Book Review: Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave

     Do you wonder how we got where we are in our world today–where our current ideas on religion, science, psychology, economics, government, and education came from?  David Breese wrote a book nearly twenty years ago entitled Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave.  In it he disscusses the lives and work of seven men:  Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Julius Wellhausen, John Dewey, Sigmund Freud, John Maynard Keynes, and Soren Kierkegard.  He critiques their work from an evangelical Christian perspective.

      Breese’s book is not very long, which means that his exploration of how these men impact our world today is pretty cursory.  Although it is a cursory treatment, it is a good introduction for the casual reader who wants an overview.  It is also useful for the more informed and scholarly reader who wants to consider the impact that these seven men had on the world as a group.

     I recommend the book to Christians who are not very familiar with these seven men and even for those who are.  I found it useful to have their ideas laid out in a condensed format and found Breese to be very insightful in how those ideas still influence us.  I did not agree with everything Breese wrote, particularly in the chapter on Kierkegaard, but who understands Kierkegaard anyway?  It’s not a substitute for good biographies on these highly influential men, but it is a handy little volume. 

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5 responses to “Book Review: Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave

  1. This book poses some good arguments, but is tedious as a whole. Breese can only treat these individuals in a cursory fashion, where most of them have volumes written about individual facets of their lives and philosophies. To attempt a discussion about Darwin, Freud, Marx, Kierkegaard, Wellhausen, Dewey and Keynes (not to mention Einstein, whose ideas, Breese argues, gave birth to relativism) in a volume of this length is to create a good introduction, which I think this book accomplishes, but no more. Breese’s style is at times witty and sharp, but the historical redundancy of his chapters and the brevity of the discussion on each individual leave something to be desired.

    RG’s Note: This comment was lifted from the reviews at I do not know if the commenter called Sally is the actual author of these words.

  2. Yes, this is essential reading for not only Christians, but almost anyone else who is wondering how we got to where we are today – and how science has come to dominate our belief systems.

  3. The problem with science ruling our beliefs is the fact that science proves itself wrong on a daily basis. What was considered fact yeaterday is not a mistaken theory. Most use biased conditions and opinions as fact. The reason this is so is because scientist get funding to “find” new things and information. So not “finding” a new fact stops funding the next quater/ year and this means they are out of a job.

    Money rules out over truth anyday to the average human.

  4. Breese comes out against Christian Existentialism. It worked out into “Dominion Theology”, which, if taken to the extreme, would suggest the church’s role is to so influence its society that that society becomes Christian. This is not true, for when the Son of Man returns, “Will He find faith on the Earth”?

    I find Christian Existentialist thought to be speaking truth. I really don’t get what Breese is talking about. I would not take it as far as the Dominionists, but surely there must be transformation of lives, or no gospel has been heard.

  5. Pingback: Reagan on the unions - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum

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