Under the overall title of "Critique of Heaven and Earth", this first series of van Leeuwen's Gifford Lectures examines the young Karl Marx's developing thought. It is intended for those studying Marx and those involved in Marxist-Christian dialogue, Christian philosophy occupied a key position in Marx's view of world history and his confrontation with it played an important role in his development as a thinker. Van Leeuwen has written a thoughtful account of this confrontation and of Marx's critiques of religion which was one of the major themes of his early thought. "It is not the religious situation as such which preoccupies him during these early years", van Leeuwen writes, "any more than it is the question of economics as such which will absorb his attention during the mature period of his life. The point at stake is an underlying problem, which lies at the root of the religious as well as the economic question", - how to alter radically a universal, though man-made, philosophical or economic system.
Van Leeuwen's exploration of the encounter between the young Marx and Christianity is a reinterpretation of Marx's thought that points towards a new view of the religious and economic systems with which Marx was concerned.
Arend Theodoor van Leeuwen is associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics in the Catholic University of Nijmegen (Holland). Publications: Christianity in World History, 1964 Prophecy In a Technocratic Era, 1968 Critique of earth, 1974 Critique of heaven, 1972