To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Meaning of the City Paperback – July 16, 1970
Wiley Summer Savings Event.
Save up to 40% during Wiley's Summer Savings Event. Learn more.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
This book is so beautiful. It's the first book I've read by Jacques Ellul. If all of his other books are similarly written, I'm totally sold on them. This book is the best book I've ever read by a christian author. It's very substantive, and you can tell throughout each and every page, that the author is steeped in biblical understanding and wisdom. Babylon doesn't exist anymore, though within 100 miles from Baghdad, Babylon is a symbol for all that is wrong with human civilization. So what does Babylon symbolize? What is it about this type of city that G-d despises, and how can the city please G-d? The leaving of the city is also symbolic; getting out of the mob is no easy matter, though physically still in the city, one's previously good mob friends will more than likely kill you when you get out (my thoughts). So the leaving I believe, though Ellul does not directly say it is spiritual, symbolic.
My favorite chapter is the first, "The Builders", where Ellul speaks mostly about the first half dozen chapters of Genesis and how the first city was built by the first murderer, Cain, who killed his brother Abel. G-d told Cain that his brother's cries were heard by Him. Once Cain realizes his grave wrongdoing, G-d offers him protection by 'setting a mark' on him. Yet Cain seemingly takes no stock of this act of grace by G-d, and determined to secure eternity for himself, builds a city, and begets children.Read more ›
Starting with Genesis and finishing with Revelation, Ellul presents an amazingly comprehensive theology of the city. He points to the repeating patterns of human sin and rebellion exemplified in man's conscious self-alienation from God that culminates in creation of the city - an alternative environment of false security and temporal support for himself. Ellul follows this attitude as it grows and becomes a symbol of wickedness and a sign of divine judgment epitomized in the autonomous world system that became known as `Babylon, the Great.' Paradoxically, God adopts the city and changes her meaning as a place for His people to live and as an arena of His salvific activity. But human creation is inherently and ultimately seducing and inadequate, and therefore doomed to the eschatological fall. Still, God in His loving mercy and through His grace will reconcile and rebuild everything in the end. Both the city of human aspirations, this time of divine creation, and the paradise of God will coexist together as a fulfillment of God's purposes and a pinnacle of His intentions: His abiding presence with man.
Ellul's vision of the city at the present age is pessimistic. The city is a "concentration of all condemned activities" (page 48), a "repository of sin" (page 52) that can not be reformed since "applying the balm of Gilead won't help" (page 57).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It took much longer to arrive than expected - perhaps as much as three weeks. Still glad to receive it.Published on April 16, 2013 by Ms. Margret R. Rodina
For a Christmas gift for my husband who has multi-degrees and cannot make heads/tails out of the author's purposefully obtuse academia...Published on January 16, 2013 by Lynn J. Smith