For those versed in Mimetic Theory who want to explore its deeper implications, T&P Contributing Theologian Rev. Paul Nuechterlein will present an overview of René Girard’s Mimetic Theory as a wholistic anthropology of human beings in their interpersonal, institutional, and cultural dimensions.

Some basic concepts of MT will be explained — in other words, there will be more emphasis this year on the “101” part of the title than the “Advanced” part — all with an eye to Martin Luther King Jr’s “Trinity of Evils”. [King’s Three Evils Speech]

  1. Overview of M. L. King’s philosophy of Beloved Community as an alternative, intentional community of living in nonviolent resistance to, and healing from, the Trinity of Evils: Poverty, Racism, Militarism.
  2. Panel discussion with faculty members from American Baptist College and Lipscomb University. Questions will include:
    • What aspects of these two perspectives need further clarification?
    • What light can these two philosophies shed on one another? Are there conflicting aspects?
    • Are there elements of Mimetic Theory that might hinder living into Beloved Community?

In the first part Paul will elaborate Mimetic Theory with an eye to our topic, particularly (1) how racial prejudice is mimetically reproduced in interpersonal relationships, and (2) how the Trinity of Evils are manifestations of the Scapegoat Mechanism embedded in Western institutions and cultures. Being much more familiar with Mimetic Theory than with the work of Martin Luther King, Jr., Paul turns to disciples of King in bringing the two together, especially in discussing the general panel questions above.

And as a white person — who wears the blinders of white privilege, even though I work to diminish their effect — I seek the perspective of colleagues of color who can help me see what I might be missing.


Joseph Tribble, M.Div. is Instructor of Religious Studies and Student Life Director at American Baptist College. He holds a B.A. from Fisk University, and a M.Div. from Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Phyllis Hildreth, J.D. is Director of Grants Management and Strategic Partnership at American Baptist College, and serves as faculty for Lipscomb University’s College of Leadership and Public Service. She holds a B.A. in Biology from Harvard University, a J.D. from University of Maryland School of Law, and a M.A. in Conflict Management from Lipscomb University.

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 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.

Advanced Mimetic Theory 101 will be held Tuesday morning, 9:00-11:45 AM in the Fine Arts Room in the Library (the primary meeting space).