Presence in the Modern World: A New Translation by Lisa Richmond

By Jacques Ellul and Lisa Richmond (translator)

A new translation of Jacques Ellul’s classic work, setting out a radical Christian response to the forces of technology and modernity.

ISBN: 9780227176634


Presence in the Modern World is Jacques Ellul’s most foundational book, combining his social analysis with his theological orientation. Appearing first in French in 1948, and later in English as The Presence of the Kingdom, it has reached the status of a classic that retains all of its relevance dealing with today’s challenges.

How should we respond to such complex forces as technology or the state? How can we communicate with one another, despite the problems inner to modern forms of media? Do we have hope for the future of our civilisation? Ellul responds by describing how a Christian’s unique presence in the world can make a difference. Instead of acting as ‘sociological beings’, we must commit ourselves to the kind of revolution that will occur only when we become radically aware of our present situation and undertake ‘a ferocious and passionate destruction of myths’. In this way, states Ellul, we become the medium for God’s action in the modern world.

This new edition presents a fresh translation along with new footnotes, an introduction to Ellul’s life, and a complete bibliography in both English and French.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 146

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Jacques Ellul (1912-94) was a French law professor, social theorist, and lay theologian. In addition to Presence in the Modern World, his best-known works include The Technological Society, Propaganda, The Humiliation of the Word and
Hope in Time of Abandonment.


Foreword by Ted Lewis
Translator’s Preface by Lisa Richmond
Author’s Preface

1. The Christian in the World
2. Revolutionary Christianity
3. End and Means
4. Communication
5. Prologue and Conclusion

Afterword: Notes on Revolution
Introduction to Jacques Ellul’s Life and Thought by David W. Gill
Bibliography of Books by Jacques Ellul
Topical Index
Scripture Index


Endorsements and Reviews

Today the moral question above all others is how to be truly awake and fully equal to the technological world. Jacques Ellul as a young man saw the question and began to outline the answer in Presence in the Modern World.
Albert Borgmann, author of Power Failure: Christianity in the Culture of Technology

Read Presence in the Modern World. Not only is it the introduction to Ellul’s entire body of work, but its emphasis on Christians’ revolutionary situation in the world has never been more relevant.
Patrick Chastenet, University of Bordeaux; President of the Association Internationale Jacques Ellul

Lisa Richmond’s new translation echoes Ellul’s radicality and revolutionary fervour, making the reading a brilliant experience. Enjoy this powerful book!
Marva Dawn, author; translator of Sources and Trajectories: Eight Early Articles by Jacques Ellul that Set the Stage