Girard and Atonement: An Incarnational Theory of Mimetic Participation

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What are the roots of human violence? Many theses seek to explain societal rivalry, injustice, and scapegoating. Perhaps none is more thorough or persuasive than Rene Girard's. Yet do his theories on imitation, rivalry, violence, sacrifice, and religion find support in Scripture?

These scholarly essays engage this question at multiple levels. Especially Girard's theories on sacrifice and imitation are critically examined in these significant contributions to Girardian scholarshipwhich culminate in a response by Girard himself.

Addressed as well in Violence Renounced are kingship and sevanthood, the relation between the Testaments on sacrifice and atonement, and such basic themes as the human primal nature, the shape of new creation in Jewish and Christian reality, and feminist perspectives on Girardian theory. Also seen in new light are standard beliefs and doctrines on atonement, who/what killed Jesus, and how peace is to be rightly achieved.


Originally published as: “Girard and Atonement: An Incarnational Theory of Mimetic Participation.” In Violence Renounced: Rene Girard, Biblical Studies, and Peacemaking (Studies in Peace and Scripture, 4), Willard M. Swartley, ed., Telford, PA: Pandora Press, 2000, pp. 132–56.

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