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Jacques Ellul and the Bible: A Cross Disciplinary Exploration
June 28, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - June 30, 2018 @ 4:00 pm
Between June 28 and 30, I will be attending this year’s Conference of the International Jacques Ellul Society at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Jacques Ellul (1912-94) is best known as one of the premier voices of the 20th century analyzing the emergence, characteristics, and challenges of the “technological society” — the growing and seemingly irresistible dominance of technological tools, processes, and values over the whole of life and the whole of the world. But the Bordeaux sociologist simultaneously produced almost as many works of biblical study and reflection as sociology. In these studies Ellul delivered brilliantly creative insights as well as provocative challenges to traditional theology. All serious students of Ellul, whether part of faith communities like Ellul (in the French Reformed Church) or not (like his colleague and best friend Bernard Charbonneau), have found interaction with his theological writings an essential complement to the study of his great sociological works. This conference will seek a multi-perspectival hearing of Scripture stimulated by Ellul’s works.
This year’s conference is entitled, “Jacques Elll and the Bible: a Cross Disciplinary Explortaion.” It will focus on Ellul’s style of biblical interpretation which served to enrich his sociological analysis of modern society.
You may register here.
I will present a paper at this conference entitled, “Ellul’s Encounters with the Apocalypse in Poetry and in Biblical Exegesis.”
This paper will explore the dialectic by which Ellul analyzes the Apocalypse and which he uses, in another form, to address it creatively. The Apocalypse is the only Biblical book to which Ellul devoted two works, (1) his study L’Apocalypse, architecture en mouvement (1975; ET 1977) and (2) his remarkable book- length poem Oratorio: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Oratorio (1997) which only appeared three years after Ellul’s death, but was “written in the sixties” according to the publisher’s cover note. Perhaps the poetry is the seed later to be unfolded in his exegesis, but already containing everything and, it could be said, in a superior fusion. Investigating Ellul’s creative and analytical forms of dialectic illuminates the complex but clear vision of the Apocalypse that he offers. It shows us that the poem in particular dramatizes and enacts one of the great revelations he drew from the Apocalypse, the manner in which the God-granted free creativity of the human being encounters God’s permanent activity.