In Desire Found Me, André Rabe does a wonderful job of communicating highly detailed information in beautifully poetic ways. René Girard’s mimetic theory has not quite yet entered the mainstream, but a book like this could go a long way in changing that. As someone who has studied mimetic theory for some time, I have to admit it was actually this book that helped coalesce many of the ideas and concepts together in easy-to-understand ways.
Rabe begins Desire Found Me by offering insight into how human beings learn and develop relationships through desire. The first four chapters of the book are an introduction to mimetic theory and how the book of Genesis should be read in light of Girard’s work. Rabe does a wonderful job explaining human behavior before shedding light on how compelling of a book Genesis is. This first section really sets up the remainder of the book.
In the second section, Rabe offers an insightful and a detailed exposé of many of the developing themes contained in the Hebrew Scriptures. He compares and contrasts the progressing Jewish faith with other cultures’ practices in the area. Rabe offers a compelling argument that the ancient Jews, at one time, were henotheists (those who worshipped one god while believing in the existence of others), engaged in human sacrifice, and how their understanding of evil progressed over time. This was not a cut and dried thing, as Rabe contends: “the human story is chaotic.” This is true about the Jewish story as well. Chaos, murder, and mayhem are prevalent throughout, but Rabe is able to offer great insight into how revelation about God throughout the Old Testament progresses toward what would become the full revelation of God in Christ Jesus.
In the third and final section, André is at his best. After setting the stage in the first two sections, Rabe delivers a wonderfully detailed description of the death and resurrection of Jesus. He offers a compelling argument for a nonviolent atonement, replacing the less-than-compelling substitutionary models. In addition, Rabe offers solid exegesis of the anti-sacrificial passages contained in Hebrews 10. His concluding chapter, “Beautiful Contrasts,” is the perfect ending to a very good read..
All in all, this is a crucial book for today’s Christianity. There is a lot going on in this book, but Rabe keeps one engaged the entire time. I recommend it to anyone who is willing to question some of the more popular, albeit medieval, doctrinal views of Western Christianity. This is a vital resource and it is my hope that more and more people discover André and Desire Found Me.