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Jacques Ellul (1912–1994)

Author of The Technological Society

107+ Works 4,932 Members 46 Reviews 16 Favorited

About the Author

Jacques Ellul, historian, theologian, and sociologist, is one of the foremost and widely known contemporary critics of modern technological society. Born in Bordeaux, France, Ellul received a doctorate in the history of law and social science in 1936 from the University of Bordeaux. In 1947 he was show more appointed professor of social history at the University of Bordeaux, remaining there until his retirement in 1980. Although influenced strongly by his early reading of the Bible Marx, Ellul has been unable to synthesize Marxist doctrine with Christianity. These readings and experiences have influenced his later philosophy and writing. Ellul has taught and written extensively in his areas of specialization - Roman law, the history and sociology of institutions, Marxism, propaganda, and technique in society. He also served in the French Resistance during World War II, worked as a lay pastor, and has been active with various theological organizations, including the World Council of Churches. In addition, Ellul has been active in the environmental movement and has worked to prevent juvenile delinquency and violence. Since 1969, he has been editor of Foi et Vie (Faith and Life). Although retired as a teacher, Ellul has continued writing. One of his writing projects is an autobiography to be published after his death. Ellul has provided a sociopolitical as well as a theological analysis of contemporary society in more than 40 books and 800 articles. The Technological Society (1954) established Ellul as a social critic. The book has had a major impact on the collective consciousness of a society just beginning to recognize the central role and force of technology. Here Ellul develops the notion of "technique," a concept much broader than technology: "Technique is the totality of methods rationally arrived at." In Ellul's view, technology in this sense tends to become all-encompassing. His subsequent books, especially The Political Illusion (1965) and Propaganda (1962), further develop and refine elements of this central theme. This "trilogy" of books reflects Ellul's desire to alert readers to the dangers of technological determinism and thereby help them transcend it. Because of a dialectical approach separating his sociopolitical and theological studies, Ellul has often been criticized as overly pessimistic in his sociologically based writings. His theological works, however, provide a more positive perspective and counterpoint to his sociological work. Most notable are The Politics of God and the Politics of Man (1966), The Meaning of the City (1970), and especially The Ethics of Freedom (1973). The main body of Ellul's sociopolitical critique of technical society is reflected by The Technological Society, The Political Illusion, Propaganda, and The Technological System. Among his other works are Autopsy of Revolution (1969), which questions what kind of revolution is realistically possible, The Humiliation of the Word (1981), which expands upon the concept of "human techniques", and The Technological Bluff (1990), which discusses the state of contemporary society, especially in regard to such technologies as computers and genetic engineering and the progressive "discourse" that surrounds their societal incorporation. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
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Works by Jacques Ellul

The Technological Society (1964) 804 copies
The Meaning of the City (1970) 265 copies
Anarchy and Christianity (1988) 250 copies
The Presence of the Kingdom (1967) 245 copies
Money & Power (1984) 149 copies
The Humiliation of the Word (1981) 147 copies
Technological Bluff (1988) 128 copies
Prayer and Modern Man (1970) 117 copies
The ethics of freedom (1976) 111 copies
The Judgement of Jonah (1971) 103 copies
Technological System (1977) 92 copies
The Political Illusion (1964) 91 copies
Hope in time of abandonment (1973) 80 copies
The New Demons (1973) 80 copies
What I Believe (1987) 60 copies
The Betrayal of the West (1975) 44 copies
Autopsy of revolution (1971) 41 copies
On Freedom, Love, and Power (2010) 24 copies
To Will and to Do (1969) 18 copies
Métamorphose du bourgeois (1998) 14 copies
An Unjust God? (1991) 13 copies
Histoire de la propagande (1967) 9 copies
Théologie et technique (2014) 4 copies
Storia delle istituzioni (1963) 3 copies
Silences: Poemes (1995) 3 copies
Ellul par lui-même (2008) 3 copies
Un chrétien pour Israël (1986) 2 copies
Histoire des Institutions (1969) 2 copies
Nr̃varo i modern tid (2021) 1 copy
To Will & To Do (2021) 1 copy

Associated Works

Philosophical Issues: A Contemporary Introduction (1972) — Contributor — 17 copies
Callings! (1974) — Contributor — 4 copies


Common Knowledge

Legal name
Ellul, Jacques Cesar Emile
Date of death
Country (for map)
Bordeaux, Gironde, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
Place of death
Pessac, Gironde, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
Places of residence
Bordeaux, Gironde, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
Paris, Île-de-France, France
University of Bordeaux (Ph.D|1936)
University of Paris
Professor of History and the Sociology of Institutions
University of Bordeaux
Short biography
a French philosopher, Law professor, sociologist, theologian, and Christian anarchist. He wrote several books about the "technological society", and about Christianity and politics, such as Anarchy and Christianity (1991)—arguing that anarchism and Christianity are socially following the same goal.

A philosopher who approached technology from a deterministic viewpoint, Ellul, professor at the University of Bordeaux, authored some 40 books and hundreds of articles over his lifetime, the dominant theme of which has been the threat to human freedom and Christian faith created by modern technology. His constant concern has been the emergence of a "technological tyranny" over humanity. As a philosopher and theologian, he further explored the religiosity of the technological society.



Could've made the same point in 40-80 pages and with that getting your message across and not annoying your readers. With the premise the author sets, I am not sure all examples work as valid arguments, and many sound as if they're coming from a ludite.
atrillox | 4 other reviews | Nov 27, 2023 |
Ellul is well known for his ideas on the technological society in which we live. He explains tension in his own life between the pressures of living in a technological age and the importance of faith as played in his life. He takes the position that if faith in Christ works itself out in the reality of daily life it can set us free in today's world.Religious
PendleHillLibrary | 1 other review | Nov 17, 2023 |
This is a study of political action and the prophetic function of religion. The author believes that all our political illusions and all our social visions and their compromising provisions are merely vain attempts to conceal the fact that the real political problem is a theological one.
PendleHillLibrary | 1 other review | Nov 10, 2023 |
A book that does a remarkably effective job of shattering illusions and calling Christians back, individually and corporately, to their real raison d'etre.
PendleHillLibrary | Nov 3, 2023 |



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