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Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey (Ivan Illich: 21st-Century Perspectives) Hardcover – February 8, 2021

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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  • Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey (Ivan Illich: 21st-Century Perspectives)
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Editorial Reviews


“This opus represents many, many evenings of intelligent, friendly, and finally life-changing dialogue that culminate in a near-symphonic quality. Cayley’s deep understanding and clear prose pull a complex, balanced harmony out of themes that to the casual reader of Illich could seem eclectic.”

―Marcus Rempel, Clarion: Journal for Religion, Peace, and Justice

“David Cayley, who conducted two lengthy radio interviews-turned-books with Illich (in 1988 and 2000) and had a decades-long friendship with him, has written a gripping and unconventional biography of this deeply unconventional man.”

―Michael J. Sauter, Front Porch Republic

“Cayley convincingly illuminates how Illich’s thought developed and how it revolves around certain central insights: complementarity, the vernacular, incarnation, and a reading of history that sees the West as a deviation from the Gospel. In so doing, Cayley reconnects Illich with the work of important contemporary social theorists―Latour, Agamben, Milbank, and others―and shows how Illich anticipated their work in many ways.  This book is unique, much needed, and masterfully executed.”

―William Cavanaugh, author of Field Hospital: The Church's Engagement with a Wounded World

“No other book yet published summarizes and synthesizes Illich’s life and thought at this length and in this detail. It is a much-needed intervention with sustained political, social, philosophical, and theological resonance. Cayley’s book should now form the starting point for all future critical conversation around Illich’s varied, generative, challenging, and often surprising ideas.”

―Simon Ravenscroft, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge

“As a friend of Illich, Cayley’s book carries forward and, in many ways, completes the vision Illich had not the time in his relatively short life to fully elaborate and explain.”

―Robert Inchausti, Angelus

Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey can itself be seen as an act of love, restoring Illich to his rightful place among the significant social and religious thinkers of our time.”

―Brian C. Anderson, First Things

“Ivan Illich’s work offers us a much needed intellectual and spiritual balm in a time distinguished by the untidy dissolution of certainties. But such a balm is not purchased by cheap grace. It is costly; it requires a new visioning. David Cayley’s retrieval of this “vanishing clergyman” offers a way forward in a darkening landscape.”

―Michael W. Higgins, Literary Review of Canada

“A crucial contribution to Illich’s rediscovery.”

―Geoff Shullenberger, American Affairs

About the Author

David Cayley is a Canadian writer and broadcaster. He has produced and presented hundreds of radio documentaries, including two five-hour series with Ivan Illich, and published seven books, among them The Rivers North of the Future: The Testament of Ivan Illich.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penn State University Press; 1st edition (February 8, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 560 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0271088125
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0271088129
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.5 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7 x 1.78 x 10 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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M. Edmonds
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb - highly recommended
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 18, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for students of Ilich
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 15, 2021