A polemic (play /pəˈlɛmɪk/) is a variety of arguments or controversies made against one opinion, doctrine, or person. Other variations of argument are debate and discussion. The word is derived from the Greek polemikos (πολεμικός), meaning "warlike, hostile".[1][2]



A polemic is a form of dispute, wherein the main efforts of the disputing parties are aimed at establishing the superiority of their own points of view regarding an issue. Along with debate, polemic is one of the more common forms of dispute. Similar to debate, it is constrained by a definite thesis which serves as the subject of controversy. However, unlike debate, which may seek common ground between two parties, a polemic is intended to establish the supremacy of a single point of view by refuting an opposing point of view.

Polemic usually addresses serious matters of religious, philosophical, political, or scientific importance, and is often written to dispute or refute a widely accepted position.


Polemic journalism was common in continental Europe, when libel laws were not as stringent.[3]

To support study of the polemics and controversies of the 17th-19th centuries, a British research project has placed thousands of pamphlets of that era online.[4]

The worst offense that can be committed by a polemic is to stigmatize those who hold a contrary opinion as bad and immoral men.
—John Stuart Mill, 1806-73


Polemic theology is the branch of theological argument devoted to the history or conduct of controversy on religious matters.[5] As such, it is distinguished from apologetics, the intellectual defense of faith.

Martin Luther's "On the Bondage of the Will" is an example of polemic theology, written against and in answer to The Freedom of the Will by Desiderius Erasmus.

Noted polemicists

The following are some people associated with "polemic"[6]:

See also


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Merriam-Webster, Springfield, MA, 2005), s.v. "polemic"
  2. ^ American College Dictionary (Random House, New York)
  3. ^ "polemic, or polemical literature, or polemics (rhetoric)". polemic, or polemical literature, or polemics (rhetoric). britannica.com. http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-467241/polemic. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  4. ^ "Pamphlet and polemic: Pamphlets as a guide to the controversies of the 17th-19th centuries". St Andrews University Library. http://specialcollections.st-and.ac.uk/projpamph.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  5. ^ Nicole, Roger R. (Summer 1998). "Polemic Theology: How to Deal with Those Who Differ from Us". The Founders Journal (33). http://www.founders.org/FJ33/article3.html. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  6. ^ http* //www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/467241/polemic


  • Gallop, Jane (2004). Polemic: Critical or Uncritical (1 ed.). New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415972280. 
  • Hawthorn, Jeremy (1987). Propaganda, Persuasion and Polemic. Hodder Arnold. ISBN 0713164972. 
  • Lander, Jesse M. (2006). Inventing Polemic: Religion, Print, and Literary Culture in Early Modern England. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521838541. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • polemic — POLÉMIC, Ă, polemici, ce, s.f., adj. 1. s.f. Discuţie în contradictoriu, controversă pe o temă literară, ştiinţifică, politică etc. 2. adj. Care ţine de polemică (1), cu tendinţă de polemică, privitor la polemică; critic, combativ, contradictoriu …   Dicționar Român

  • Polemic — Po*lem ic, a. [Gr. ? warlike, fr.? war: cf. F. pol[ e]mique.] 1. Of or pertaining to controversy; maintaining, or involving, controversy; controversial; disputative; as, a polemic discourse or essay; polemic theology. [1913 Webster] 2. Engaged in …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Polemic — Po*lem ic, n. 1. One who writes in support of one opinion, doctrine, or system, in opposition to another; one skilled in polemics; a controversialist; a disputant. [1913 Webster] The sarcasms and invectives of the young polemic. Macaulay. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • polemic — polemic, polemical Polemic is a noun meaning ‘a controversial discussion’ or ‘a verbal or written political attack’; the corresponding noun is either polemic or (more usually) polemical …   Modern English usage

  • Polemic — Allgemeine Informationen Genre(s) Ska, Reggae Gründung 1989 Website www.polemic.sk …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • polemic — (n.) 1630s, controversial argument or discussion, from Gk. polemikos warlike, belligerent, from polemos war. Meaning one who writes in opposition to another is attested from 1670s. The worst offense that can be committed by a polemic is to… …   Etymology dictionary

  • polemic — I adjective argumental, argumentative, conflicting, contentious, contestable, contradictory, controversial, debatable, dialectic, dialectical, discordant, discrepant, disputatious, dissentient, dissonant, divided, eristic, eristical, factious,… …   Law dictionary

  • polemic — ► NOUN 1) a strong verbal or written attack. 2) (also polemics) the practice of engaging in controversial debate. ► ADJECTIVE (also polemical) ▪ of or involving disputatious or controversial debate. DERIVATIVES polemicist noun …   English terms dictionary

  • polemic — [pō lem′ik, pəlem′ik] adj. [Fr polémique < Gr polemikos < polemos, war < IE * pelem < base * pel , to shake, cause to tremble > L palpitare, to tremble] 1. of or involving dispute; controversial 2. argumentative; disputatious: Also …   English World dictionary

  • polemic — [[t]pəle̱mɪk[/t]] polemics 1) N VAR A polemic is a very strong written or spoken attack on, or defence of, a particular belief or opinion. ...a polemic against the danger of secret societies... The book is both a history and a passionate polemic… …   English dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”