Earlier this week, I shared that I'll be writing a biography of Jacques Ellul, the French social theorist and theologian, for the Eerdmans Library of Religious Biography.
In some ways, this is a project that has been two decades in the making, as I've been thinking about and with Ellul since the Fall of 2000, when I first encountered Ellul's work in a PhD seminar on Technology, Environment, and Society (which was my primary area of concentration), and one of my first peer-reviewed articles was thinking with Ellul about climate change ("Climate Change and Climate Change Policy as Human Sacrifice: Artifice, Idolatry, and Environment in a Technological Society"). I've had opportunities to co-teach (with three colleagues here at Wheaton) a course on Ellul, co-author a book on Ellul (with two of those colleagues), to work with some of the materials in Wheaton's Special Collection of Ellul materials, one of the largest such collections in the world.
Over the next couple years, I'm sure I'll pepper this newsletter with insights gained during this project.
I'm not a historian, but as one person close to this project has said, my job is to turn that into a strength. I'm also not a biographer, so I've spent quite a bit of time -- as long as I've had this project in mind -- reading a bit more biography over the past couple years. I'll probably need to keep doing that, in order to understand better some of the conventions of biography... and know when I'm breaking with them. So what are your favorite biographies? Email me with some ideas.
Speaking of biographies, a couple of my favorites are of Martin Luther. And since it's Reformation Sunday, here's a Luther quote:
"[It is] impossible to separate works from faith — yea, just as impossible as to separate burning and shining from fire.”
Do you believe that?
This Wednesday evening, I'll host a discussion of Chapter 4 of The Gardeners' Dirty Hands, which will focus on what we can learn from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Aeschylus about "the tragic" and how that might apply to environmental thought and environmental governance.
Broiled feta with red pepper flakes, olive oil, and parsley blew my mind, especially after I drizzled a little honey over it, too.
Try this recipe for it.
Find it in The Complete Mediterranean Coookbook by America's Test Kitchen. Then serve with their recipe for a lentil, carrot, cilantro salad.
Consider giving to this
The Seminary Co-op bookstore is a treasure. Please consider supporting it through this GoFundMe effort so that we don't lose it. This week, all the links to books above will take you to the Seminary Co-op site. Want to buy one of my books, or the cookbook listed above? Maybe buy it from them this time.