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Colloquium On Violence & Religion



COV&R-Bulletin No. 6 (March 1994)



A Note from the Editor

In this issue of the Bulletin, you will find abstracts of the papers given at our meeting in Washington. We invite you to contact the authors for a copy of their papers for further discussion. The executive secretary of COV&R or the editorial office of the Bulletin will provide you with addresses. Let me raise also some administrative matters:

(1) We ask you to send us your contributions to the Bulletin on a floppy disk or by e-mail. It greatly simplifies the publication of the Bulletin.

(2) If you would like to write a book review for the Bulletin please contact the editorial office or James G. Williams, the executive secretary. The length of a review should be between 600 and 1000 words. Longer reviews (at most 2000 words) will only be published in special circumstances.

(3) The lenght of an abstract should be between 100 and 300 words.

(4) Some of our phone numbers in Innsbruck will be changed by the end of March. I have put the new phone numbers in square brackets.

(5) Membership renewals for 1994 are due. The regular membership fee is $30.00. Matriculated students may enroll for $15. It is also possible to subscribe to the Bulletin without membership for $15. The Bulletin appears biannually. Please send dues to our address in Sonoma, Ca. or to our European address. Europeans should make out a eurocheque in Austrian Schillings (ATS 350.00 or 175.00), not in Dollars!

Wolfgang Palaver

A Note from the Executive Secretary

Thanks, first of all, to all those who presented papers and participated in other ways in the COV&R meeting held in conjunction with AAR/SBL in Washington, D.C. The discussions at the three sessions were among the best that we've had and the feeling of community was genuine. We had, moreover, the best attendance ever for an AAR/SBL meeting of COV&R, forty or more for the panel discussion of Curing Violence, eds. Thee Smith and Mark Wallace. We had our first reception in connection with one of these religion/biblical guild conventions, with a nice turn-out. There was also an important meeting of the Advisory Board. Our main action was to name the new periodical Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture. As previously announced, Judy Arias is the editor.

Secondly, I would like to reiterate an announcement I made at the Washington meeting: The Syracuse University Press will publish a book series entitled "Violence and the Sacred," of which I will be the editor. The series will feature studies applying and criticizing René Girard's mimetic theory of religion and culture. Other books will focus on methodological issues that are important for understanding desire, violence, and sacrifice. Anticipated subject areas include the Bible and biblical heritage, anthropological studies of violence and sacrifice, interdividual psychology, feminist criticism employing the mimetic theory, and literary studies of the premodern roots of modern and postmodern culture.

In the next several years I hope to hear from many of you about books for the series. By the way, I don't want this to be a series featuring doctoral dissertations, but by the same token I don't want to reject dissertations in principle. I know we have some good ones being produced.

Finally, a word of thanks to those taking the lead in planning and organizing our next two annual conferences: Raymund Schwager and Wolfgang Palaver for the Wiesbaden symposium this June and Andrew McKenna for the meeting at Loyola University of Chicago in 1995. With the Advisory Board, I would appreciate input on possible sites for the 1996 meeting. My own notion is that it would be good to return to the west coast of the U.S. in 1996 (Stanford? Other possibilities?), then come back to the east in 1997 (Syracuse? Other possibilities?), and hold the 1998 conference outside of North America once more. But such matters depend partly on receiving appropriate invitations (i.e., laden with promises of facilities and financial support) from individuals and their institutions.

James G. Williams


Bibliography of Literature on the Mimetic Theory

1) Books concerning the entire work of René Girard

Dupuy, Jean-Pierre. Ordres et désordres. Enquête sur un nouveau paradigme. Paris: Ed. du Seuil, 1982.

Fages, Jean Baptiste. Comprendre René Girard. Paris: Collection Pensée, 1982.

2) Articles concerning the entire work of René Girard

Bann, Stephen. "From Ascesis to Conversion: René Girard and the Idea of Vocation in Modernist Writing." In Tensions and Transitions, ed. Irwin, Kinkead-Weekes, and Lee, 216-235. London: Faber & Faber, 1990.

Barahona, Angel J. "La Violencia y lo sagrado: Una introduction alpensiento de René Girard." A Contecimiento 21 (October 1991): 53-60.

Johnsen, William A. "René Girard and the Boundaries of Modern Literature." Boundary 2: A Journal of Postmodern Literature and Culture 9/2 (Winter 1981): 277-290.

Kaube, Jürgen. "Das große Welttheater des Neides. Eine Diagnose der nachahmenden Gewalt: Zum siebzigsten Geburtstag von René Girard." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 23 December 1993.

Kerr, Fergus. "Rescuing Girard's Argument?." Modern Theology 8 (1992): 385-399.

Krawczyk, Bogdan. "Demony Girarda." Edukacja i Dialog 21 (1991): 38.

Marx, Alfred. "Familiarité et transcendance. La fonction du sacrifice d'après l'Ancien Testament." In Studien zu Opfer und Kult im Alten Testament mit einer Bibliographie 1969-1991 zum Opfer in der Bibel, ed. Schenker, Adrian, 1-14. Forschungen zum Alten Testament 3. Tübingen: Mohr, 1992.

Minore, Renato. "Le nostre regole, il nostro disordine: R. Girard parla de Shakespeare." Il Messaggero, 8 July 1990.

Pattery, George. "Mimetic Desire and Sacred Violence: Understanding René Girard from the Indian Context." Vidyajyoti. Journal of Theological Reflection 58/1 (January 1994): 15-32.

Scubla, Lucien. "Théorie du sacrifice et théorie du désir chez René Girard." In Travaux d'épistémologie générale, ed. Centre de recherche épistémologie et autonomie, 291-333. Cahiers du CREA 5. Paris: C.R.E.A., 1985.

Simón, Pablo. "Una aportacion esencial: Lo que dice René Girard." La Noviolencia 21 (October 1991): 21.

Simón, Pablo. "La teoría general de Girard." La Noviolencia 21 (October 1991): 22-29.

Simón, Pablo. "La innovación judeo-cristiana." La Noviolencia 21 (October 1991): 30-35.

Simón, Pablo. "Recapitulación. Algunas anotaciones críticas." La Noviolencia 21 (October 1991): 38-42.

Sumares, Manuel. "Uma Ciencia Para Os Mitos e O Transcendente: A Hipotese de René Girard." Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 48 (1992): 581-598.

Webb, Eugene. "The New Social Psychology of France: The Girardian School." Religion 23/3 (July 1993): 255-263.

Williams, James G. "Sacrifice, Mimesis, and the Genesis of Violence: A Response to Bruce Chilton." Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 (1993): 31-47.

3) Interviews with René Girard

Bouthors, Jean-François. "René Girard: en Europe centrale, un président fort est indispensable." La Croix (December 1990).

Ermini, Gabriella. "Se la vita è desiderio." La Nazione, 10 July 1990.

Frullini, Andrea. "Sulle trace del desiderio." La Republica-Cultura (July 1990).

Girard, Isabelle. "René Girard: C'est un rempart contre la destruction sociale." L'Événement du jeudi (13-19 February 1992): 71-73.

Jaffray, Patricia. "L'invité de Vendredi: René Girard." Vendredi 86 (18 January 1991): 23.

Jauffret, Eric. "Entretien avec René Girard." Notre Histoire 61 (November 1989): 40-44.

Jensen, Hans J.L and Jørgensen, Jørgen. "Offeret og den sakrale vold (Sacrifice and Sacred Violence)." Kristeligt Dagblad, 30 April 1990, 5.

Petit, Philippe. "René Girard annexe Shakespeare." L'Evénement du Jeudi 320 (20-26 December 1990): 94-95.

4) Reviews about single works of René Girard

Baecker, Dirk. "Krise der Nachahmung: René Girards Rekonstruktion der sozialen Urszene." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 27 April 1988, 35 f.

Bartyzel, Jacek. "Skandal Ewangelii." Moda Polska (Young Poland, 1991): 8-9.

Bonnet, Jacques. "Comme il lui plaira. Shakespeare, de gré ou de force, à l'appui des thèses de Girard." L'Express, 10 October 1990, 164.

Bourde, Eric. "Le désir emporte Girard." Libération, 22 November 1990, 32.

Cox, J.D. Review of A Theater of Envy: William Shakespeare, by René Girard. Religion & Literature 24/3 (1992): 85-90.

Grodent, Michel. Review of Shakespeare: Les feux de l'envie, by René Girard." Le Soir, 17 October 1990.

Guillebaud, Jean-Claude. "Le nouveau livre de René Girard: la pensée Shakespeare." Le Nouvel Observateur (18-24 October 1990): 169-171.

Mack, Burton. Review of Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World, by René Girard. Religious Studies Review 17/1 (January 1991): 46-47.

Marcabru, Pierre. "Des metteurs en scène piégés par les modes." Le Figaro, 22 November 1990, 31.

Marienstras, Richard. "René Girard lit Shakespeare." Le Monde (Section "Livres/Idées"), 23 November 1990, 31.

Matignon, Renaud. "Shakespeare pauvrement Girardisé." Le Figaro-Magazine, 20 October 1990.

Ott, Lise. "La sociéte sous le feux de l'envie: René Girard à l'université Paul-Valéry." Le Midi Libre, 22 November 1990.

Revel, Jean-François. "René Girard: ce que cache Shakespeare." Le Point 944 (22 October 1990): 22f.

Saint-Amand, Pierre. "Shakespeare Mimétique." Critique 527 (April 1991): 227-230.

Spolsky, E. Review of A Theater of Envy: William Shakespeare, by René Girard. Shakespeare Quarterly 44/1 (1993): 102-106.

Suffert, Georges. "Les nouveaux masques de Shakespeare." Le Figaro (Section "Vie Culturelle"), 22 November 1990, 31.

5) Books with references to René Girard

Balmary, Marie. Le sacrifice interdit: Freud et la Bible. Paris: Grasset, 1986.

Blanc, Yannick. Enquête sur la mort de Gilgamesh. Paris: Editions du Félin, Collection "Essais", 1991.

Casillo, Robert. The Genealogy of Demons: Anti-Semitism, Fascism and the Myths of Ezra Pound. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988.

Debetencourt, Jean. Un témoin dans les cieux. Aixen-Provence: Le Bosquet, 1990.

Eder, Peter. Warum mußte Jesus sterben? Ärgernis und Sinn des Kreuzestodes Jesu. Hamburg: Kovac, 1993.

Fourny, Jean-François. Introduction à la lecture de Georges Bataille. New York: Peter Lang, 1988.

Godefroid, Philippe. Le jeu de l'écorché. Dramaturgie wagnérienne. Paris: Papiers, 1986.

Heimonet, Jean-Michel. De la révolte à l'exercice: essai sur l'hédonisme contemporain. Paris: Éd. du Félin, 1991.

Marinov, Vladimir. Figures du crime chez Dostoïevski. Paris: PUF, 1990.

Maugin, Marcelle, Robert, André and Tricoire, Bruno. Le travail social à l'épreuve des violences modernes. Collection Logiques sociales. Paris: Éd. l'Harmattan, 1993.

McCracken, David. The Scandal of the Gospels. Jesus, Story, and Offense. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Revault d'Allonnes, Myriam. D'Une mort à l'autre: Précipices de la Révolution. Paris: Seuil, 1989.

Schenker, Adrian. Chemins bibliques de la non-violence. Chambray: C.L.D., 1987.

Sorman, Guy. Le vrais penseurs de notre temps. Paris: Fayard, 1989.

Vernant, Jean-Pierre and Vidal-Naquet, Pierre. Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece. New York: Zone Books, 1988.

6) Articles with references to René Girard

Anspach, Mark R. "Le temps de la vengeance." In Structures et temporalités figures du desir, de la dette et du sacrifice, ed. Centre de recherche en épistémologie appliquée, 145-177. Cahiers du CREA 12. Paris: C.R.E.A., 1988.

Colpe, Carsten. "Sacred and the Profane, the." In The Encyclopedia of Religion XII, ed. Eliade, Mircea, 511-526. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987.

Dupuy, Jean-Pierre. "Quasi-objet et échange symbolique: De l'Alidor de Corneille au Don Juan de Molière." In Structures et temporalités figures de desir, de la dette et du sacrifice, ed. Centre de recherche en émistémologie appliquée, 11-56. Cahiers du CREA 12. Paris: C.R.E.A., 1988.

Faessler, Marc. "Le C.P.E., lieu de joie théologique." Bulletin du Centre Protestant d'Études 41/7-8 (December 1989): 39.

Golsan, R.J. "Find a Victim: Motherland and the Deman Affair." French Review 66/3 (1993): 393-400.

Grivois, Henri. "Psychose naissante. La reconstruction du lien." In Structures et temporalités figures du desir, de la dette et du sacrifice, ed. Centre de recherche en épistémologie appliquée, 291-306. Cahiers du CREA 12. Paris: C.R.E.A., 1988.

Harrison, Jim. "Eris and Civilization." Indoor Ornithology: Fragments from the Unauthorized Autobiography 2/6 (January 1990): 1-7.

Henninger, Joseph. "Sacrifice." In The Encyclopedia of Religion XII, ed. Eliade, Mircea, 544-557. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987.

Henninger, Joseph. "Scapegoat." In The Encyclopedia of Religion XIII, ed. Eliade, Mircea, 92-95. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987.

Janowski, Bernd. "Er trug unsere Sünden. Jesaja 53 und die Dramatik der Stellvertretung." Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 90/1 (1993): 1-24.

Jennings, Theodore W. "Liturgy." In The Encycloypedia of Religion VIII, ed. Eliade, Mircea, 580-583. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987.

Klinger, Elmar. "Revenge and Retribution." In The Encyclopedia of Religion XII, ed. Eliade, Mircea, 362-368. New York: Macmillan Puplishing Company, 1987.

Milbank, J. "'I Will Gasp and Pant': Deutero-Isaiah and the Birth of the Suffering Subject: A Response to Social Class and Ideology in Isaiah 40-55, by Norman K. Gottwald." Semeia 59 (1992): 59-71.

Pyper, Hugh. "The Reader in Pain: Job as Text and Pretext." Literature & Theology 7/2 (June 1993): 111-129.

Reichler, Claude. "Les Promesses du paysage: Le Voyage en Suisse." Études de Lettres 1 (Januar-March 1992): 103-114.

Santoni, Pierre. "Archives et Violence: A propos de la loi du 7 messidor an II." La Gazette des Archives 146-47 (15 March 1990): 199-214.

Schwager, Raymund. "Glaube und Friedensauftrag." In Ignatianisch: Eigenart und Methode der Gesellschaft Jesu, ed. Sievernich, Michael and Switek, Günther, 670-682. Freiburg i. Br.: Herder, 1990.

Schwager, Raymund. Review of The Bible, Violence and the Sacred, by J.G. Williams, and Review of Sacred Violence, by R.G. Hamerton-Kelly. Zeitschrift für Katholische Theologie 115/3 (1993): 339-341.

Schwager, Raymund. "Aktuelle methodische Probleme der Theologie und das Verhältnis zu anderen Wissenschaften." In Vernetztes Denken - Gemeinsames Handeln. Interdisziplinarität in Theorie und Praxis, ed. Reinalter, Helmut, 305-317. Interdisziplinäre Forschungen 1. Thaur: Kulturverlag, 1993.

Sumares, Clara. "A Autopoiesis e a Fundamentacao das Ciencias Humanas." Revista de Educacao 3/5 (1993).

Sumares, Manuel. "Un Certain Commencement." Le decision philosophique No.3 (Decembre 1987).

Theobaldy, Jürgen. "Die Menschlichkeit der Gewalt." Zeitschrift für Semitistik 41 (1992): 381-391.

Webb, E. "The New Social Psychology of France: The Heritage of Jacques Lacan." Religion 23/1 (1993): 61-69.

7) Books applying the mimetic theory

Girard, René. God en Geweld: Over de oorsprong van mens en cultuur (La violence et le sacré, Dutch). Tielt/Belgium: Mimesis/Lannoo, 1993.

Girard, René. Collective Violence and Sacrifice in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: Introd. by Smyth, John V. Bennington Chapbooks in Literature. Bennington: Bennington College, 1990.

Girard, René. Dawna droga, którz kroczyli ludzie niegodziw, Przelozyla Miroslawa Goszezynska (La Route antique des hommes pervers, Polish). Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Spacja, 1992.

Kaptein, Roel. Freedom in Relationships. Distinguished Scholars' Lecture, Faculty of Medicine. Belfast: The Queen's University of Belfast, 1993.

Kaptein, Roel. On the Way of Freedom. With the cooperation of Duncan Morrow. Introduction by René Girard. Dublin: The Columba Press, 1993.

Lascaris, André. Het Soevereine Slachtoffer: Een theologisch essay over geweld en onderdrukking. Ten Have/The Netherlands: Baarn, 1993.

Lascaris, André. To Do the Unexpected: Reading Scripture in Northern Ireland. Belfast: The Corrymeela Press, 1993.

Pennac, Daniel. La fée carabine. Paris: Grasset, 1987.

Populier, Jan. God heeft echt bestaan: Met René Girard naar een nieuw mensen wereldbeeld. Tielt/Belgium: Mimesis, 1993.

Van der Meer, Bob. De Zondebok in de klas. Nijmegen: Berkhout, 1989.

8) Articles applying the mimetic theory

Callens, Johan. "From Miracle Body to Christ Figure: A Reading of Jack Richardson's Talmus in the Light of Eliade and Girard." In Belgian Essays on Language and Literature, ed. Michel, Pierre Lee, Gibbs, Eric, Norris, James, and Bell, Andrew, 7-26. Liege: Université de Liege, 1992.

Coetzee, J.M. "Erasmus' Praise of Folly: Rivalry and Madness." Neophilologus 76/1 (January 1992): 1-18.

Erdinast-Vulcan, Daphna. "Narrateur, Voyeur, Voyageur: Anti-Romance in Freya of the Seven Isles." L'Epoque Conradienne 17 (1991): 23-33.

Girard, René. "La mythologie et sa déconstruction dans L'Anneau du Niebelung." In Structures et temporalités figures du desir, de la dette et du sacrifice, ed. Centre de recherche en épistémologie appliquée, 57-201. Cahiers du CREA 12. Paris: C.R.E.A., 1988.

Girard, René. "The Crime and Conversion of Leontes in The Winter's Tale." Religion & Literature 22/2-3 (1990): 193-219.

Girard, René. "La violenza fondatrice." In La narrazione delle origini, 92-108. Rome: Giuseppe Laterza et Figli, 1991.

Girard, René. "Raison et folie dans l'oeuvre de Shakespeare." In Autonomie et automatisme dans la psychose, ed. Grivois, Henri, 141-153. Paris: Masson/Coll. Histoire et Psychiatrie de l'Hôtel-Dieu, 1992.

Girard, René. "Religion et Démocratie." Le Nouvel Observateur (March 1990).

Girard, René. "Croyez-vous vous-même à votre propre théorie?." La Règle du Jeu No.1 (May 1990): 254-277.

Girard, René. "Love and Hate in Yvain." Recherches et Rencontres No.1 (1990): 249-262.

Girard, René. "Il racconto delle origine." In Origine et fine: SFERA 24, 16-18. Rome: Editrice Sigma-Tau, 1991.

Girard, René. "Envy of So Rich a Thing: The Rape of Lucrece." In The Scope of Words: In Honor of Albert S. Cook, ed. Baker, Peter, Webster Goodwin, Sarah, and Handwerk, Gary, 135-144. New York: Peter Lang, 1991.

Girard, René. "L'apothéose des victimes." Le Nouvel Observateur 1420 (January 23-29 1992): 54-55.

Girard, René. "How Can Satan Cast out Satan?." In Biblische Theologie und gesellschaftlicher Wandel. Für Norbert Lohfink SJ, ed. Braulik, G., Groß, W., and McEvenue, S., 125-141. Freiburg: Herder, 1993.

Jensen, Hans J.L. "Kongens fald." In Studier i Jesajabogen, 30-67. Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 1989.

Johnsen, William A. "The Moment of The American in l'Écriture Judéo-Chrétienne." In The Henry James Review 10/3 (Spring 1984): 216-220.

Jørgensen, Jørgen. "Den hellige vold." Kristeligt Dagblad, 28 April 1990.

Schwager, Raymund. "Der Richter wird gerichtet: zur Versöhnungslehre von Karl Barth." Zeitschrift für Katholische Theologie 107/1-2 (1985): 101-141.

Schwager, Raymund. "Die heutige Theologie und das leere Grab Jesu." Zeitschrift für Katholische Theologie 115/4 (1993): 435-450.

Schwager, Raymund. "Neues und Altes zur Lehre von der Erbsünde." Zeitschrift für Katholische Theologie 116/1 (1994): 1-29.

Siebers, T. "The Werther Effect: The Aesthetics of Suicide." Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 26/1 (1993): 15-34.

Compiler: Dietmar Regensburger


Constitution and By-Laws of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion

Articles of Constitution

I: Name

This organization shall be called the Colloquium on Violence and Religion at Stanford. The acronym of the Colloquium shall be COV&R.

II: Object

To explore, criticize, and develop the mimetic model of the relationship between violence and religion in the genesis and maintenance of culture. The Colloquium will be concerned with questions of both research and application. Scholars from various fields and diverse theoretical orientations will be encouraged to participate both in the conferences and the publications sponsored by the Colloquium, but the focus of activity will be the relevance of the mimetic model for the study of religion.

III: Officers

1. The officers of the Colloquium shall be a President, an Executive Secretary, Editor of the newsletter, and a Treasurer.

2. The President shall be elected for a two-year term and may succeed himself or herself only once during any period of continuous tenure. The Executive Secretary shall be elected for one three-year term and may succeed himself or herself only once in any period of continuous tenure. The Editor of the newsletter shall be elected for one three-year term and may succeed himself or herself only once during any period of continuous tenure. The Treasurer shall be elected for one three-year term and may succeed himself or herself only once during any period of continuous tenure.

3. The Colloquium may add to the number of officers as situations require and change the terms of offices as reflection on experience leads the officers and members to deem appropriate. See Article VIII: Amendment.

IV: Advisory Board

1. The members of the Advisory Board shall be the President, the Executive Secretary, any Editors of Colloquium publications, a Treasurer, and eleven other members.

2. The additional eleven members shall be elected for a term of three years. These members may succeed themselves only once in any period of continuous tenure.

3. A limited number of other lifetime honorary members may be elected.

V: Standing Committees

Standing committees may be formed and distinguished from the Advisory Board as deemed necessary by the Board.

VI: Membership

1. Any person approved by the Advisory Board shall become an active member of the Colloquium, with full voting privileges. Students at recognized institutions of learning may apply for membership at a reduced rate.

2. Membership dues shall be fixed by the Colloquium, upon recommendation of the Advisory Board.

VII: Meeting

The Colloquium shall meet at least once a year for the communication of research and the transaction of business, at such time and place as the Advisory Board may determine.

VIII: Amendment

This Constitution may be amended by a majority vote of the members of the Colloquium present and voting at its annual meeting, on recommendation of the Advisory Board.

IX: By-Laws

The Colloquium shall establish such By-Laws as will, in its judgment, promote its effective operation. A change in the By-Laws may be made at any annual meeting, upon recommendation of the Advisory Board, by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting.


I. President

The President shall be the presiding officer of the Colloquium. It shall be his duty to make an annual report to the Colloquium and to propose to the Advisory Board any other committees for the administrative of the work of the Colloquium.

II. Executive Secretary

The Executive Secretary shall be the principal executive officer of the Colloquium. It shall be his duty to conduct the activities of the Colloquium in consultation with the President and Advisory Board; to conduct the correspondence of the Colloquium; to notify the members of each annual meeting and other meetings; to transmit to them the program of the meetings at least two weeks in advance; to preserve an accurate roll of the members; to present nominations for membership in the Colloquium to the Advisory Board; to make an annual report on the condition of the Colloquium; and to perform such other duties as the Board may direct.

III. Advisory Board

1. It shall be the duty of the Advisory Board to approve active members; to receive nominations for lifetime honorary members; to recommend to the Colloquium the Editors; to establish editorial policy for publications of the Colloquium; to fix the times and places for meeting; and generally to supervise the activities of the Colloquium. All policy touching the conduct of the activities of the Colloquium shall be subject to the review and approval of the Advisory Board.

2. The Advisory Board shall meet in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Colloquium, and at other times as the President and Executive Secretary deem necessary.

IV. Editors

The Editors shall receive manuscripts and consult concerning their publication with members of the Board as the Editors consider appropriate or necessary. The Editors shall edit and prepare for printing all manuscripts selected for publication. If it seems useful or necessary, editorial boards may eventually be established upon recommendation of the Editors and with the approval of the Advisory Board.

V. Treasurer

It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive membership dues and other monies paid into the Colloquium, to work with the Executive Secretary in preserving an accurate membership roll, and to report on the Colloquium's financial state at the annual meeting.

VI. Membership Dues

1. Each active member shall pay annual dues of $30.00. It is understood that the dues may be raised by recommendation of the Advisory Board and approval of the Colloquium. There shall be special rates for those from soft currency areas.

2. A rate of $15.00 for students at recognized institutions of learning shall be in effect.

3. The annual dues for member institutions shall be $ 100.00.

4. No payment shall be required of honorary lifetime members.

5. Members one year in arrears shall be dropped from the roster of the Colloquium.

VII. Publications

1. A copy of each issue of the newsletter shall be sent to each member of the Colloquium.

2. A copy of each issue of a periodical or any other publication shall be sent to each member of the Colloquium if these other publications are covered by the membership dues, as recommended by the Advisory Board and approved by members of the Colloquium.

As amended and approved April 24, 1993

Abstracts of the COV&R Conference in Washington November 19-20, 1993

Darrell J. Fasching (Tampa, Florida/USA), The Ethical Challenge of Auschwitz and Hiroshima: Apocalypse or Utopia?

When the first atomic bomb exploded at the New Mexico test sight called "Trinity" on July 16th 1945, one reporter thought of the words from Genesis, "Let there be light." But J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who orchestrated the Manhattan Project, recalled the words of Vishnu in the Bhagavad Gita: "Behold I am become death, the shatterer of worlds." Auschwitz and Hiroshima are the formative religious events of the 20th Century. Like the formative religious events of past history they fill us with fascination and dread. But unlike the experiences of the holy which have shaped previous epochs - such as the Exodus, the Resurrection of Jesus and the Enlightenment of the Buddha - Auschwitz and Hiroshima are demonic inversions of the holy. After Auschwitz and Hiroshima, a cloud and a pillar of fire no longer bring to mind the saving power revealed in the Exodus but the smokestacks of Auschwitz and the mushroom clouds of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Auschwitz and Hiroshima reveal the demonic and apocalyptic outcome of the sacralization of technology. Technology has replaced nature as that total environment of powers which we have come to believe govern our destiny and so elicit from us a sacral awe. Wherever the sacred manifests itself it creates a dualism that divides the world into sacred and profane populations. It creates the need to purify the world of all who are profane in order to protect the sacred space of its "Lebensraum". When the society that is sacralized is a technological one its inner logic drives it toward an apocalyptic cleansing of the world using the most efficient forms of technology and impersonal bureaucratic techniques. The very structure of bureaucracy sacralizes violence. For bureaucracy separates ends and means so that the ends are chosen by "higher authorities" and carried out through the means employed by experts lower down in the hierarchy. Such experts are expected to engage in a "religious" surrender of will in unquestioning obedience to higher authority. This surrender relieves technical bureaucratic experts of the feeling that they are personally responsible for their actions.

After Auschwitz and Hiroshima there must be no unquestioning obedience to any sacred authority, not even God, for as Irving Greenberg suggests, such obedience leads to SS type loyalties. Unfortunately unquestioning faith and obedience to higher authority, requiring a total death of self or total surrender of will, is characteristic of virtually all religious traditions throughout the world. In my work I have shown how Luther's ethic, the ethic of the Bhagavad Gita and the Buddhist Samurai ethic of Japan have all used the ethic of unquestioning obedience to sacralize violence toward the stranger. The most dramatic alternative to such spiritualities is exemplified in the Jewish narrative tradition of Chutzpah, where the experience of the holy calls into question every sacral world view and dares to question all authority, even God, in the name of justice and human dignity, especially on behalf of the stranger (e.g., Abraham arguing with God over Sodom and Gomorrah). For unlike that sacral world which treats the stranger as profane, the narrative tradition of the holy welcomes the strangers as the very embodiment of God or transcendence. An ethic of the holy demythologizes all sacral dualism and short-circuits confrontations by creating bonds of hospitality between strangers.

Martha J. Reineke (University of Northern Iowa), Commentary on essays by Shea, Kirk-Duggan, Schweiker, Hamerton-Kelly, and Bater in Curing Violence.

Responding to Kirk-Duggan and Shea, I suggest that we cannot attribute their differences with Girard nor their failure to read Girard as appreciatively as have Schweiker and Hamerton-Kelly to distinctions in "male" and "female" theorizing. Rather, I distinguish a topological analysis of violence common to Girard, Schweiker, and Hamerton-Kelly from Shea's and Kirk-Duggan's utopian hermeneutics. Employing Robert Gall's typology, I suggest that topological analysis emphasizes tragedy. Concealment, loss, and withdrawal of being accompany any revelation and themes of errancy, forgetfulness, and oblivion are common. Human life turns on misrecognition: a strangeness of humans to themselves and an inescapable difference. By contrast, utopian hermeneutics is fluid and celebratory, inclusive and integrative. Invoking humor and other strategies of displacement, it exposes the arbitrariness of a law it critiques, aims at a different reality, and promises transforming openness. I assert that Girard's failure to thematize gender in the course of pursing topological analysis is a shortcoming in his thought. But when Shea and Kirk-Duggan conflate that argument with one that indicts him for employing topological analysis rather than utopian hermeneutics, they fall short of a fully nuanced exploration of Girard's work. Drawing on the essays by Schweiker, Hamerton-Kelly, and Bater, I outline the merits of topological analysis to the subject of violence and suggest that, if a topological reading of Girard which thematizes gender is undertaken, feminists may achieve a greater appreciation for his work and for other topological analyses of violence.

Charles Mabee (Ecumenical Theological Center/Oakland University, Detroit), Paul and the Suffering Servant Tradition

My basic proposal is that the servant songs of II Isaiah represent both the fundamental theological orientation of the Bible, and the most fruitful entry point for a mimetic analysis. These servant songs show that to be a servant of Yahweh implies suffering. This suffering comes as a result of empathy with the other, for the other is always in the throes of myth-making. This process of myth-making is the key to understanding human violence and oppression. It is the cause of the suffering of Yahweh himself with whom the suffering servant identifies. From a theological perspective, we may say that the true Yahwistic prophet is the authentic intermediary between God and humanity, rather than the king.

I have begun the process of interpreting Paul in terms of the servant of II Isaiah. What I mean to propose is that Paul consciously had the servant songs before him and utilized them as the key to the self-definition of his ministry. In this process, Paul was not acting without tremendous historical precedent. In fact, I believe that this process of identification with servanthood within the Yahwistic tradition eventually became its central means of legitimation. It is, in fact, the central hallmark of this religious tradition and the fundamental means by which it launched its dynamic of demythification of gods, heroes, and scapegoats. Finally, all or essentially all of the great figures of the Bible eventually come down to us tempered by the view of servanthood most explicitly set forth in II Isaiah.

James G. Williams (Syracuse University), Notes on Second Isaiah and the Mimetic Theory

The interest of those practicing a mimetic hermeneutics naturally focuses on the Servant in Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Given the importance of this figure, it becomes an even greater challenge to relate a reading of the rest of the II Isaiah to a mimetic understanding of the Servant. I have three sets of observations, each ending with a question. (1) Numerous passages in Isaiah 40-55 indicate the God beyond differences, beyond all fashioning and fashion, beyond human desire. The true God is hidden (Isa 45:15). How is this transcendent hidden God related to the Servant? (2) There is an "exodus" theme in II Isaiah which is obviously related to the exodus narratives, but which is much deeper and more comprehensive. The "going out" of Israel, which means being "led out," is a prime textual example of "the exception in the process of emerging." How is this going/being-led out related to the Servant? (3) Israel has not been required to offer sacrifices (43:23). Can one establish the inauthenticity of sacrificial offerings according to II Isaiah, and if so how is the statement, lo heevadtika, "I have not made you serve [me] with offerings" of 43:23 related to the eved, servant, of 52:13- 53:12?


Simon Simonse, Kings of Disaster: Dualism, Centralism, and the Scapegoat King in Southeastern Sudan. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1992. Pp. xv + 477 + 2 maps appended; paperbound, no price available.

Simon Simonse is the first field archeologist of whom I know to draw upon Girard's mimetic theory, especially for the light it sheds on consensual scapegoating. Simonse shows that one explanatory model can accommodate both political and sacral aspects of kingship, for the two are actually inseparable in the cases studied. He likewise demonstrates that the conventional distinction between state and stateless societies does not hold up, and that the only difference between centralized and segmentary political systems lies in the relative emphasis placed on the role of the king as contrasted to that of enemy victims. His conclusions are reached on the basis of a five year study of five communities on the east bank of the Nile River.

Of particular interest for me was Simonse's graphic description of simulated and actual regicide. He identifies the simulation of regicide as a ritual drama (pp. 354-59). Ordinarily some sort of tree that is cut and burnt or leaves that are pounded serve as a substitute for the monarch (cf. Exodus 15:24). In the ensuing discussion he documents 24 cases of actual regicide occurring between 1850 and 1984 (pp. 359-73). He holds that the actual instances of killing the monarch are neither ritual nor political assassination. Regicide is, rather, a deliberate act, "the tragic dénouement of a protracted confrontation [of the community] with its king" (p. 372). This observation is related to one of Simonse's criticisms of Girard, namely that the scapegoating mechanism does not always work to suppress or mystify violence.

Concerning Simonse's denial that regicide is a ritual act, the full scope of his analysis certainly indicates that it is closely related to ritual in that it is an organized activity generated by the deep structure of the cultural tradition. The main object of the scapegoat mechanism is the person of the monarch; if the rains do not come, it is he or she who must bear the blame. The instance Simonse reports in detail, the lynching of the queen of the Pari, has many features of ritual procedure. She was surrounded by the male warriors of the ruling generation, beaten and passed through a fire, and, most significantly, her abdomen was cut open and a melon crushed and mixed with her stomach contents and blood. The mixture was placed back in her stomach, her mouth was pierced with thorns, and her body was left in the bush. Before reentering their village the lynchers "slaughtered a goat and took out its stomach contents. These were smeared onto their bodies together with a mixture of ant-hill soil, water, and wild cucumber" (p. 370).

Simonse's research leads him to three critical modifications of Girard's theory: (1) There is more of a reciprocal tension between king and subjects than described by Girard; the king is a victimizer and political entrepreneur as well as a victim in specific circumstances (above all, lack of rain). (2) If the death of the king is violent, it is feared that the hoped for transformation, the releasing of the rains, may not occur. (3) Closely related to the second criticism, the scapegoating as such is not ignored or mystified, for the violence of regicide does not allow the community to "reap the fruits of kingship in good conscience" (p. 423).

I think a multitude of areas of research are now opening up in which the mimetic theory may be modified, expanded, refined. The work of a social scientist like Simonse who combines so ably a grasp of the mimetic theory and extensive empirical research should command our respect. I would note briefly that all three of Simonse's critical rejoinders to Girard do not seem, to me at least, like real challenges to the model. The first point about the actual power of the monarch, even in his/her victim status, is covered in principle in Girard's Things Hidden, pp. 51- 57. As for points two and three, which I think finally amount to one criticism, it is quite common for traditional, nonwriting peoples to be concerned about violence and to rid themselves of its pollution once they have been contaminated. For Simonse to make his case he must deal more definitely with the following questions. Is it the case that these Nilotic peoples believe it is bad to kill the monarch because it is wrong to murder someone--or do they believe it is too bad because violence is involved? And do they know they are converging upon a victim whose status is central to the logic of the system, which itself began arbitrarily through violence--or do they think that there is something sacrally grounded and ultimately meaningful in this act? And finally, are they aware of transferring their own mimetic conflicts onto the leader/rainmaker--or do they understand the looming drought and all their other troubles as stemming from the one they kill? Simonse's point would hold if he could say yes to the first alternative in each question.

James G. Williams

Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination. Minneapolis: Fortress paperbound, 1992. Pp. xvi + 424; no price available.

Walter Wink is noteworthy as a New Testament scholar who has sought to develop a hermeneutics combining theory and praxis. With this book he brings his trilogy on the Powers to a conclusion. It is divided into four parts: The Domination System, God's New Charter of Reality, Engaging the Powers Nonviolently, and the Powers and the Life of the Spirit. Like its predecessors, this volume will be of value both to the scholar and the biblically literate layperson who are looking for an approach that brings together constructive and practical theology.

This study will be of particular interest to COV&R members and friends because Wink here becomes engaged with Girard's mimetic theory for the first time in his published writings. He lauds Girard's thesis for his understanding of mimetic rivalry and conflict and the function of the scapegoat, but he is doubtful about some aspects of the theory: (1) myths as lies masking generative violence; (2) the scapegoat phenomenon as a dominant category; (3) the nonsacrificial death of Jesus according to the NT; (4) Christian triumphalism; (5) the confident claims about human origins for which there is so little evidence, particularly pertaining to human sacrifice.

I cannot discuss these criticisms in detail; they are all related to some extent to the point of view Wink sets out in Part 1 of the book, on the "domination system." One of his main sources is Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1987), and he draws also on other sources which, like hers, support the hypothesis of numerous Neolithic cultures that were matrilineal and not predicated upon domination systems. Eisler goes so far as to describe the Neolithic culture known from Catal Huyuk, as representing a "partnership model." Wink himself, however, poses the question as to whether a scapegoat mechanism may have produced the peace ascribed to this social order. So he perceives at least a little crack in the sort of research to which he appeals in order to criticize Girard.

I think the crack may be widened further. The Neolithic representation of the Goddess and the attendant bull are symbols of power and differentiation. This differentiation cannot be readily dismissed by Eisler's rather facile distinction between a "domination hierarchy" and an "actualization hierarchy" (the latter is based on a biological metaphor of progression from lower to higher functioning in an organism). It is questionable whether these Neolithic symbols bespeak a relatively "egalitarian" social and political order.

To bolster my criticism with a related case in point, I would mention certain Native American myths and rituals. Wink refers to a putative nonviolence in the ancient myths and cultures of Native Americans, such as the pueblos. He says, for example, that the Hopi emergence myth is nonviolent (p. 154). But in my reading of one of the sources he cites, Frank Waters, Book of the Hopi (New York: Penguin Books, 1977), mimesis and violence riddle the first three worlds of the emergence myth (Waters, pp. 12-13, 15, 17-18). Interestingly, the deity Masaw, who is the first to meet the people in the Fourth World, was a kind of "restored" or "transformed" god. In the Third World he had lost his humility before the Creator, so he was relegated to taking charge of death and the underworld. But "Taiowa decided to give him another chance, as he had the people, and appointed him to guard and protect this Fourth World as its caretaker" (Waters, p. 21). This part of the myth may be pertinent to something I will mention shortly.

Besides the emergence myth, the Waters collection also includes myths of child sacrifice (pp. 55-56, 275-76; cf. 196-97), refers to a concern with witchcraft (246-47), and describes a ceremony still practiced when Waters wrote the book, the Niman Kachina (the return home of the kachinas). This ceremony concluded with the "sacrifice of the eagles." The clan leaders wrap blankets around the heads of the eagles and suffocate them "as gently as possible" (p. 208). The etiology given is that "it was this great proud bird who first welcomed mankind to this Fourth World and gave them feathers for pahos [prayer feathers or sticks]...." (p. 209). So what is the logic of this, that a people would sacrifice the first being to welcome humans into the "Fourth World" (=Hopi culture)? What is the relation of this eagle/victim to the deity Masaw, who is the caretaker of the Fourth World after having been restored from the realm of death in the Third World? These questions are suggestive and should at least stimulate further investigation of cultures which Western scholars may have many motives to label as "nonviolent." One motive for many appears to be the fantasy of a mythic "counter culture" which is both "other" than and better than our own. In any case, I consider Wink's work to be very admirable in some respects, but on the question of originary violence I think he is whistling in the dark.

James G. Williams

"Theology and/or Secular Thinking: Discussion on Political Philosophy, Economy, and Sociology" Symposium in Wiesbaden-Naurod/Germany (June 8-11, 1994)


7:00 pm Opening of the Symposium

7:30 to 9:30 pm Unlimited Rivalry and its Victims

Chair: Raymund Schwager, Universität Innsbruck

Jean-Pierre Dupuy, École Polytechnique: Sacrifice et envie: Le libéralisme aux prises avec la justice sociale


8:30 to 12:00 am Critical Responses to Jean-Pierre Dupuy

Chair: Gil Bailie, Florilegia Institute/USA

Hans Achterhuis, Twente Universität/Netherlands: The Concept of Scarcity

Hugo Assmann, UNIMEP, Brasilia: Critique from the Perspective of Latin America

Joseph Kufulu Mandunu, Matadi/Zaire: Critique from the Perspective of Africa

Erich Kitzmüller, Graz/Austria: Economy as a Victimization Mechanism

2:30 to 6:00 pm

Theology Versus Secular Thinking

Chair: Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Meredith College/USA

John Milbank, Divinity School, Cambridge/England: Theology and Social Theory

Edmund Arens, Frankfurt/Germany: Theology of Communicative Praxis Versus Postmodern Patrology: The Fundamental Theological Need for Social Theory

Stefano Cochetti, Universität Chemnitz/Germany: Rationality or Gratuity in Sacrifice: On Heidegger and Adorno's Criticism of Heidegger from a Neomimetic Viewpoint

7:00 to 9:00 pm

René Girard, Stanford University: Secular Thinking in Our Contemporary World


8:30 to 10:00 am

Chair: Diana Culbertson, Kent State University/USA

Paul Dumouchel, Univ. du Québec à Montreal/Canada: Secularization, Christianity and the Political Problem of Religion

Wolfgang Palaver, Universität Innsbruck/Austria: Hobbes's Secularization of Mythical Theology

10:30 to 12:00 am

Panel Discussion with Jean-Pierre Dupuy, René Girard, John Milbank, and other participants

Chair: Robert G. Hamerton-Kelly, Stanford University

2:30 to 6:00 pm

Contemporary Problems of Violence

Herwig Büchele, Universität Innsbruck/Austria: World Authority

Eckhard Nordhofen, Germany: Instrumentalisierung des Bösen: Anmerkung zur Sprachgrammatik des Pazifismus

Konrad Thomas, Universität Göttingen/Germany: Gewaltphänomene und soziologische Erklärung

Jon Pahl, Valparaiso University: A National Shrine to Scapegoating?: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.

George Pattery, St. Xavier's College, Calcutta/India: Gandhi, Violence and the Indian Situation

Duncan Morrow, University of Ulster/Northern Ireland: Violence and the Sacred in Northern Ireland

7:00 to 8:30 pm

COV&R Business Meeting

8:30 pm

Social Evening


9:00 to 12:00 am Parallel Workshops:

* Mimetic Theory and Literature (Sandor Goodhart, Cornell University, Jacques-Jude Lépine, Haverford College)

* The Mimetic Model in Psychology and Psychotherapy (Roel Kaptain, Hengelo/Netherlands)

* Mimetic Theory and Biblical Literature (James G. Williams, Syracuse University/USA)

2:30 pm

Excursion to Limburg/Germany




Telephone No. .................................................... Fax

The registration form should be sent to Institut für Dogmatik (Universitätsstraße 4, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria/Europe) by May 1. For further information on the Symposium please call (43) 512 509-6649 or 509-6814 [new: 507-8569 or 507-8585], or FAX (43) 512 579799. If you want to contact us by E-mail please send it to Dietmar.Regensburger@uibk.ac.at or Wolfgang.Palaver@uibk.ac.at


New Books

McCracken, David. The Scandal of the Gospels. Jesus, Story, and Offense. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Girard, René. God en Geweld: Over de oorsprong van mens en cultuur [La violence et le sacré, Dutch]. Tielt/Belgium: Mimesis/Lannoo, 1993.

Kaptein, Roel. Freedom in Relationships. Distinguished Scholars' Lecture, Faculty of Medicine. Belfast: The Queen's University of Belfast, 1993.

Kaptein, Roel. On the Way of Freedom. With the cooperation of Duncan Morrow. Introduction by René Girard. Dublin: The Columba Press, 1993.

Lascaris, André. To Do the Unexpected: Reading Scripture in Northern Ireland. Belfast: The Corrymeela Press, 1993.

Populier, Jan. God heeft echt bestaan: Met René Girard naar een nieuw mensen wereldbeeld. Tielt/Belgium: Mimesis, 1993.

Future Events

June 1995: "Mimesis, Violence, and the Subject of Responsibility": Annual Conference of COV&R at Loyola University of Chicago. Organizer: Andrew McKenna.

AAR/SBL will meet November 19-22, 1994 in Chicago and November 18-21, 1995 in Philadelphia. We will presumably continue our practice of holding COV&R meetings at these conventions.