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Mimetic Theory and Its Shadow: Girard, Milbank, and Ontological Violence (Studies in Violence, Mimesis & Culture) (Paperback)

Mimetic Theory and Its Shadow: Girard, Milbank, and Ontological Violence (Studies in Violence, Mimesis & Culture) By Scott Cowdell Cover Image


Leading Girardian theologian Scott Cowdell seeks to resolve a long-standing challenge to mimetic theory: that it entails a fundamental brutishness—an ontological violence. Girard’s account of scapegoating violence, seen as providing the initial stability for our species to emerge and consolidate, hardly seems compatible with Christian belief in God’s good creation, with violence only appearing after a subsequent Fall. The brilliant but controversial theologian John Milbank has long raised this concern about Girard, grounded in a remarkably sophisticated (though seldom fathomed) philosophical theology. Unpacking Milbank’s program, along with Girard’s recasting of Continental philosophy in light of mimetic theory, Cowdell finds a way between two apparently irreconcilable positions. With irenic spirit but analytic tenacity, he probes for ways through Milbank’s arguments while pressing on growth points in Girard’s. Cowdell’s proposals involve reframing divine creation in light of salvation history, reimagining divine participation by thinking Christ and evolution together, and developing a semiotic approach to mimetic theory that delivers ontological peace hermeneutically. Cowdell shows how Girard’s vision of human transformation through faith in Christ reveals a different world beyond ontological violence while preserving the divine participation that Milbank champions.

About the Author

Scott Cowdell is research professor in theology at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, Australia; canon theologian of the Canberra and Goulburn Anglican Diocese; and the author of ten books. He is on the editorial board of Contagion; co-edits the Bloomsbury Academic series Violence, Desire, and the Sacred; and is founding president of the Australian Girard Seminar.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781611864649
ISBN-10: 161186464X
Publisher: Michigan State University Press
Publication Date: August 1st, 2023
Pages: 208
Language: English
Series: Studies in Violence, Mimesis & Culture

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