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Questioning the HumanToward a Theological Anthropology for the Twenty-First Century$
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Lieven Boeve, Yves De Maeseneer, and Ellen Van Stichel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257522

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257522.001.0001

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Desire, Mimetic Theory, and Original Sin

Desire, Mimetic Theory, and Original Sin

Chapter:
(p.164) Chapter 10 Desire, Mimetic Theory, and Original Sin
Source:
Questioning the Human
Author(s):

Wilhelm Guggenberger

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823257522.003.0011

Relationality and culture are themselves highly ambiguous phenomena as theological ethicist Wilhelm Guggenberger reminds us in this chapter. Drawing on René Girard’s attempt to reveal the transcultural foundation of human community and its inherent violence, Guggenberger develops a fundamental dramatic-theological interpretation of original sin and grace. If human beings are mimetic beings by nature, even neurologically hardwired to be so, our desires are formed in our imitation of models. The theological-anthropological question is about the kind of relations we want to foster and about how to break the cultural mechanism whereby rivalry, exclusion, and resentment rule. Our globalizing consumer culture is an important point of reference here. The understanding of original sin as the dynamism of negative mimesis requires a profound process of conversion. In this context, grace must be understood as the occurrence that makes an escape from the vicious cycle of violence possible, opening our desire of becoming receptive to, and of finding fulfillment in, a truly human community.

Keywords:   René Girard, Original sin, Mimetic theory, Community, Grace, Violence

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