses a character named Polemarchus in his dialogue Republic as a vehicle to drive forward an ethical debate.
polemics in Danish: Polemik
polemics in German: Polemik
polemics in Spanish: Polémica
polemics in French: Polémique
polemics in Indonesian: Polemik
polemics in Italian: Polemica
polemics in Dutch: Polemiek
polemics in Norwegian: Polemikk
polemics in Polish: Polemika
polemics in Portuguese: Polémica
polemics in Romanian: Polemică
polemics in Russian: Полемика
polemics in Slovak: Polemika
polemics in Finnish: Polemiikki
polemics in Swedish: Polemik
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