J. Alfred's Reviews > Karl Marx

Karl Marx by William D. Dennison
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did not like it

The series introduction at the front of the book promises that this book contains "clear writing, relevant analysis, and incisive, constructive critique." That is, it explicitly says that it will avoid jargon for an uninstructed audience, and implicitly claims that it will treat Marx's arguments with charity, gleaning from them what is helpful and showing their worth to the culture. These promises are not followed.
Here are two excerpts, and I trust you will have read enough of the book.
-"Who was this man whose name ignited a tradition and an 'ism' using his name?" Search for a clumsier sentence in a supposedly scholarly work. You will have trouble finding one.
-"However, a critical examination of Marx exposes his thought to be the product of the seed of the serpent and the present evil age." How scholarly, how unbiased, how charitable. This indeed is 'constructive critique.'
I'm pretty disappointed 1. that I paid money for this, and 2. that Reformed Christians think it is a good idea to write and publish partisan, easy-answer Sunday School stuff like this.

Ugh, and now I feel brutal. I stand by everything I said above, but probably it's too harsh. Here, however, is the heart of the issue:
How many people from a Reformed background do you know who lean even a little bit left in politics? Have you heard some people worry that maybe Dr. Keller is getting a little bit left? When you consider the probable audience of this book (Reformed intellectuals), what you have is people who do not need help in considering Marx and Marxism in any of its forms to be an evil. And so this book is an exercise in helping us think what we think, which is unhelpful for actual thought. The series is called "Great Thinkers," and the books in the series should do their best to show why intelligent people of good will have been so stirred by the thoughts of these thinkers: show what is so alluring about their systems, not smash them as thoroughly as possible. And other than some timorous sounding thoughts that, yes, maybe the exploitation of workers in the interest of the moneyed few is a bad thing, this book does not attempt the feat.
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Reading Progress

October 29, 2018 – Started Reading
October 29, 2018 – Shelved
October 31, 2018 – Finished Reading

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Roth "my apartment smells of rich mahogany" Reason Too bad. Dennison is a top teacher of apologetics, the history of ideas, etc at Covenant College. Many of my friends had him and admired him as a prof. There is always the danger of not being sympathetic with your subject and rushing too quickly to critique, ironically Dennison’s main influence, C Van Til taught this method, but also was frequently accused of breaking his own rules! Let’s do better! Overthrow the dominant paradigm!


J. Alfred seize the means of production!


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