The Prophet of Cuernavaca: Ivan Illich and the Crisis of the West

Oxford University Press
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Catholic priest and radical social critic Ivan Illich is best known for books like Deschooling Society and Medical Nemesis that skewered the dominant institutions of the West in the 1970s. Although commissioned in 1961 by American bishops to run a missionary training center in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Illich emerged as one of the major critics of the missionary movement. As he became a more controversial figure, his center evolved into CIDOC (Centro Intercultural de Documentaci?n), an informal university that attracted a diverse group of intellectuals and seekers from around the world. They came to Illich's center to learn Spanish, to attend seminars, and to sit at the feet of Illich, whose relentless criticism of the Catholic Church and modern Western culture resonated with the revolutionary spirit of the times. His 1967 article, "The Seamy Side of Charity," a harsh attack on the American missionary effort in Latin America, and other criticisms of the Church led to a trial at the Vatican in 1968, after which he left the priesthood. Illich's writings struck at the foundations of western society, and envisioned utopian transformations in the realms of education, transportation, medicine, and economics. He was an inspiration to a generation of liberation theologians and other left-wing intellectuals. In The Prophet of Cuernavaca Todd Hartch traces the development of Illich's ideas from his work as a priest through his later secular period, offering one of the first book-length historical treatments of his thought in English.
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About the author

Todd Hartch is Professor of History, Eastern Kentucky University. He is the author of The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Mar 2, 2015
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780190204570
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Religious
History / Latin America / Mexico
Religion / Christian Ministry / Missions
Religion / Christianity / History
Religion / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Todd Hartch
Winner of 2014 Book Award for Excellence in Missiology from the American Society of Missiology Winner of the 2015 Christianity Today Award for Missions/Global Affairs Named by the International Bulletin of Missionary Studies as an Outstanding Book of 2014 for Mission Studies Predominantly Catholic for centuries, Latin America is still largely Catholic today, but the religious continuity in the region masks enormous changes that have taken place in the past five decades. In fact, it would be fair to say that Latin American Christianity has been transformed definitively in the years since the Second Vatican Council. Religious change has not been obvious because its transformation has not been, as in Africa and Asia, the sudden and massive growth of a new religion. It has been rather a simultaneous revitalization and fragmentation that threatened, awakened, and ultimately brought to a greater maturity a dormant and parochial Christianity. The rapid growth of Protestantism, especially Pentecostalism, forced Catholics to adopt a more active and dynamic approach to their religion. Although many Catholics left their church to become Pentecostals, many others responded to the Protestant challenge by joining new Catholic movements. Today, Latin American Christianity is so energized that the region is sending missionaries to Africa, Europe, and the United States. In The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity, Todd Hartch examines the changes that have swept across Latin America in the last fifty years and situates them in the context of the growth of Christianity in the global South.
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Meet Denver, raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana until he escaped the “Man” – in the 1960’s – by hopping a train. Non-trusting, uneducated, and violent, he spent another 18 years on the streets of Dallas and Fort Worth.

Meet Ron Hall, a self-made millionaire in the world of high priced art deals -- concerned with fast cars, beautiful women, and fancy clothes.

And the woman who changed their lives -- Miss Debbie: “The skinniest, nosiest, pushiest, woman I ever met, black or white.” She helped the homeless and gave of herself to all of “God’s People,” and had a way of knowing how to listen and helping others talk and be found – until cancer strikes.

Same Kind of Different as Me is a tale told in two unique voices – Ron Hall & Denver Moore – weaving two completely different life experiences into one common journey where both men learn “whether we is rich or poor or something in between this earth ain’t no final restin’ place. So in a way, we is all homeless-just workin’ our way toward home.”

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Continue this story of friendship in What Difference Do It Make?: Stories of Hope and Healing, available now. Same Kind of Different as Me also is available in Spanish.

Todd Hartch
Winner of 2014 Book Award for Excellence in Missiology from the American Society of Missiology Winner of the 2015 Christianity Today Award for Missions/Global Affairs Named by the International Bulletin of Missionary Studies as an Outstanding Book of 2014 for Mission Studies Predominantly Catholic for centuries, Latin America is still largely Catholic today, but the religious continuity in the region masks enormous changes that have taken place in the past five decades. In fact, it would be fair to say that Latin American Christianity has been transformed definitively in the years since the Second Vatican Council. Religious change has not been obvious because its transformation has not been, as in Africa and Asia, the sudden and massive growth of a new religion. It has been rather a simultaneous revitalization and fragmentation that threatened, awakened, and ultimately brought to a greater maturity a dormant and parochial Christianity. The rapid growth of Protestantism, especially Pentecostalism, forced Catholics to adopt a more active and dynamic approach to their religion. Although many Catholics left their church to become Pentecostals, many others responded to the Protestant challenge by joining new Catholic movements. Today, Latin American Christianity is so energized that the region is sending missionaries to Africa, Europe, and the United States. In The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity, Todd Hartch examines the changes that have swept across Latin America in the last fifty years and situates them in the context of the growth of Christianity in the global South.
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The Mexico Reader is a vivid introduction to muchos Méxicos—the many Mexicos, or the many varied histories and cultures that comprise contemporary Mexico. Unparalleled in scope and written for the traveler, student, and expert alike, the collection offers a comprehensive guide to the history and culture of Mexico—including its difficult, uneven modernization; the ways the country has been profoundly shaped not only by Mexicans but also by those outside its borders; and the extraordinary economic, political, and ideological power of the Roman Catholic Church. The book looks at what underlies the chronic instability, violence, and economic turmoil that have characterized periods of Mexico’s history while it also celebrates the country’s rich cultural heritage.

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Terrence E. Poppa
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Todd Hartch
Catholic priest and radical social critic Ivan Illich is best known for books like Deschooling Society and Medical Nemesis that skewered the dominant institutions of the West in the 1970s. Although commissioned in 1961 by American bishops to run a missionary training center in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Illich emerged as one of the major critics of the missionary movement. As he became a more controversial figure, his center evolved into CIDOC (Centro Intercultural de Documentaci?n), an informal university that attracted a diverse group of intellectuals and seekers from around the world. They came to Illich's center to learn Spanish, to attend seminars, and to sit at the feet of Illich, whose relentless criticism of the Catholic Church and modern Western culture resonated with the revolutionary spirit of the times. His 1967 article, "The Seamy Side of Charity," a harsh attack on the American missionary effort in Latin America, and other criticisms of the Church led to a trial at the Vatican in 1968, after which he left the priesthood. Illich's writings struck at the foundations of western society, and envisioned utopian transformations in the realms of education, transportation, medicine, and economics. He was an inspiration to a generation of liberation theologians and other left-wing intellectuals. In The Prophet of Cuernavaca Todd Hartch traces the development of Illich's ideas from his work as a priest through his later secular period, offering one of the first book-length historical treatments of his thought in English.
Todd Hartch
Winner of 2014 Book Award for Excellence in Missiology from the American Society of Missiology Winner of the 2015 Christianity Today Award for Missions/Global Affairs Named by the International Bulletin of Missionary Studies as an Outstanding Book of 2014 for Mission Studies Predominantly Catholic for centuries, Latin America is still largely Catholic today, but the religious continuity in the region masks enormous changes that have taken place in the past five decades. In fact, it would be fair to say that Latin American Christianity has been transformed definitively in the years since the Second Vatican Council. Religious change has not been obvious because its transformation has not been, as in Africa and Asia, the sudden and massive growth of a new religion. It has been rather a simultaneous revitalization and fragmentation that threatened, awakened, and ultimately brought to a greater maturity a dormant and parochial Christianity. The rapid growth of Protestantism, especially Pentecostalism, forced Catholics to adopt a more active and dynamic approach to their religion. Although many Catholics left their church to become Pentecostals, many others responded to the Protestant challenge by joining new Catholic movements. Today, Latin American Christianity is so energized that the region is sending missionaries to Africa, Europe, and the United States. In The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity, Todd Hartch examines the changes that have swept across Latin America in the last fifty years and situates them in the context of the growth of Christianity in the global South.
Todd Hartch
Winner of 2014 Book Award for Excellence in Missiology from the American Society of Missiology Winner of the 2015 Christianity Today Award for Missions/Global Affairs Named by the International Bulletin of Missionary Studies as an Outstanding Book of 2014 for Mission Studies Predominantly Catholic for centuries, Latin America is still largely Catholic today, but the religious continuity in the region masks enormous changes that have taken place in the past five decades. In fact, it would be fair to say that Latin American Christianity has been transformed definitively in the years since the Second Vatican Council. Religious change has not been obvious because its transformation has not been, as in Africa and Asia, the sudden and massive growth of a new religion. It has been rather a simultaneous revitalization and fragmentation that threatened, awakened, and ultimately brought to a greater maturity a dormant and parochial Christianity. The rapid growth of Protestantism, especially Pentecostalism, forced Catholics to adopt a more active and dynamic approach to their religion. Although many Catholics left their church to become Pentecostals, many others responded to the Protestant challenge by joining new Catholic movements. Today, Latin American Christianity is so energized that the region is sending missionaries to Africa, Europe, and the United States. In The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity, Todd Hartch examines the changes that have swept across Latin America in the last fifty years and situates them in the context of the growth of Christianity in the global South.
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