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The Humiliation of the Word [Paperback]

By Mr. Jacques Ellul (Author)
Our Price $ 24.65  
Retail Value $ 29.00  
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Item Number 144370  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   285
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.7" Width: 6.26" Height: 0.79"
Weight:   0.88 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 2001
Publisher   William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802800696  
EAN  9780802800695  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Well known for his many books on sociology and theology, Jacques Ellul for the first time intertwines sociological analysis with theological discussion in this provocative examination of how reality (which is visual) has superseded truth (which is verbal) in modern times. / After delineating in basic terms the distinction between truth and reality, the verbal and visual, Ellul explores the biblical-theological basis for this distinction. He examines the biblical emphasis on the word (both the divine Word and human words which witness to the divine truth) and the biblical critique of idolatry (which is, of course, visual). He goes on to delineate the ways in which the visual dominates modern life and to examine the correlate of this exaltation --- the devaluation of the word. / Later chapters discuss the religious conflict between images and the word, and the impact of the visual on intellectuals and artist. Finally, Ellul focuses on specific aspects of the Bible that appear problematic and discusses the ultimate reconciliation of truth and reality that is to be found only in God. / Of particular interest to those concerned with language philosophy, literary criticism, theology, and art, the book is also accessible to interested general readers.

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More About Mr. Jacques Ellul

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jacques Ellul was a professor at the University of Bordeaux. He is the author of Propaganda, The Subversion of Christianity, and The Technological Society. William H. Vanderburg is the director of the Center for Technology and Social Development at the University of Toronto. He is the author of The Growth of Minds and Cultures and The Labyrinth of Technology.

Jacques Ellul was born in 1912 and died in 1994.

Jacques Ellul has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Jacques Ellul Legacy

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Logic & Language   [870  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( E ) > Ellul, Jacques   [14  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Thinking Person's Guide to Media Influence  Jun 3, 2003
After reading the other reviews I must add a few comments.

First, you can't blame the author for lack of clarity. If you blame anyone, blame the translator. This book is translated from French and most translations are cumbersome.

Second, Jacques Ellul is a Luddite (read his "The Technological Society" and you'll see what I mean) so his conclusions are going to be anti-techonology.

Having said all that, this book challenges the assumptions of our image-driven society whether you agree with the author's conclusions or not. Jacques Ellul is a Christian but missed one important point on the image vs. word debate. And that is this: "The Word became flesh..." The Word by divine mandate became an image of God in the flesh. Also, man is made in the image of God. But Jacques Ellul is a great thinker and always provokes thought outside the traditional box.

This is a great book and deserves reading and re-reading for any writer in our image-driven society.

Aloha, Glenn

Hard to Follow  Jul 3, 2001
The review by Sharilee is a good summary, but I found Ellul's actual presentation to be extremely wordy and obscure. There is much to be said on this topic, but I don't think he said it at all clearly or well. My advice is to browse this book in a library before investing in your own copy.
Brilliant  Oct 10, 1999
In this book, Ellul makes a strong distinction between the "word" and the "image" as a method of perceiving and making sense of the world. He claims that the "image" has been elevated in our society beyond its original purpose and capability. The "image" is limited to the material world, to the practical and cannot probe the depths of human experience, to go beyond the surface of reality. Therefore a society based on image will be a shallow society, incapable of find ing deep truths.

He contrasts the limitations of the image with the strengths of the "word." The word, which has been humiliated in today's world, that is, lowered in status, demeaned, is capable of conveying truth and complexities that the image cannot. The word, because it is flexible and open to interpretation, is an instrument of communication and negotiation.

Ellul takes this argument and applies it to several different areas of technology and communication.

I agree wholeheartedly with his basic premise, although not with all of his applications. Sometimes his categorizations are a little unclear and confusing but overall he makes a very strong argument. He is absolutely brilliant in the way that he is able to analyze the very fundamental structure of the way we communicate and function as a society. He attacks the postmodern mindset by showing that they have a disdain for thinking and the intellect itself.


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