I recently broadcast new and upcoming titles of interest, but a clear stand-out emerges. Here’s the career of an inquiry.

First, there was Lewis Mumford’s Technics and Civilization (1934).

Then there was Martin Heidegger’s “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953).

Then, Jacques Ellul’s Technology and Society (1954).

Next, Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964).

After that Neil Postman’s Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (1992).

And now, almost two decades after the last book, Brian Brock’s Christian Ethics in a Technological Age (2010) promises to change everything . . . .

Christian Smith (University of Notre Dame): Christians are often so naive about the power of technological culture in our lives. Brian Brock isn’t. With sobering realism and Trinitarian clarity of vision, Brock shuts down happy optimism and focuses hope only in cross and resurrection, as worked out in the nitty-gritty particularities of our lives. The voices of Bonhoeffer, Barth, and Augustine, which Brock here brings to bear on the overwhelming domination of technology, are a gift to any seeking an alternative vision.

Stanley Hauerwas (Duke Divinity School): This is as good a treatment of Heidegger’s account of technology as any that we have, and a more appropriate theological response. Brian Brock is going to be one of the most important theologians of the future.

Michael Banner (Trinity College, University of Cambridge): A considered and mature statement of a serious position on a highly pertinent topic . . . . An extremely valuable contribution.

Bernd Wannenwetch (University of Oxford): Remarkable . . . . It is easy to criticize the technocratic spirit, but  much harder to point out an alternative. The books does.

John Webster (University of Oxford): A fine treatment, both in its scope and its perceptive analysis. . . . Brian Brock articulates judgments with force and clarity.

Hans Ulrich (University of Erlangen): Brock’s Christian Ethics in a Technological Age is not just one more contribution to the ethical and moral discourse on technology assessment. It pushes that discussion to a whole new level by meeting the need for a fundamental reflection on the ethical challenges presented by modern technology.


Posted by Christopher Benson

  • Eric

    Of all the titles, this was the one that stood out for me too.

  • Eric: I just got my copy in the mail from Eerdmans today, and I’m “wowed” by the endorsements. We’ve needed a sophisticated theological engagement with the technological age, and now it appears we’ve got it with Brock’s book.

    • Eric

      I put mine on order after reading part of the intro online.

  • Postman’s title is “Technopoly”

    • Yes, John, Postman’s title is Technopoly. That was a typo on my part. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • Bryce

    Christopher, I like this book. I am previewing it on Google books now. Brock wrote the book I have been wanting to write for years. That’s a relief! On to the next topic!

    • BRYCE: Yes, it’s a relief when someone else writes the book we’ve thought about writing––and probably does it better.

  • David Gill

    Ellul’s book (ET 1964) was The Technological Society. Actually, just the most famous of his fifty books. Albert Borgmann, Neil Postman and others have written great stuff in recent years.

    • David Gill

      Sorry I meant to add Carl Mitcham to that list of names. You already mentioned Postman.

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