Lured out of hiding
1. I've never read anything useful by them that cannot be found better stated elsewhere. Is there anything they say that is (a) original and (b) worth saying? This was the question I asked Hollywood heartthrob and Dabney expert, Rob Lowe, at his WTS PhD exam some years ago. Still waiting for a compelling answer on that one.....
2. The slave/race thing rather spoils them, esp. RLD -- Dabney was nasty even by the desultory standards of the nineteenth century; and I just don't buy the Eugene Genovese line on southern culture which has been used as one way of circumventing the problem. And isn't it strange how the only people I know who are inclined not to see this as a problem are middle class white presnyterian guys.....
3. What a pair of tedious prose stylists! Berkhof (note the spelling, Del) wrote a dictionary; dictionaries are meant to be boring; that's the deal. But these guys wrote continuous prose that is too often as wooden as it comes -- except, of course, when Dabney is hating, which he does do exceptionally well at times. Compare them to the eminent Victorian, John Henry Newman and the point is obvious -- theology can be literature, but not where these two gents are concerned.
Read Augustine, Calvin, and Owen -- yes, they can at times be boring; and Owen's style can be too Latinate; but they are at least great minds; and seeing a great mind in action is always worthwhile.