Jacques Ellul On The Web

We're not the only ones who feel the urge to introduce Jacques Ellul (hereinafter JE) to people, as you can see from the list below.
   The Wheaton College Library has an extensive collection of Ellul-related material, which can be scanned online.
   This year (2000) a bilingual French and English site has been launched at http://www.ellul.org/ - run by a nonprofit network of scholars with the permission and support of JE's children. Their model is the excellent site at dbonhoeffer.org. The site is not yet complete (I know this because - due to this theme camp - the society did me the honor of asking me to be their first webmaster) - but it already contains an accurate Ellul bibliography (for books - the articles list is coming) - an official mini-biography by Patrick Chastenet in English and French - information on the (to date only paper) journal Ellul Forum, and more.
Outside those two sites, English-language Ellul resources on the Web are comparatively sparse. This surprised me because JE's passionate and provocative writing style is perfect for the web. The term "flame" was not in general use during most of his career, but he can now be seen as a master of the "writing in the heat of passion" style - along with many other styles as his material required them. (Translators of JE's work face special stylistic challenges, and in the book list below I've tried to recognize their heroism.)
Most people who engage with JE seem to wrassle with just a few of his works at once, focusing on either the technique- or the propaganda- or the theologically-oriented strands of JE's thought. Undergraduates read excerpts from The Technological Society, stumble around trying to understand JE's key terms, and that seems to be it. For the full flavor, I recommend trying to engage with multiple strands of his thought (pick any three, or five...) at once. This is what I try to do myself, when my brain is up to it.

Bibliography
Joyce Main Hanks is the primary Ellul bibliographer in English (as well as an interviewer and translator of JE). All JE fans owe her a great debt. She just prepared an excellent bibliography of Ellul's books in French and English and has worked for a number of years with the collections at Wheaton.

Short Reading List
Here's a list of my favorite Ellul works (in their English language paperback versions), or at least, the works of JE I have spent the most time with:
The Presence of the Kingdom. (Translated by Olive Wyon.) Seabury, 1967.
Propaganda. (Translated by Konrad Kellen and Jean Lerner.) Vintage, 1973.
The Humiliation of the Word. (Translated by Joyce Main Hanks.) Eerdmans, 1985.
The Technological Society. (Translated by John Wilkinson.) Vintage, 1964.
Money and Power.  (Translated by LaVonne Neff.) Inter-Varsity, 1984.
In Season, Out of Season: An Introduction to the Thought of Jacques Ellul. Based on JE's conversations with Madeleine Garrigou-Lagrange. (Translated by Lani K. Niles.) Harper, 1982.

Just rec'd (thanks Don!): Sources & Trajectories: Eight Early Articles. Translation and commentary by Marva Dawn. Eerdmans, 1997. Looks good. The section "Avoiding Misunderstandings Generated By Problems In Ellul's Style," alone looks worth the price.

Scholars & Theorists
Christians who have written and spoken a great deal about JE's theological and ethical insights include John Howard Yoder, David W. Gill, Marva Dawn, and Vernard Eller. Each has drawn insights or key questions from Ellul and carried them forward in useful ways.
On the technological side, I've heard rumors that Marshall McLuhan, Alvin Toffler, the makers of the documentary Koyaanisqatsi, and (sadly) Ted Kaczynski were all influenced by Ellul. In The Moral Character of Means and Ends, Gill lists some of the works and writers who carried on the technology-related strands of the discussion Ellul stirred up: Neil Postman's Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, Ian Barbour's Ethics in An Age of Technology, Carl Mitcham's Thinking Through Technology, and Stephen Monsma's Responsible Technology.

Online Excerpts
from The Technological Society
from The Living Faith
from Anarchy and Christianity
JE's Salvation for All! quoted by Theologians for EveryOne
Excerpts from two articles about prayer
Seventy-Six Reasonable Questions to Ask About Any Technology by The Jacques Ellul Society, "a program of the International Center for Technology Assessment."

Introductions, Mimi-Bios, Quotations, & Essays
Victor Shepherd's concise portrait emphasizes JE's faith
Samuel Ebersole calls Ellul, "One of the most thoughtful philosophers to approach technology from a deterministic ...point of view..." (part of Media Determinism in Cyberspace)
David Hawkins' favorite JE quotations (including "I don't believe in a permanent determinism...")
JE as Christian Anarchist
Howard Rheingold's JE quotations
customer comments on Propaganda
How Jacques Ellul Reads The Bible by Vernard Eller [Vernard Eller's Christian Anarchy: Jesus' Primacy Over the Powers is dedicated to JE]
Jacques Ellul and the Impossible Dialectic Between Marx and Calvin by Jean-Marc Berthoud
Jacques Ellul and Sexual "Ethics": a critique - "Despite his unique expertise in ideological critique and propaganda, Ellul applies almost none of this in the sexual area, and even shows himself in the exceptional position of an uncritical victim of a cultural brainwashing... To his everlasting credit, however, Ellul has given us an unprecedented arsenal of insight that can be properly redirected into the area of sexual ideologies and sexual propagandas."  
Jacques Ellul and the Problem of Communication by Timothy A. Rake
Neon Genesis Evangelion meets Jacques Ellul - great title, but not much content
JE's "powers" essay quoted in a spiritual warfare context


Humiliation of the image...

sketch of a 30ish JE
mid-career photo on otherwise incomplete page
large recent? photo


original material copyright 2000 by Julianne Chatelain
last updated 2 November 2000