A New Reading of Jacques Ellul
Presence and Communication in the Postmodern World
Jacob Marques Rollison
This book presents an original and dynamic reading of the twentieth-century French sociologist and theological ethicist Jacques Ellul. Adopting Ellul’s use of ‘presence’ as a hermeneutical key to understanding his work, it examines the origins of Ellul’s approach to presence in his readings of Kierkegaard and the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, highlights the central structural role of presence in Ellul’s theological ethics, and elucidates a crucial turning point in Ellul’s theology following a personal crisis in Ellul’s faith and life. Drawing from numerous unpublished and untranslated texts, Jacob Marques Rollison argues that this crisis involves confrontation with a critique of presence manifest in Ellul’s reading of and engagement with Michel Foucault. Marques Rollison distills Ellul’s sociological critiques and theological responses to this crisis, presenting Ellul’s evolving theology against the background of major shifts in French intellectual life. In doing so, the author simultaneously calls for renewed engagement with Ellul’s prophetic thought, critically appraises Ellul’s dialectical theology and Marxist inheritances, and develops a robustly Protestant approach to theological communication ethics for our time.