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Colloquium On Violence & Religion



COV&R-Bulletin No. 11 (Oct. 1996)




A Note from the Executive Secretary

It was good to see many of you at Stanford University last June. I look forward also to seeing many of you in New

Orleans November 22-23 and even more of you in Graz next June (see Future Events).

I would like to thank Cesareo Bandera for the firm and sensitive manner in which he has assumed the presidency of

COV&R, and I extend a warm welcome to new Advisory Board members: Johan Elsen, Marie-Louise Martinez,

Gerhard Larcher, and Louis Burkhart. Judy Arias, who was the person primarily responsible for getting

Contagionstarted, was appointed as a regular member of the Board. These four will serve for three years,

replacing Thee Smith, Jørgen Jørgensen, Walter Wink, and Mark Anspach, who rotated off. Thee Smith was

appointed to replace Roel Kaptain (see obituary), and will serve one more year to fill out his term. Andrew

McKenna now becomes the editor of Contagion. We thank him for taking over this important and demanding


I am pleased to announce that The Girard Reader is due to be published by Crossroad in time for the AAR/SBL

convention in November. It will include a brief introduction, a biographical sketch of Girard, a short introduction to

each selection from Girard's writings, a long interview of Girard, a glossary of terms, an index, and bibliographies of

Girard's published work and of recent books by Girardian scholars in English, German, and French.

James G. Williams


Advisory Board Self-Review

Preceding the 1996 COV&R annual meeting the Advisory Board met and its agenda included the following

self-review process. This review was precipitated by a number of concerns that have been voiced to board

members regarding, for example, the status of women in COV&R, Jewish-Christian dialogue, and the protocol for

inclusion or exclusion of articles in our journal, Contagion.

Responding proactively to such concerns, our Executive Secretary, Jim Williams, asked Board member Thee Smith

to design and facilitate an effective process for the Board to address the concerns--first internally. (Efforts to

include other concerned COV&R members in this first-time process were unsuccessful due to regrettable and

inadvertent communication difficulties. Cf. item II.A.1 below.)

The review proceeded as follows. Four questions were displayed and then grouped into two sets, with each person

taking turns answering the first set of questions until all members was heard from. Then the second set of questions

were addressed in the same manner. Of course queries, clarifications, and minor digressions occurred throughout,

but with good grace the members managed to complete the process in an equitable and collectively satisfying


I. The Questions

A 1) What has been good or useful in your experience of COV&R?

2) What has been difficult or challenging?

B 3) What more do you want others to understand about your experience?

4) What commitments to COV&R

(a) are you ready to make, or

(b) would you like to hear from others?

II. The Responses

A. Comments

1) Let's make this review process (or something like it) an ongoing or periodic feature of the annual Board meeting,

and where indicated include as participants other concerned COV&R members.

2) A process like this may enable COV&R as an organization to integrate theory and practice in the way we "do

business"; that is, enable us to conduct our internal affairs in ways that are consistent with the inclusive or

non-exclusionary import of the mimetic theory that is the focus of our work--thus "realizing" or "putting into

practice" the theory.

3) More generally we need concrete ways to insure the future of "Girardianism."

4) In all our activities we should insist on a commitment to the [mimetic] model, and resist the importation of

theories of exclusion that use Girardian theory as a pretext for their own sacrificial agendas.

5) Yet we also need to avoid "scapegoating the scapegoaters" (i.e. avoid a "cheap" application of the theory).

6) We should also be careful to avoid a certain "language imperialism" or organizational exclusion with respect to

the American over-against the European appropriation and dissemination of Girardian theory.

B. Recommendations & Commitments

7) A concrete step to support the inclusion of women's voices in our conference sessions is routinely to remind

each moderator to call on women who indicate their readiness to speak, but whose voices are often drowned or

crowded out by more sonorous male voices.

8) A concrete step to address the protocol for the inclusion or exclusion of papers in journal issues is to extend and

formalize the processing of papers among a wider range of designated readers. We will take this up between the

president (Cesareo Bandera) and the new journal editor (Andrew McKenna).

9) In order to maintain balance among, and even extend the variety of, our approaches to mimetic theory, let's

acknowledge the following subgroups and allow for perhaps three parallel groups to frame the themes of our annual

meeting in four year cycles, for example:

biblical literary

psychoanalytical practical / transformational

political / economic Jewish-Christian dialogue


10) In general, let's figure out ways to institutionalize the "turbulence" and "disorder" that attends the organizational

growth and intellectual vitality of COV&R, so that it works for the institution and not against it.

11) Let's also commit to develop a COV&R protocol for negotiating the turbulence of competing agendas in the

organization, in a way that is consistent with our non-exclusionary theory but that also secures and advances the

legacy of the mimetic theory and Girardian thought.

Thee Smith


Bibliography of Literature on the Mimetic Theory, vol. XI

1) Books concerning the entire work of René Girard

Pelckmans, Paul and Vanheeswijck, Guido (eds.): René Girard, het labyrint van het verlangen: Zes opstellen. Kampen: Kok Agora/Kapellen: Pelckmans, 1996.

2) Articles concerning the entire work of René Girard

Bellinger, Charles K. ""The Crowd Is Untruth": A Comparsion of Kierkegaard and Girard." Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 103-119.

Bertonneau, Thomas. "Two Footnotes: On the Double Necessity of Girard and Gans." In Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology 2/1 (June 1996): http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/

Bottum, J. "Girard Among the Girardians." First Things no. 61 (March 1996): 42-45.

Davis, Charles. "Sacrifice and Violence: New Perspectives in the Theory of Religion from René Girard." New Blackfriars 70 (1989): 311-328.

Gans, Eric. "Introductory Remarks to Special Issue on René Girard." In Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology 2/1 (June 1996): http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/

Lefebure, Leo D. "Mimesis, Violence, and Socially Engaged Buddhism: Overture to a Dialogue." Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 121-140.

Milbank, John. "Stories of Sacrifice." Modern Theology 12/1 (January 1996): 27-56.

Rike, Jennifer L. "The Cycle of Violence and Feminist Constructions of Selfhood." Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 21-42.

Siebers, Tobin. "Philosophy and its Other--Violence: A Survey of Philosophical Repression from Plato to Girard." In Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology 1/2 (December 1995): http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/

Sumares, Manuel. "Uma ciência para os mitos e o transcendente: A hipótese de René Girard." RPF 48 (1992): 581 - 598.

Williams, James G. "René Girard without the Cross? Religion and Mimetic Theory." In Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology 2/1 (June 1996): http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/

3) Interviews with René Girard

Girard, René. "Interview with René Girard by Markus Müller." In Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology 2/1 (June 1996): http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/

4) Reviews about single works of René Girard

Alison, James. "Girard's breakthrough." The Tablet, 29 June 1996, 848f.

Schneider, Matthew. "Mimetic Polemicism: René Girard and Harold Bloom contra the "School of Resentment" - A Review Essay." In Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology 2/1 (June 1996): http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/

5) Books with references to René Girard

Augé, Marc: Der Geist des Heidentums. Aus dem Französischen von Michel von Killisch-Horn. München: Boer, 1995.

Gebauer, Gunter and Wulf, Christoph (eds.): Mimesis: Culture, Art, Society. University of California: n.d., 1996.

Seaford, Richard: Reciprocity and Ritual: Homer and Tragedy in the Developing City-State. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994.

Wolf, Christa: Medea: Stimmen. Neuwied: Luchterhand, 1996.

6) Articles with references to René Girard

Arias, Judith H.: "Review of "Models of Desire: René Girard and the Psychology of Mimesis", by Paisley Livingston." In Comparative Literature 48/1 (Winter 1996): 82-84.

Büchele, Herwig. "Auf der Suche nach der "Neuen Stadt"." In Gerechtigkeit und soziale Ordnung: Für Walter Kerber, ed. Brieskorn, N. and Müller, J., 23-41. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1996.

Dunnhill, John. "Methodological rivalries: Theology and Social Science." JSNT 62 (1996): 105-119.

Gans, Eric. "Mimetic Paradox and the Event of Human Origin." In Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology 1/2 (December 1995): http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/

Gans, Eric. "The Unique Source of Religion and Morality." Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 51-65.

Hamerton-Kelly, Robert G. "The King and the Crowd: Divine Right and Popular Sovereignty in the French Revolution." Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 67-83.

Leggewie, Claus: "Der Mythos des Neuanfangs - Gründungsetappen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland: 1949-1968-1989." In Studien zur Entwicklung des kollektiven Bewußtseins in der Neuzeit, Band 3: Mythos und Nation, ed. Berding, Helmut. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1996, 275-302.

Palaver, Wolfgang. "Gleichheit: Normatives Fundament und Gefahrenpotential der Demokratie." Stimmen der Zeit 214/3 (1996): 197-208.

Pan, David: "Botho Strauß: Myth, Community and Nationalism in Germany." In Telos no. 105 (Fall 1995) 57-75.

Reinalter, Helmut. "Die Rolle von "Sündenböcken" in den Verschwörungstheorien." In Vom Fluch und Segen der Sündenböcke: Raymund Schwager zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. Niewiadomski, Józef and Palaver, Wolfgang, 215-232. Beiträge zur mimetischen Theorie 1. Thaur: Kulturverlag, 1995.

Robertson, Ritchie. "Canetti als Anthropologe." In Einladung zur Verwandlung: Essays zu Elias Canettis "Masse und Macht", ed. Krüger, Michael, 190-206. München: Hanser, 1995.

Schneider, Matthew. "Sacred Ambivalence: Mimetology in Aristotle and Longinus." In Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology 1/1 (June 1995): http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/

Siebers, Tobin. "Politic and Peace." Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 85-101.

Smith, Theophus: "Ethnography-as-Theology: Inscribing the African American Sacred Story." In Theology Without Foundations: Religious Practice and the Future of Theological Truth, ed. Hauerwas, Stanley, Murphy, Nancey and Nation, Mark. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994, 117-139.

Stegemann, Wolfgang: "Der Tod Jesu als Opfer? Anthropologische Aspekte seiner Deutung im Neuen Testament." In Abschied von der Schuld? Zur Anthropologie und Theologie von Schuldbekenntnis, Opfer und Versöhnung, ed. Riess, Richard. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1996, 120-139.

Thomä, Dieter: "Abstieg in den Keller: Zunehmende Unheimlichkeit: René Girard und die Theorie des Opfers." In Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 15 May 1996, 5.

Track, Joachim: "Das Opfer am Ende: Eine kritische Analyse zum Opferverständnis in der christlichen Theologie. In Abschied von der Schuld? Zur Anthropologie und Theologie von Schuldbekenntnis, Opfer und Versöhnung, ed. Riess, Richard. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1996, 140-167.

Utzschneider, Helmut: "Vergebung im Ritual: Zur Deutung des hatta't-Rituals (Sündopfer) in Lev 4,1-5,13." In Abschied von der Schuld? Zur Anthropologie und Theologie von Schuldbekenntnis, Opfer und Versöhnung, ed. Riess, Richard. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1996, 96-119.

7) Books applying the mimetic theory

Alison, James: Raising Abel: The Recovery of the Eschatological Imagination. New York: Crossroad, 1996.

8) Articles applying the mimetic theory

Bertonneau, Thomas. "Like Hypatia before the Mob: Desire, Resentment, and Sacrifice in Henry James' "The Bostonians" (An Anthropoetics)." In Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology 1/1 (June 1995): http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/

Duff, Paul and Hallman, Joseph. "Murder in the Garden? The Envy of the Gods in Genesis 2 and 3." Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 183-200.

Girard, René. "Are the Gospels Mythical?." First Things no. 62 (April 1996): 27-31.

Girard, René. "Eating Disorders and Mimetic Desire." Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 1-20.

Johnsen, William A. "Ibsen's Drama of Self-Sacrifice." Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 141-161.

Niewiadomski, Józef and Schwager, Raymund: "Dramatische Theologie als Forschungsprogramm." In Zeitschrift für Katholische Theologie 118/3 (1996): 317-344.

Nuechterlein, Paul. "Holy Communion: Altar Sacrament for Making a Sacrificial Sin Offering, or Table Sacrament for Nourishing a Life of Service?" Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 201-221.

Oughourlian, Jean-Michel. "Desire is Mimetic: A Clinical Approach." Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 43-49.

Palaver, Wolfgang: "Das Arkanum in der Politik: Carl Schmitts Verteidigung der Geheimpolitik. In Theologisch-praktische Quartalschrift 144 (1996) 152-167.

Plutschow, Herbert. "Archaic Chinese Sacrificial Practices in the Light of Generative Anthropology." In Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology 1/2 (December 1995): http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/

Schwager, Raymund. "Herz-Jesu zwischen Mystik und Politik: Theologische Anmerkungen zu einer belasteten Symbolik." In 200 Jahre Herz-Jesu-Gelöbnis des Landes Tirol: Kunstpreis der Diözese Innsbruck, ed. Larcher, Gerhard, 18-22. Innsbruck: Diözese Innsbruck, 1996.

Shore, Marci. "The Sacred and the Myth: Havel's Greengrocer and the Transformation of Ideology in Communist Czechoslovakia." Contagion: Journal of Violence. Mimesis, and Culture 3 (Spring 1996): 163-182.


Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology

http://www.hu mnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/home.html

Anthropoetics announces the appearance of its special issue (II, 1) on the work of René Girard. Contents include:

Interview with René Girard by Markus Muller (UCLA) for Anthropoetics

James Williams (Syracuse) - René Girard without the Cross?: Religion and the Mimetic Theory

Thomas Bertonneau (Central Michigan) - Two Footnotes: On the Double Necessity of Girard and Gans

Matthew Schneider (Chapman College) - Mimetic Polemicism: René Girard and Harold Bloom contra the

"School of Resentment"

We are now accepting submissions for our next issue, to appear in Fall 1996. A complete statement of our editorial

policy may be found at our WWW site. Texts or inquiries should be sent by email to: anthro@humnet.ucla.edu or

by mail to:

Anthropoetics c/o Eric Gans

UCLA Department of French

Los Angeles CA 90095-1550

Galist: Persons interested in knowing more about generative anthropology are invited to subscribe to our on-line

email list by sending the following message:

Address to: maiser@humnet.ucla.edu

Subject field: [unimportant]

Body of message: subscribe galist

Chronicles of Love and Resentment

http://www.hu mnet.ucla.edu/humnet/anthropoetics/views/home.html

Eric Gans' weekly WWW column applies originary thinking to subjects varying from epistemology to body

piercing, from romantic love to the abortion controversy, from Abelard and Heloise to the films of Quentin

Tarentino. Subscribers to the GAlist receive the column weekly by email.

Statement of Purpose

Generative anthropology (GA) is neither empirical social science nor speculative philosophy. It is a new mode of

critical thinking that applies the criterion of parsimony to the study of cultural phenomena: all things human must be

traced back to their source in the hypothetical scene of origin in which human beings as sign-using creatures first


The originary hypothesis of GA is that human language begins as an aborted gesture of appropriation

representing--and thereby renouncing as sacred--an object of potential mimetic rivalry. The strength of our mimetic

intelligence makes us the only creatures for whom intraspecific violence is a greater threat to survival than the

external forces of nature. Human language defers potential conflict by permitting each to possess the sign of the

unpossessable object of desire--the deferral of violence through representation.

GA transcends the impasse between the humanities, imprisoned in the "always already" of our cultural systems, and

the empirical social sciences, which fail to grasp the originary basis of these systems. The originary hypothesis

provides the basis for rethinking every aspect of the human, from language to art, from religion to political


Anthropoetics is dedicated to this rethinking, both for its intrinsic theoretical interest and as a framework for literary

and cultural analysis. The editors of Anthropoetics hope to stimulate continuing interest in GA and to encourage

productive dialogue between the humanities and the social sciences.


From the Labyrinth to the Tragic Mask (by Giuseppe Fornari)

Presentation of the unpublished research paper "The Esoteric Knowledge of theGreeks", read at the

Center for International Security and Arms Control, Stanford University (CA), July 21,1995.

1. Ancient Greece appealed to me an ideal area for testing out the mimetic theory and for studying it in depth.

Greek civilization not only lies at the root of our own but, as a result of the decisive influence of Christianity, it is

also remote from us. The very importance and ubiquity of Greek culture has made it a perfect mimetic object of

desire in western civilization. At various times, Hellas has been regarded as possessing Pure Beauty, the Will to

Power, and the mysterious, unattainable Truth of Being. Greece has really been mythologized at a secondary level

by the several kinds of Hellenism in our culture. A close critique of this tendency, avoiding any concession to the

currently fashionable cultural relativism, might well prove to be both extremely useful and, as it were, therapeutic.

Besides, the Greeks have only themselves to blame in the first place for this mythologizing. Few people have been

so gifted and so vain. Posterity has slavishly venerated mistaking the sublime image they left of themselves, taking it

at face value, thus succumbing to a singular strategy of seduction that has gone on claiming victims and winning

accomplices for almost 2500 years. Classical art, with the superhuman harmony of its idols and monsters, is this

seduction in figurative guise: a deceptive, persecutory perfection of Beauty excluding the ugly and deformed, just as

the polis expelled the pharmakós. Only by ridding ourselves of the Greek gods, ignoring Nietzsche and

Heidegger's nostalgia, can we truly understand the greatness of Greek culture which, in the light of Girard's theory,

still reserves some surprises for us.

In order to give some indication as to the contents of my paper, I shall say something firstly about the ideas of the

labyrinth and symbols, and then something about the mask and the connected concept of enigma. These are

interchangeable concepts, all aspects of one reality: the sacrificial foundation.

2. The labyrinth and the sumbolon. My general thesis is that Greek culture demonstrates a growing awareness

of the mimetic phenomena and sacrificial violence that human society is founded on. But this awareness is difficult to

apprehend and to express openly and therefore remains the restricted domain of a few initiatory cults and wise

men. Hence the term "esoteric knowledge" is intended to be a simple description and not some sort of mystical


The first manifestation of this knowledge considered in my study is Orphism, in close connection with the Eleusinian

mysteries. As I see it, this movement presents clear evidence of a cognitive reflection on the symbolism of the

Cretan labyrinth, that is, the cave or sacred space, well-documented in myth and by archeological evidence, where

initiatory and sacrificial rites took place. The labyrinth is a fundamental symbol for Greek civilization, the mirror held

up to this hypermimetic society where it indirectly recognized itself, a place of paradoxes representing the

mysterious, inevitable nature of the sacred. The true labyrinth is the victimary space where foundation occurs, the

rotational topology of the community which, in the doubles crisis, seeks out and finally seizes its center, the founding

scapegoat. In the labyrinth, total disorder becomes order, total darkness is made light and violent death becomes

life. The center of the labyrinth is both bloody and brilliant, and the Minotaur is also Asterios, the Starry One.

Through its intuition of mankind's birth from the center of the labyrinth, Orphism seeks liberation from violence and

a definitive way out.

In the main Orphic myth, mankind is born from the ashes of the Titans, who have been struck down by a

thunderbolt from Zeus for having surrounded the child Dionysus and devoured him raw (the Minotaur is just one of

Dionysus' innumerable manifestations). There is thus a Titanic part in man founded on violence and a Dionysian

part, which is divine and needs to be freed from the tomb of body (soma as sema). The key to attaining this goal is

a thorough examination of the concept of symbol (sumbolon), with its topological model, the labyrinth. The Greek

word sumbolon means a token (usually the astragalos, a certain bone found in the goat's foot), which was split in

two and thus provided a means of recognition for two strangers. More generally, the sumbola were the formulae

and sacred objects used in the mystery rites. But sumbolon derives from sum-ballein, whose primary meaning

according to the Liddell-Scott dictionary is throw together, dash together. The first sumbolon is clearly the victim

himself, Dionysus surrounded and torn to pieces by the Titans in the omophagia,the devouring of the victim's raw


Orphism attempts to make the very genesis of human symbolism its own, from within. The sumbolon is the victim

(Dionysus) whom the worshiper becomes one with, while the sumbolaare the god's quartered parts as represented

in the rite. They are the multiplicity which must result in final, once and-and-for-all unity. Salvation is attained when

Dionysus rises again, his dismembered limbs reassemble in the ritual's final sumbolon and the worshiper is deified.

To drink from the fountain of Mnemosyne, Memory, is to reach A-letheia (from lanthanein, to hide, conceal).

This is the re-velation, the negation of concealment, of Titanic violence. Dis-membering is followed by

re-membering, which brings salvation by freeing the initiate from his Titanic part.

Undoubtedly there is profound awareness of Mankind's sacrificial origin here. Yet, the frame of the Orphic

conception is still myth, while magic and sacrifice remain the means of salvation employed by Orphism. The

sacrifice is repeated in a genetic reconstruction but it is not really exposed. Greek tragedy attempts to take this

further step.

3. The enigma of the mask. In tragedy, the ritual becomes spectacle, with the parts of the sumbolon becoming

theatrical parts, represented on stage by the supreme theatrical symbol, the mask. This derives from the ancient

ritual sumbolon of the victim's head and skin, a frozen symbol of the doubles crisis and of the sacrifice that resolves

it. It is, as it were, the only face of the labyrinth we are able to see: the visible representation of the invisible

foundation. Like all masks, the Greek mask kills, but it speaks before killing, expressing itself by means of an

ambiguous veil of words. The labyrinth epitomized by the mask, expands again into the labyrinthine sumbola of

words. This verbal labyrinth is the enigma, the logical trap that both conceals and reveals. The enigma both says

and does not say, thus reproducing the ambivalent foundation of the sacred. There is a circular movement in

tragedy away fromand towards the mask, a continual oscillation between sacrificial refoundation (victim as

structure) and exposure of the sacrificial violence (victim as theme or motif).

This oscillation can be summed up in what I term the principle of tragic impersonality. The author's awareness

prevents him from showing human things as they commonly appear; however, at the same time, he is incapable of

solving the problems posed by their representation. Thus unable to identity with any character in the play, he is

forced to hide behind the representation, in exactly the same way that the actor hides behind the mask. The act of

writing becomes a metaphoric mask, an enigma that implies some risk to the writer himself. We should always

remember that logical and moral aspects coincide within the framework of tragedy. In more recent times, many

writers faced with the problem of representing violence, but without knowing how to remedy it, have resorted once

again to the Greek mask of tragic impersonality. The role of hupokrites (from hupokrino, subject to inquiry), that

is, of the actor who had to respond to the Chorus, is ever-present in art and life. There is no tragedy where all is


This structural ambiguity sealed the fate of Greek tragedy. For this reason, I concentrated on the Bacchae by

Euripides, since it sums up and concludes the creative cycle of Greek tragedy. Here, the true nature of sacrificial

violence is shown in a way unparalleled in the ancient world, so much so that the ancients regarded it as a sort of

sacrificial "Bible", while its success was unchallenged before the Christian era. The traditional elements of the

Dionysian cult, normally given a refined, reassuring interpretation by the humanists, both ancient and modern, are

here properly reassigned to their wild origin: the Maenads' chastity represents mimetism that is foundational

regarding sexuality; wine represents mimetic ecstasy and the blood deriving from it; and women represent men in

disguise. The sacrifice is finally achieved through the Dionysian rite of omophagia, when Dionysus' rival, Pentheus,

the Theban king, is torn to pieces. At such a juncture, the symbolic, representational framework of myth and

tragedy breaks down. Pentheus' sumbola are finally reassembled, as in the Orphic ritual: the parts picked up by

Cadmus on Mount Cithaeron and the mask-head held by Agave, Pentheus' mother, are joined together again. But

this time there is no Dionysian resurrection: Pentheus' corpse remains only what it is. The Thebans are scattered and

war prevails in Greece. The story ends with Agave's impotent, desperate cursing of the Bacchanale. It would be no

exaggeration to state that this cognitive and moral paradox marks the end of the most creative period not only of

tragedy but also of Greek civilization, overwhelmed by the Peloponnesian war, the mimetic suicide of Greek


Nevertheless, Greek philosophy makes one more attempt to find an answer. Pre-Socratic philosophy had tried to

solve the enigma of the foundation with a logical, cosmological form of development but now, with Plato, the game

of esoteric knowledge is brought to an end. He seeks to conceal the violent foundation so imprudently touched

upon by esoteric wisdom and to repeat a definitive sacrificial foundation. He provides two models in the Republic and the Laws, the one more Utopian and the other openly persecutory. Plato's attempt fails but gives birth to Western philosophy. The victim, the secret center of the labyrinth and of esoteric knowledge, is now openly denied and tragedy itself is utterly condemned. An abstract, aseptic theory of ideas becomes the core of philosophies initiatory wisdom. Thousands of years later, the same mythical representation of Being returns in Heidegger, with even more sinister implications. A pure, speculative version of metaphysical desire takes the place of an intolerable truth. The A-letheiavanishes only to return unwittingly in the monstrous guise of totalitarian ideologies.

The Gospel revelation, coming centuries after the Greek wise men, is alone capable of showing the way out of the labyrinth, of unmasking the hupokrites. Only the Gospels can show us, behind the tragic mask, the face of the victim, the face of Christ. And we must choose between the fascinating but paralyzing end of Greek knowledge and the Christian revelation of the victim. I think that the usefulness of my research may consist precisely in making this choice.


Roeloff Kaptein (1919-1996)

Our friend and colleague Roeloff ("Roel") Kaptein died on May 16, 1996. He was gravely ill with a brain tumor the

last several months of his life, but his mind was usually lucid and his heart was full of love and hope as he came to

the end of his mortal existence. He talked by telephone and exchanged notes with many colleagues during his last

months. Roel was always the comforter of those who wanted to comfort him.

He believed passionately in the work of COV&R and was ever the friendly critic who helped keep us honest with

his questions and comments. He led two workshops on mimetic psychology and gave one paper at annual

conferences of COV&R. He was active in the discussions, and served on the COV&R Advisory Board until his


Roel was a Dutch Reformed pastor in Holland prior to his retirement. He was associated for many years with the

Corrymeela Community and was a consultant for the Centre for the Study of Conflict at the University of Ulster,

Northern Ireland. He conducted numerous seminars and workshops in Northern Ireland whose ultimate object was

understanding, reconciliation, and cooperation between Catholics and Protestants. He wrote a great number of

articles, reviews, pamphlets, and books, including De ander als obstakel: een einleiding in het werk van René

Girard, with Peter Tijmes (Kampen: Kok Agora, 1986) and The Way of Freedom (Dublin: Columba Press,


We are thankful for Roel's presence among us, and we offer our deep sympathy to his beloved wife Joke and all

the family.

Roel Kaptein (by René Girard)

I first met Roel in France, in 1980 I believe, but it was here at Stanford that we became friends and his presence at

our meeting, every year, changed our very being. COV&R was a mere handful of academics discussing academic

matters in an academic fashion, and Roel's fidelity turned it into the small but genuinely international association that

it now is. Our worldwide dimension suddenly meant something different from the fortuitous cosmopolitanism of

American universities in the second half of the 20th century. Roel transformed us into something that, in its own

modest way, partakes of the Spirit with a capital S.

Roel had two qualities not often found even among younger intellectuals and, even more rarely are they found

together. He was completely open to new ideas. Even the more playful intricacies of our theorizing delighted him

and yet, at the same time, he was aware that the life of the intellect is not enough, that it cannot flourish for long

when divorced from "real life," which is the influence we all have on one another.

For me, I must say, it was a shock. He made me realize how much of an intellectual in the bad sense I always was,

even and especially in my criticism of the academic world which, I felt placed me outside of it. Seeing this mimetic

illusion of mine, Roel simply shrugged his shoulders.

Between him and the mimetic theory, it was love at first sight and when Roel fell in love, it was for life. As soon as

he first arrived here, not only all our ideas but all our lives interested him. In the last few years, he had taken the

habit of visiting with members of our group in this country and in Europe. Our three day encounter was not enough

for his vast appetite and he had a tendency to turn our meeting into a year round affair, one aspect of which was his

writing, another his work in Northern Ireland, another still his work with all of us.

Roel's dedication to everything we are trying to do is now our legacy and we will flourish, I believe, insofar as we

remain faithful to it, insofar as this inheritance sustains us. Roel believed in the Resurrection and the Life and I

believe with him that he is alive. But he is especially alive among certain people, his wife Joke, his family and all

those who knew him. And he is especially alive here, at our yearly meeting, because he embodies our common


Stanford, June 29, 1996


Report from the COV&R Conference held at Stanford, June 27-29, 1996

The theme of the conference was, "Ethnic Conflict in International Perspective," and the keynote address was René

Girard's "Ethnic Conflict and Mimetic Theory". It seems best to concentrate on Girard's presentation rather than to

give a brief summary of each offering, because it demonstrates how mimetic theory might be applied to political

phenomena, which was the purpose of the conference to explore. The title of the conference was chosen so as to

distinguish it from the last meeting at Stanford when we tried to take on the problem of ethnicity and spoke mostly

about the inner-university problem in the USA of what has come to be called multi-culturalism. This time we

wanted to lift our eyes to the international horizon, and Girard confirmed our desire by taking as the case study for

an application of mimetic theory, the situation in the Balkans.

Before getting down to the discussion of the case in point he introduced mimetic theory to this realm of discourse

with a finesse that illuminated the theory anew even for those who have known it for a long time, and he began with

an historical survey. Only after the Enlightenment did we begin to think that war might be eliminated, prior to that

such ambition would have been taken as an expression of human pride. After the French revolution we began the

wars not of the "corrupt elites" who could not help, because of their innate depravity, making war, but the

democratic wars of the "people" which were the wars to end war because democratic and not oligarchic.

Marxism-Leninism promised to end the contradiction of a revolutionary warfare that escalated rather than ended

warfare, declaring that the failure of the revolution was due to its bourgeois nature. The righteous proletarians would

end war - hardly! Shall we, therefore, conclude that in addition to this chronic self-deception humanity is also

biologically afflicted with a compulsion to war? Not at all, and this is where the mimetic theory comes in. It s a

cultural rather than a biological theory. "Perhaps it is more important as a theory of conflict than as a theory of

desire," said Girard, "but we must start with desire." Then followed a brief introduction to the mimetic theory of

desire, whose highlights are, "Man is the creature who does not know what to desire;" "..we must not confuse the

sexual appetite with desire, which is what Freud systematically did...and our spurious individualism loves Freud

very much because...the idea that our rivals are really the masters of our desire is the most difficult for us to

face...To conclude from all this that the mimetic theory condemns mimetic desire would be absurd, even

meaningless. Mimetic desire is fundamental to our humanity. In order to become human we must actively if as a rule

unconsciously, imitate our parents, our teachers, our peers and other such models of desire who, as a rule, are not

rivals but role models in the sense this expression is used by many psychologists."

We all know how desire turns to rivalry because of the acquisitive nature of its mimesis, and that turn takes us from

mimetic theory as a theory of desire to mimetic theory as a theory of conflict. Girard turns to the Balkan conflicts in

conversation with the sociologist Rogers Brubaker ("National Minorities, Nationalizing States, and external

National Homelands in the New Europe" Daedalus 124/2 [Spring 1995] 107-132), whose work he says,

"..develops a theoretical framework that comes very close to what I would regard as a mimetic model for the study

not only of the specific problem the author is dealing with, but of many other kinds of conflicts leading to military


Brubaker borrows the idea of "fields" from Bourdieu and sees the poles of conflict as fields of conflict within

themselves, presenting therefore when they enter into external relations a "relation between relational fields."

"Relational" is the important word for Brubaker, and so too for Girard. Each pole is unstable, a field of relations,

that is, in turn, related to another relational field outside itself. The poles interact not as monads but as unstable

fields of desire constantly changing under the impact of internal stresses caused by internal rivalries that are

themselves affected by external rivalries. Of this Girard says,"What Rogers Brubaker is really saying, in my mimetic

vocabulary, is that an escalation of mimetic rivalry occurred that generated the desire for ethnically homogeneous

statehood among Croats on the one hand, and on the other hand, among Serbs in Croatia as well as the Serbs in

Serbia." The poles became more hostile as they became more like each other.

In the case of the Balkans the poles of the conflict are related in triangles made up of the ethnic minority (M), the

ethnic homeland (H) and the titular state (T). Every relationship in this case is, therefore, H-M-T or some other

variation of the triangle. In the case of the Balkans, Serbia related to Croatia in terms of the Serbian minority in the

now depleted Krajina, and so on. In order to mobilize the Serb minority in Croatia to support the idea of a

"Greater Serbia" Serbia had to present the spectacle of a militantly nationalizing Croatia, which was not hard to do

because Croatia was already imitating Serbia's nationalism. Thus we have the instability of mimetic rivalry, and the

two favorite phenomena of a Girardian mimeticist, triangles and imitation!

To be sure the analysis Girard presents is very preliminary and incomplete, but it does point in a promising

direction. We are also encouraged to discover that the phenomena important to mimetic theory are also evident to

a sociologist like Brubaker. This shows that there is a convergence of analysis as we move away form a world of

monadic objects of analysis.

I have summarized Girard's paper because it epitomizes the seriousness and high quality of the program. I am very

grateful to all who contributed, all who attended, and all who organized the conference, and especially to Martha

and René Girard, whose hospitality was warm and generous, as usual. The mock stoning of our founder at the final

banquet elicited some censorious reactions from members. It just shows that humor is the last thing to be

internationally shared. For the record, you should know that as I was preaching next morning, on the text "Come

unto me.." (and not to the false gods of California's New Age) a young woman rushed into the church and started

cursing me in a loud voice, during the course of my sermon. She demanded that I step down from the pulpit so that

she could preach. She said she had been sent by Zeus to stop me preaching. After she had been removed I told the

congregation that I was immensely gratified to learn that what we were doing in this church was causing Zeus grief,

and that I hoped we could do more to make him uncomfortable. Rosemary said I should not have tempted the

demons by staging a stoning under a full moon. I do not fear the demons, even though I know they are no laughing

matter, but it was Martin Luther who said the the one thing the devil cannot stand is being laughed at. And by the

way it was a blue moon, and we stoned him only once!

Robert G. Hamerton-Kelly



Paul Dumouchel, Emotions: Essai sur le corps et le social. Paris: Les Empêcheurs de Penser en Rond,

1995. Pp. 230; 84 francs.

The publication of a new book by Paul Dumouchel is good news for the many admirers of his work. Members of

COV&R may know Dumouchel best as the editor of Violence and Truthand as the co-author (with Jean-Pierre

Dupuy) of L'enfer des choses: René Girard et la logique de l'économie. Those unfamiliar with the numerous

articles he has published in the meantime may be surprised that his new book deals with psychology rather than

political economy. However, the disparity is only apparent inasmuch as the target this time is a view of the psyche

that contemporary analytic philosophy and cognitive science borrow from economic theory. The latter ordinarily

assumes desires and preferences to be individual givens, while Dumouchel develops the idea that they emerge from

the interaction between individuals. He analyzes the emotions as salient moments in a process of coordination, a

process that pre-exists the agents it coordinates and that is responsible for constituting them as autonomous

individuals. This interactional perspective applies not only to certain clearly other-oriented emotions, such as envy,

but to all emotions. Indeed, if the not infrequent references to Girard remain literally marginal here--being largely

confined to footnotes--that is because the subject matter goes beyond the mechanics of desire and other mimetic

interactions, such as anger breeding anger, to encompass complementary ones, such as anger breeding fear. In this

sense, not the least of the contributions of this compact but ambitious book is to indicate how the mimetic theory

could be grounded in a more general psychology.

In the first chapter, Dumouchel reminds us of the extent to which today's most common psychological notions hark

back to Descartes's view of the passions as quintessentially intimate and personal, born of internal somatic agitation.

By contrast, for Hobbes, also writing in the mid-seventeenth century, the passions are irreducibly social

phenomena, the very identification of which depends on the observer's evaluation of social relationships. Thus, an

act of vengeance will be ascribed to righteous indignation if one approves of it or to cruelty if one does not. Taking

Hobbes's observations as his starting point, Dumouchel goes on to elaborate a systematically social theory in which

an emotion, even for the person directly experiencing it, can have no meaning in and of itself. I may feel intensely,

but whatdo I feel? Is it fear or remorse? The answer hinges not on the nature of the inner sensation, but on that of

the outer circumstances. More precisely, it depends on both the history and the present course of my relations with


Before the emotion proper comes "affective expression." Emotions are social not because they are necessarily

prompted by other people--they may just as easily be triggered by a broken Coke machine or a sunny day--but

because they are expressed in a way to which other people are sensitive. Affective expression is an ongoing,

spontaneous, involuntary phenomenon, a bodily manifestation that betrays us to any bystanders and which we

therefore seek to control the best we can. But if affective expression wordlessly communicates a behavioral

disposition, the actual meaning of the emotion is established only retroactively, via the other person's response. It is

this fundamental interdependence that makes humans social beings. Like the chattering of dolphins studied by

Gregory Bateson, the expression of emotions in humans is a communication system, and it is as such, Dumouchel

hypothesizes, that it emerged during the evolution of the species. Emotional expression facilitates coordination.

Not in the economists' sense of a "coordination game" where the players' interests converge and cooperation is the

norm, but in the sense of a joint process that is a necessary prerequisite for competition as well as cooperation. In

the real world, our interests, goals, preference orders are not as neatly defined as they are in game theory; they do

not pre-exist our interaction. Affective coordination is the process through which we move toward cooperation or


Game theory, evolutionary biology, cultural anthropology, philosophy of mind... Dumouchel ranges with equal

assurance through many fields while illustrating his points with examples drawn from classic literature and everyday

life. The argument he advances is nothing if not audacious, and objections inevitably spring to the reader's mind, but

the author has usually anticipated them and will proceed to turn them to his advantage. In typical fashion, he closes

by showing how his social theory of emotions can account for that most solitary of affective experiences, the

esthetic sentiment: a sentiment capable of being awakened when one listens to music in the privacy of one's

room--or when one reads a book as elegantly constructed as Emotions is.

Mark Anspach


James Alison, Raising Abel: The Recovery of the Eschatological Imagination. New York: Crossroad,

1996, 203 pp.; np.

James Alison has blazed a new trail in offering a new clarification of faith and hope as eschatological. Working

creatively with the mimetic theory of Girard, modern insights into the role of story and imagination in human

existence, and his own extensive knowledge of Scripture and the history of Christian thought, he offers a continual

challenge to think--to imagine--differently. It is at this, the perspectival level, that one must encounter the book in

order to profit from it. His biblical expositions are always rich and suggestive, and certainly sometimes debatable.

But his primary objective is to engage and reorient the reader's way of reflecting on human existence and Christian


His thesis is that if Jesus used apocalyptic language, it was in order to subvert it. Eschatology is a stance towards

the end--the destiny of individuals in community who exist always in relation to the Other--which undercuts

apocalyptic with its God of violence and the reestablishment of an order based on vengeance. Abel, the primordial

victim, is raised from the dead; the Son of Man, the innocent victim who raises Abel, sits at the right hand of God,

offering judgment in the form of forgiveness and forgiveness in the form of judgment. This new revelation completely

removes God from violence and shows that the end, "rather than being a vengeful conclusion to time, comes to be

the principle operative in time, by means of which we may live out the arrival of the Son of man...." (127). He holds

that "the eschatological imagination is nothing other than the subversion from within of the apocalyptic imagination"


To deal at all adequately with this inspiring feast of mimetic theology would require a lengthy essay. Here I would

simply indicate aspects of the work which are particularly meaningful or suggestive to me, then I will mention a

couple of critical questions.

(1) The principle of analogy. A key to the methodology of the book is the principle of analogy, which is

fundamental to Catholic theology. In Alison's own creative use of it he points out that the Christian interpreter must

avoid two temptations: to posit the death and resurrection of Christ at a completely other, ineffable and mysterious

level which has nothing to do with the human story, and to affirm human reason and the goodness of humanity to the

point that the otherness of God is lost. Alison's own analogical tack is to suggest that "the divine story is related to

the human story, but as its subversion from within". God becomes human and creates "a real human story" (32).

(2) Christ as mediator of creation. "It is precisely the idea of creation in Christ which produces the final

demythologization of the idea of creation" (54). The resurrection of Christ definitively separates the Creator God

from any connection with the violent foundations of the world as cultural order

(3) Theater as metaphor. Alison uses theater and theatrical metaphors to open up a new way of viewing the

Incarnation and Christian life. For example, he speaks of the death of Jesus as the "staging" of something real so

that humans might become children of God. "The possibility of coming to be children came about not through some

general decree of adoption, but through a creative act that demanded a mise-en-scène, a particular human acting

out" (64). He realizes this could be misunderstood, but he is convinced that only a risky approach is finally


This approach, by the way, is reminiscent of what Sandor Goodhart has spoken of as "God-acting": God acting in

the world, if understood properly in the context of human relations, is God-acting, the acceptance of ultimate

responsibility for the other (Lévinas). This is formally the same approach as Alison's, and there is probably much

overlap materially in the understanding of hope and human existence.

(4) The relation of parables and the end. Parables are not instructions about the end, but about living in the present

without dividing the world into good guys and bad guys. The parable of the fishnet (Matthew 13:47-50), for

example, is not really about a violent eschatological separation of people but about living here and now without

judging others (84-85).

(5) Hopeful morality. Alison does not discount morality, but he insists that it must be inspired by authentic hope.

Preoccupation with our own goodness or badness, our moral balance books, prevents us from living in hope. He

offers a very interesting, and certainly disputable, reading of the final part of the parable of the banquet in Matthew

22. Its point, he says, is not the harshness of God's final judgment, but the inability of the guest to imagine himself as

at a wedding banquet. He imagines it as a place of judgment, and so "does not dare to speak when he is

addressed," thus receiving "treatment according to his imagination" (153).

(6) Belief and mimesis. Alison engages in ongoing dialogue with historical (Reformation) Protestantism. Regarding

faith, Protestants have tended to understand it as subjective commitment and trust through hearing the word of

God. Alison is "obstinately Catholic" in holding that "Jesus came to create a belief as something truly and humanly

imitable." The passion story he has given us enables us to "construct stories in flexible imitation of his own," and so

he makes it possible "for our rivalistic human desire to be transformed into pacific desire, in imitation of the pacific

desire of God, which we normally call God's love" (171).

I have two critical comments about Alison's excellent treatise. His biblical exposition is peculiar, even eccentric at

points, but that is primarily to the good in a work that seeks to intimate a new perspective which opens onto a

vision of God's realm of pacific and loving mimesis. His reading of parables, for instance, is fascinating, but it

sometimes gives the impression of arbitrariness. If we turn to the Gospels, I have the sense that Alison's point of

view could contribute to a creative advance in their interpretation. Yet much more must be done for this interpretive

approach to gain a proper hearing and foothold. Concerning Luke, for example, his point is well taken that

according to Luke "the moment will come in which the risen victim will be the principle which illuminates all of

human history and reality" (150). He might well have quoted Luke 17:20-21 in addition to 17:22-25: "The kingdom

of God is not coming with observable signs; nor will they say, 'Lo, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom is

in the midst of you" (17:20-21). But he doesn't try to come to grips with what biblical scholarship has recognized as

the delay of the Parousia in Luke. He is obviously approaching Luke in a new way, but he should clearly relate and

contrast his way of reading to the now generally accepted reading, which in fact comes out of liberal Protestant


One last point on bibical exposition. Alison ascribes an emphasis on patience (hypomone) to the later pastoral

letters due to the subversion of the apocalyptic imagination that develops as time passes (163; Titus 2:2). But in fact

Luke had already stressed it in two key passages (8:18; 21:19), and there are more references to it in the much

earlier letters of Paul than in the pastorals.

My other critical comment, one more immediately serious, is that Alison does not do justice to the Jewish historical

context of Jesus and the New Testament. Jesus' response to the Sadducees about the resurrection of the dead

(Luke 20:27-40; Matthew 22:33-43; Mark 12:18-27) probably came from Pharisaic teaching. Alison does not

acknowledge this. He says "Paul's conversion was from sharing the Ayatollah view of God [killing those whom the

law excludes] to sharing Jesus' view of the good shepherd...."(43). This does not take Paul's own background as a

Pharisee into account, which gave him most of his specific ideas and interpretive methods and which in turn were

converted for Christian use (e.g., Abraham believed in God prior to the law of Moses and even to the circumcision

command in Genesis 17). In addition, it gives the impression of appealling to a Western image of a vengeful,

bloodthirsty Iranian Ayatollah to characterize the Torah. Alison probably intended to focus on Paul's particular

understanding of God prior to his conversion rather than engaging in a simplistic condemnation of the Jewish law,

but the language he uses should be reconsidered..

And finally, is the God of Genesis 22 still "a capricious deity"? (45). The assertion is at the least questionable

because it does not take into account extensive Jewish and Christian discussions and readings of the Akedah,

including some which have taken place in COV&R.

Alison has opened up a wonderful religious and theological vista. Christian eschatology takes on new meaning and

relevance in this pioneering study. His contribution should henceforth include participation in the Jewish-Christian

dialogue that is now an important aspect of COV&R's work.

James G. Williams


A quoi bon (se) sacrifier? Sacrifice, don et intérèt. [What is the purpose of sacrificing (oneself)?

Sacrifice, Gift, and Personal Interest.] La revue du M.A.U.S.S. Nr. 5, 1er semestre 1995.

This journal edited by the "Mouvement anti-utilitariste dans les sciences sociales" ["Anti-Utilitarian Movement in

Social Sciences"] fully focuses on the topic of sacrifice. This topic is central for a movement of anti-utilitarianism: do

sacrifices basically mean renunciation or are they just a subtle form of utilitarianism (gift and expected gift in return).

This journal, however, is also very interesting for COV&R. In his article "Sacrifice, don et utilitarisme" [Sacrifice,

Gift, and Utilitarianism], A. Caillé directly analyzes Girard and criticizes him from a perspective which - inspired by

Mauss - puts the (mutual) gift before the sacrifice. To this criticism M. Anspachgives a very interesting answer

connecting the Girardian view with Caillé's (Mauss') perspective by distinguishing between two levels (genesis and

order) which are connected with each other by an entangled hierarchy. At the level of genesis, the principle of all

against one is in force in order to make an end to violence. The level of the sacrificial order, however, as it is

experienced by the sacrificers is determined by the gift and the expected gift in return (also with the object to make

an end to violence). Anspach connects both levels by the title of his article "Le sacrifice qui engendre la don qui

l'englobe" ["The Sacrifice Which Generates the Gift it Comprises"], on the one hand, and by the following definition

of sacrifice, on the other hand: "Le culte sacrificiel conjugue la non-reciprocité dans la violence et la non-violence

dans la réciprocité" ["The sacrificial cult unites non-reciprocity in violence and non-violence in reciprocity"].

In the same review we can find "Vengeance et Sacrifice. De l'opposition à la réconciliation" ["Vengeance and

Sacrifice: From Opposition to Reconciliation"] by L. Scubla. This article corresponds with the lecture Scubla gave

at the "Colloquium on Vengeance" at Stanford in October 1988 and which has already been published in the

Stanford French Review. The following article of J. P. Dupuy has also been taken from this review: "John Rawls et

la question du sacrifice" ["John Rawls and the Question of Sacrifice"]. A more detailed form of this text can be

found in the book Le Sacrifice et L'Envie[Sacrifice and Envy] (1992) written by J.P. Dupuy.

Raymund Schwager


Future Meetings

Meeting in New Orleans

There will be two sessions just prior to AAR/SBL in New Orleans, one in the afternoon of Friday, November 22,

the other in the morning of Saturday, November 23. Both will take place in the Sheraton Oakley Room. They will

be listed in the AAR/SBL program book under "Additional Meetings". The program book will have only the title of

each session. But here is the full program information except for the names of the moderators.

Friday, November 22, 3:45-6:15 p.m.

The Book of Revelation

"'Whoever is not with Me is against Me': Witchcraft Accusations and the Revelation of John"

Paul Duff, George Washington University

Respondents: Diana Culbertson, Kent State University

James G. Williams, Syracuse University

Saturday, November 23, 9-11:30 a.m.

Biblical and Literary Texts

9-10:15 Women in the Bible

"Inflamers and the Lizzie Bordens of Ancient Israel: Women Who Slay or Cause Wrongful Deaths"

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Meredith College

Respondent: Julia Shinnick, Texas University

10:45-11:30 Ibsen, Mimesis, and Sacrifice

"Ibsen's Brand in Light of René Girard's Theory of Mimesis"

William Mishler, University of Minnesota

Religion - Literatur - Kunst: im Dialog - oder doch nicht?

Symposium in Innsbruck from March 3-7, 1997 organized by the Institut für Dogmatische und Ökumenische

Theologie der Universität Innsbruck. If you want to participate please send an abstract to Peter Tschuggnall,

Institut für Dogmatische und Ökumenische Theologie, Universitätsstraße 4, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria; Tel.: 0043

512 507-8567; Fax.: 0043 512 507-2959

1997, June 24-27: COV&R Meeting in Graz: Film and Modernity: Violence, Sacrifice and


As already indicated in the last issue of the Bulletin our next meeting will be held in Graz, Austria, in the context of

the Second European Ecumenical Assembly. The projected program was sketched at the meeting in Stanford, June

1996, was unanimously approved there, and will be given in detail in the next Bulletin. The team in Graz is very

grateful for all helpful contributions so far and is looking forward to a broad international participation. (Cost will be

moderate: 200.00 US$.)

Please send your confirmation for participation to Prof. G. Larcher, Institut für Fundamentaltheologie der

Universität Graz, A-8010 Graz, Bürgergasse 3; Tel.: 0043 316/825300; Fax.: 0043 316/825300-4

(Note: our Institute has to move within Graz in January 1997 to A-8010 Graz, Attemsgasse 8/II)


New Books

Alison, James: Raising Abel: The Recovery of the Eschatological Imagination. New York: Crossroads,


Gebauer, Gunter and Wulf, Christoph (eds.): Mimesis: Culture, Art, Society. Berkely: University of

California Press, 1996.

Pelckmans, Paul and Vanheeswijck, Guido (eds.): René Girard, het labyrint van het verlangen: Zes

opstellen. Kampen: Kok Agora/Kapellen: Pelckmans, 1996.


COV&R Mailing List

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Judith H. Arias


Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

East Carolina University

Greenville, NC 27858-4353