World Christianity and Marxism

Hardcover | April 1, 1998

byDenis R. Janz

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Denis Janz argues that the encounter with Marxism has been the defining event for twentieth century Christianity. No other worldview shook Christianity more dramatically and no other movement had as profound an impact on so many. Now the Cold War is over and as we approach the end of thecentury we need, Janz says, to ask ourselves what happened. This book is the first unified and comprehensive attempt to analyze this historic meeting between these two antagonistic worlds of thought and action. The intellectual foundation of this antagonism is to be found in Karl Marx himself, and thus the book begins with an account of Marx's assault onChristianity. All the diverse philosophical and political manifestations of Marxism were ultimately rooted in Marx's thought, and supporters based their greater or lesser hostilities toward Christianity on their reading of his critique. Janz follows this with an overview of Christian responses toMarx, extending from the mid-19th century to the onset of the Cold War. He argues that within this time frame Christianity's negation of Marx was not absolute; the loud "no" to Marx bore with it an important, if muted, "yes." With this intellectual groundwork in place, Janz turns to an examination of the encounter as it unfolded in specific national contexts: the United States, the Soviet Union, Poland, Nicaragua, Cuba, China, and Albania. The experiences of these countries varied widely, from Poland where Christianitymaintained its strongest independence, to Nicaragua where a Christian alliance with Marxism contributed to revolutionary change, to Albania where a Stalinist government attempted to abolish religion entirely. From this survey emerges the evidence that world Christianity has clearly internalized someof the prominent features of its antagonist, suggesting that the "Marxist project" is not as utterly defunct as many have assumed.

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Denis Janz argues that the encounter with Marxism has been the defining event for twentieth century Christianity. No other worldview shook Christianity more dramatically and no other movement had as profound an impact on so many. Now the Cold War is over and as we approach the end of thecentury we need, Janz says, to ask ourselves what...

Denis R. Janz is currently Professor of the History of Christianity at Loyola University New Orleans. He is the author and editor of three books and numerous articles on medieval and Reformation Christian thought.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:200 pages, 9.21 × 6.3 × 0.98 inPublished:April 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195119444

ISBN - 13:9780195119442

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"Nuanced, learned, and yet accessible."--Commonweal