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The Humiliation of the Word

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  71 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Argues that visual reality has overcome verbal truth, examines the biblical distinction between truth and reality, and considers the impact of the visual on artists and intellectuals."
Paperback, 300 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (first published January 1st 1981)
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Alex Stroshine
May 14, 2016 Alex Stroshine rated it it was ok
Shelves: sociocultural
If I could actually understand this book, I'm sure I would give it more than 2/5. I think I am very sympathetic to Ellul's points (I certainly am to Neil Postman in 'Amusing Ourselves to Death,' which has many similarities to this book) but I find Ellul a bit too dense to fathom. Maybe if he used images and pictures to illustrate his thought I would understand it better ;). One thing he carefully elaborates on is that there is often a division between reality and truth; our culture, obsessed ...more
Martin Pujdak
Feb 22, 2016 Martin Pujdak rated it it was amazing
In "The Humiliation of the Word", Jacques Ellul contrasts Truth and Reality.

The dichotomy between word and image and between truth and reality is a temporary effect of the Fall, and contrary to God’s ultimate purpose for humankind. In the Incarnation and the consummation of God’s Kingdom, word and image are reconciled.

The world refuses to accept that God chooses to reveal Himself through His Word.

Quotes from the book:

"The text is progressively retreating everywhere. A simple examination of tex
Jun 02, 2011 Matthew rated it liked it
This book is Ellul's critique against the contemporary preoccupation with symbols, images, graphic displays, etc. and the tendency to reduce discursive knowledge into some kind of visual format. His critique is that contemporary culture degrades and humiliates words and language. His analysis of the problem is essentially from a sociological and theological perspective. In essence, his thesis states, "the situation of the word in our society is deplorable" (155). In his analysis, Ellul employs ...more
A.J. Jr.
Jan 20, 2016 A.J. Jr. rated it it was amazing
This is a thought provoking book. Ellul is one of the greatest intellects of the twentieth century and it's no surprise that this book is not light reading. I'd previously read his "Technological Society" and "Propaganda", both of which are not easy reads. I bought the book because I'd heard it referenced by Neil Postman in an old interview and I knew it would be a difficult and thought provoking read. I was right about that. It's not the sort of book I couldn't put down... it's the sort of book ...more
Aug 10, 2011 Becky rated it it was amazing
Jaques Ellul makes us think about why ( and why we allow ) images dominate our lives. Probably one of my top 5 all time favorite books.

"People reduce what can only belong to the order of the word (which of necessity they are responsible) to the order of sight (where they reign as masters)" (89).

"Our ultimate desire is to bring everything to sight, even when it is a matter of internalized sight. We need an image in order to grab hold of something" (95).

"... and the woman saw that the tree was goo
Aug 12, 2009 Ruberad rated it it was amazing
Ellul has an inimitable style and a knack for asserting his ideas "with authority", not like the scribes of other books.

The entire Prolegomena (Ch 1) is previewable on Google Books.
J.S.  Kitololo
Sep 17, 2015 J.S. Kitololo rated it it was amazing
I liked this book. Especially when Ellul turns to the eschatological function of visions and apocalypses, and the reconciliation of word and image at the end of the age, and temporarily in the incarnation. His insights into Witness related to sight, and faith related to sight were also high points for me.
The whole thing is worth a read IMO
Josh O'Shea
Feb 05, 2016 Josh O'Shea rated it liked it
He's a bad historian and poor biblical studies authority, but his theology is clean and cry against his a-intellectual culture's reliance on image over speech intensifies for today.
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Baptised Catholic, Ellul became an atheist and Marxist at 19, and a Christian of the Reformed Church at 22. During his Marxist days, he was a member of the French Communist Party. During World War II, he fought with the French Underground against the Nazi occupation of France.

Educated at the Universities of Bordeaux and Paris, he taught Sociology and the History of Law at the Universities of Strau
More about Jacques Ellul...

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