On Being Rich and Poor: Christianity in a Time of Economic Globalization

By Jacques Ellul
Compiled, Edited, and Translated by Willem H. Vanderburg

© 2014

One of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century, Jacques Ellul (1912–1994) was a French law professor, sociologist, lay theologian, and self-described “Christian anarchist.” Collecting Ellul’s lectures on the Bible, On Being Rich and Poor contains his prescient meditations on some of the most important theological questions of the modern age. In this volume, a follow-up to the Ellul lectures collected in On Freedom, Love, and Power, Ellul asks how it is that Christianity can justify abandoning the poorest, weakest, and most vulnerable members of society, depriving the next generation of a liveable future, and participating in an unprecedented wave of environmental destruction.

In these talks, Ellul observes that some of the harshest language in the Jewish and Christian Bibles is reserved for those who are rich and powerful, and thus able to bend others to their will. Through his analysis of the prophetic vision of Amos and the epistle of James, Ellul exposes the gap between the principles of Christian life and the practices of the modern world. Critiquing a world that values domination over collaboration, he offers an alternative path.

Transcribed from the original recordings and translated by Willem H. Vanderburg, a student and long-time colleague of Ellul’s, On Being Rich and Poor is an unprecedented look at how one of the twentieth century’s foremost thinkers grappled with some of today’s most challenging issues.

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 8.8in
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Quick Overview

On Being Rich and Poor is an unprecedented look at how one of the twentieth century’s foremost thinkers grappled with some of today’s most challenging issues.

On Being Rich and Poor: Christianity in a Time of Economic Globalization

By Jacques Ellul
Compiled, Edited, and Translated by Willem H. Vanderburg

© 2014

One of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century, Jacques Ellul (1912–1994) was a French law professor, sociologist, lay theologian, and self-described “Christian anarchist.” Collecting Ellul’s lectures on the Bible, On Being Rich and Poor contains his prescient meditations on some of the most important theological questions of the modern age. In this volume, a follow-up to the Ellul lectures collected in On Freedom, Love, and Power, Ellul asks how it is that Christianity can justify abandoning the poorest, weakest, and most vulnerable members of society, depriving the next generation of a liveable future, and participating in an unprecedented wave of environmental destruction.

In these talks, Ellul observes that some of the harshest language in the Jewish and Christian Bibles is reserved for those who are rich and powerful, and thus able to bend others to their will. Through his analysis of the prophetic vision of Amos and the epistle of James, Ellul exposes the gap between the principles of Christian life and the practices of the modern world. Critiquing a world that values domination over collaboration, he offers an alternative path.

Transcribed from the original recordings and translated by Willem H. Vanderburg, a student and long-time colleague of Ellul’s, On Being Rich and Poor is an unprecedented look at how one of the twentieth century’s foremost thinkers grappled with some of today’s most challenging issues.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 8.8in
  • Reviews

    ‘This is the second volume of a fascinating, fruitful project undertaken by Willem Vanderburg… It is certainly impressive, and among the many theological commentaries written by Ellul, one of the most winsome and accessible.’


    Brian Brock
    European Journal of Theology, vol 26:02:2017

    On Being Rich and Poor is a book whose time has come, for there are numerous Christians of every persuasion who have given up on the Church, confusing its institutional machinations with the simplicity of faith in God through Christ. Willem H. Vanderburg helps bring to light Ellul’s astute observations and insight, clearing away some of the clutter that Christianity has gathered through the centuries.”


    Stephanie Bennett, Professor of Communication and Media Ecology, Palm Beach Atlantic University

    On Being Rich and Poor is one of the best introductions to Jacques Ellul’s Christian views. His discussion of prophecy and prophets is eye-opening, and his commentary on the epistle of James is likewise startling. This is a remarkable book that will unsettle both Christians and non-Christians who think they know what Christianity is.”
    Richard Stivers, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University
  • Author Information

    Willem H. Vanderburg is the founding director of the Centre for Technology and Social Development and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto.

  • Table of contents

    Translator’s Introduction

    Part 1: Amos

    Chapter 1: Introduction to Amos

    Chapter 2: The Prophecies Against the Six Surrounding Nations

    Chapter 3: The Prophecies Against Judah and Israel

    The Prophecy Against Judah

    The Prophecy Against Israel

    Israel’s Punishment

    Chapter 4: Intertwining Themes…

    Overview

    The Role of Prophecy

    The Crimes

    The Punishments

    Chapter 5: God’s Pedagogy and the Evolving Revelation

    Overview

    The Five Scourges

    God’s Pedagogy

    God Awaits His People

    Chapter 6: Justice and Related Themes

    Overview

    Justice

    The Power of God

    God’s Appeal

    Chapter 7: The Five Visions

    Overview

    The Five Visions

    Vision and the Word  

    Chapter 8: Confronting the Religious Establishment, and the Silence of God

    Overview

    The Quarrel with the High Priest of Bethel

    The Silence of God

    Chapter 9: Reconciliation

    Overview

    Israel in History

    Israel from an Eschatological Perspective

    Part 2: The Letter of James

    Chapter 10: Introduction to James

    Chapter 11: Overview of the Christian Life

    To All People

    Life as a Test of Who We Are

    Money as a Test

    Beginning a New Life

    The Word and the New Life

    Chapter 12: The Other

    Life without Religion?

    Life as the Practice of Faith

    Chapter 13: The Word

    Our Words

    Wisdom, Intelligence, Words and Lies

    Chapter 14: Life in the World

    What Is the World?

    The World and Defilement

    The World of Judgements and Planning

    Chapter 15: To Whom or What do we Belong?

    The World of the Rich

    Divided Loyalties

    Chapter 16: Our Christian Lives Together

    Postscript: The Poverty and Riches of Jews and Christians

    The Flesh, the Law and the Spirit

    Gods Strategy

    Love and Justice

    Grafted Onto the Jewish Tree

    Notes

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