If you’re not familiar with René Girard, I would encourage you to consider changing that. But don’t make the mistake that I made over ten years ago: I read a little about his work, found it far-fetched, and didn’t give it a second thought until some other theologians that I happen to admire made such a big deal about him that I couldn’t ignore him any longer. And now I think he’s one of the most important Christian thinkers of the last several centuries. That was my major discovery of 2012–better late than never, I guess.
Anyway, I recently discovered a couple of very interesting resources about Girard (h/t Brian McLaren).
The first is a really interesting idea that I wouldn’t have thought would work if I didn’t see it myself: it’s a website by Paul Nuechterlein called Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary. Nuechterlein, who is apparently Lutheran, really knows his stuff, and provides some very insightful commentary on the readings of the lectionary. He follows the Revised Common Lectionary, which is based on the Catholic Lectionary, but differs from it from time to time, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.
I’ve been thinking about doing a weekly blog offering progressive reflections on the lectionary, and I’m finding it quite challenging. So I was rather impressed to see a similar idea using a much narrower lens (i.e., Girard’s mimetic theory). This is a site I expect to return to often. (There is much else in addition to the lectionary reflections, but I haven’t had a chance yet to read much of it).
The other resource is a five-part CBC Radio series called “The Scapegoat: René Girard’s Anthropology of Violence and Religion,” which originally appeared on the Ideas program in February 2011. I’ve only listened to the first one so far, and it was terrific. (Now I just have to find four hours to listen to the rest of them…)