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Karl Marx (1818–1883)
Karl Marx is the most influential political philosopher of the past 150 years. Understanding him is essential to understanding post-WWII Europe, American foreign policy, contemporary China and North Korea, and much of the rhetoric in today’s colleges and political circles in the United States.
William Dennison’s concise volume highlights the key features of Marx’s worldview, including several valuable insights. Dennison’s critical analysis uncovers Marx’s internal contradictions, examines the inherently religious nature of his anti-religious materialism, and documents the horrifying effects of his political philosophy—horrors consistent with Marx’s convictions.
“The appearance in this series of William Dennison’s volume on Karl Marx, both the man and his thought, is a timely reminder that Marxism remains a vibrant ideological influence in the world. Unshackled from his twentieth-century exploiters and the stark disparities that misshaped popular imagination for most of that century, Marx’s ideas are now receiving fresh, rejuvenating attention. In this brief introduction, Dennison usefully distinguishes Marx from Marxism, sketches Marx’s turbulent biography, and then traces the contours of his ideas from the vantage point of his post-Hegelian materialistic philosophy of history. The philosophy-of-history approach is well conceived and effectively sets the stage for Dennison’s distinct contribution: an extended presuppositional critique of Marx’s naturalistic humanism, demonstrating that Cornelius Van Til’s ideas are at least as vibrant as Marx’s, and the gospel far more compelling.” —Bruce P. Baugus, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson
“Marx remains a key figure in the politics, economics, and history of the past two centuries. Christians might see him as dangerous or insightful—or both—but in any case we ignore him to our own detriment. Bill Dennison presents both the man and his legacy in a way that introduces the basics and gives readers the tools to pursue a fuller view, including a Reformed perspective as a framework for understanding. Readers will benefit from Dennison’s clarity and guidance.” —Kevin R. den Dulk, Paul B. Henry Chair in Political Science, Calvin College
“Christians wanting to know how to think about Karl Marx would do well to read this volume. Directly examining the texts of Marx, Dennison carefully guides his readers through the great thinker’s philosophy of history. But this guidance is neither a superficial hatchet job nor a mindless embrace. Instead, scholars and neophytes alike will benefit from Dennison’s strategy of critical appreciation: appreciation for Marx’s real insights—such as his analysis of capitalism—but also a critique rooted in the revelation of God in history. What readers will find is an evaluation of Marx as an eschatological thinker done from the perspective of the eschatology revealed in Scripture.” —Andrew Kaufmann, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Northwest University
“There are few good, concise books on Karl Marx, his philosophy, and his worldview. There are still fewer written from a biblical, Reformed perspective. This solid treatment by Bill Dennison fills an important niche. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a scholar whom they can trust to offer a terse summation of Marx and how Marx’s ideas should be viewed in the light of a Christian Reformed worldview. Here we see Marx examined, at last, from the vantage of innocence, sin, grace, and God’s plan versus Marx’s plan. Alas, this should be how Marx is always viewed. But it has taken Bill Dennison to finally do the job. For that, we owe him a debt of gratitude.” —Paul G. Kengor, Professor of Political Science and Executive Director, Center for Vision & Values, Grove City College
“Karl Marx is a difficult and complex thinker, giving rise to numerous controversies and schools of thought about what he actually meant. In this fine book, William Dennison displays a command of both Marx’s own writings and the various disputes among Marxist schools of thought. Dennison uses Marx’s philosophy of history both as a useful entry point to his thought and as a locus for an illuminating contrast with a Reformed philosophy of events that proclaims God’s providential activity in history.” —Daniel Edward Young, Professor of Political Science, Northwestern College
Paperback, 144 pages
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