For those versed in Mimetic Theory who want to explore its deeper implications, T&P Contributing Theologian Rev. Paul Nuechterlein will outline the ways in which Girard’s thought operates in several dimensions of being human — interdividual, or interpersonal, as well as social, institutional, and cultural. This year’s conference seeks to address Christian practices of conversion and transformation in these various dimensions.

A primary resource for this Advanced MT 101 will be Walter Wink’s The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man (Fortress, 2002). Wink, one of the founding members of the Colloquium on Violence & Religion (COV&R), elaborates on the proposal that Jesus saw himself as an archetype for human transformation. The last day of this year’s conference (May 25) is Ascension Day. Wink uses the Ascension as a summary of his conclusions:

Something has been accomplished on this mission of descending and ascending. To what has the Human Being ascended? Certainly to visibility. In passage after passage, the stress is on “seeing” the Human Being, either coming or going, ascending or descending. … [W]e can take it as the accurate report of an archetypal mutation. … Something that had been gestating for centuries, since Ezekiel and Daniel, had come to birth in the psyches of the disciples. The Human Being whose divine power and authority they had seen incarnate in Jesus, and occasionally in themselves, had now entered the heart of reality as a catalyst in human transformation. Like a bell that reverberates to the core of our being, the Human Being is, as it were, an invitation to become the fullness of who we are. And with the invitation comes the power to do it. (p. 249)

Paul Nuechterlein is a noted expert in interpreting the Bible through the lens of René Girard’s Mimetic Theory, with an eye to both theology and anthropology. A student of Girard’s work for 25 years, Paul has built and maintains this website, Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary, which averages more than 1,000 visits each day from people across denominations and around the world. Recently retired after 30 years of parish ministry in ELCA congregations, he is now able to devote full-time to his passion for spreading the Gospel of peace and justice, which he believes is at the heart of Jesus’ faith. He is Director of a new seminar ministry venture, Discipleship Seminars in Mimetic Theory. Paul is currently the Contributing Theologian for Theology and Peace and has also served on the Board of COV&R.

Tuesday morning 9:30AM-12:00PM.

Recommended Reading: The Human Being, by Walter Wink; The Practice of the Presence of God: Theology as a Way of Life, ed. by Martin Laird and Sheelah Treflé Hidden, (Routledge, 2016).