René Girard’s Mimetic Theory as the Basis for a Fundamental Practical Theology
The "Mimetic Theory" of René Girard is presented as an alternative to existing concepts in Practical Theology. The overall strategy of the argument is to present examples of the power of Mimetic Theory to solve hitherto stubborn problems in social analysis and to generate new perspectives on formerly uncontroversial ideas. In the first chapter, weaknesses in current thinking are identified. Girardian theory is described in the second chapter. In the third chapter, a method for Girardian analysis of problems in Practical Theology is described and applied using two examples: a definition of violence, and an argument against defining abortion as sacrificial. The last three chapters are dedicated to Girardian analyses that demonstrate the power of the method. In Chapter four, a new definition of ritual as "performance of difference" is presented. In Chapter five, it is argued that secularity is a sacrificial structure founded on the violence of debt. In Chapter six, alcoholism is analyzed, concluding that it is a metaphysical illness. The concluding chapter argues for a practical ecclesiology, defining the church as "the Christ-Centered practice of maximizing social solidarity using minimal violence." One consequence of this definition is that the church's social justice ministries should emphasize forgiveness of financial debt for working people.
PHD in Theology
René Gerard, Practical Theology, Church work, Christian life, Presbyterian authors
Missions and World Christianity
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