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The Prophet of CuernavacaIvan Illich and the Crisis of the West$
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Todd Hartch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190204563

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190204563.001.0001

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Grammar of Silence

Grammar of Silence

Chapter:
(p.145) Chapter nine Grammar of Silence
Source:
The Prophet of Cuernavaca
Author(s):

Todd Hartch

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190204563.003.0010

Despite the apparently secular topics of Ivan Illich’s books, on a deeper level Illich was offering a theological critique of Western modernity. He believed that Western institutions were deadly and counterproductive because they were perversions of Christian values. While Christ had told his disciples to teach and to practice hospitality, later generations of Christians had turned the imperative into an institution. The totalizing institution of schooling replaced the command to teach. He revealed in the 1990s that all of his works were theological critiques of Western modernity, veiled in apophasis (negative theology).

Keywords:   Ivan Illich, theology, Christianity, modernity, institutions, counterproductive, perversion, apophasis

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