Kierkegaard once wrote that boredom is the root of all evil. No doubt, this proclamation alludes to the biblical proverb that warns of idles hands. The ominous coupling of boredom and idleness is epitomized in the ancient vice of acedia.
However, this longstanding perception of boredom may be a terrible misunderstanding. Once thought an ill, boredom is in fact the cure we need for the modern world. You can hardly find a moment in this rapid-paced society, or space for our attention within the gauntlet of continuous things to keep us busy. In spite of this, boredom is experiencing a renaissance.
What could Karl Marx have to do with reformed thought? That is what William D. Dennison addresses in his contribution to P & R Publishing’s Great Thinkers series. Adding to the existing volumes on Aquinas and Derrida, Dennison’s study of Marx examines the issue of history.
I still remember the toils of one particular graduate seminar where the class worked through Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology. I would not say that these memories where of joy, as the readings where always difficult and frustration was the common mood among everyone. However, the time was fruitful and the lessons on deconstructive criticism will not be forgotten.
Jump many years forward, I looked forward to reading Christopher Watkin’s Jacques Derrida (P&R Publishing 2018; source: publisher), in the Great Thinkers series from P&R Publishing (see here for a review of K. Scott Oliphint’s Thomas Aquinas). Fortunately, Watkin does not write like Derrida. Understanding Derrida is no easy feat. When reading Derrida, you might even question if he understands himself. Having stated these difficulties, it makes Watkin’s work that much more impressive.