the RAVEN FOUNDATION

Why Mimetic Theory?

If you spend any time with Ravens, you will discover that we are mimetic theory nerds. That’s because it forever changed the way we think about ourselves, our faith, and how to make a difference in the world.

Mimetic theory is the biggest, most life-changing idea you’ve never heard of! In the last sixty years since its development by the social theorist Dr. René Girard, it has revolutionized the social sciences and impacted the way we think about ourselves and our desires. Importantly for us here at Raven, Girard’s mimetic insights help us wrestle with the big questions that we must focus on in order to advance nonviolent Christianity and find peace in the world:

  • Why are religion and violence so intertwined and tangled up?
  • Can violence achieve peace?
  • Why did it take a crucified victim to save us?

Mimetic insights helped us understand the violence in the bible, at the cross, and in our world. It has helped us imagine an end to scapegoating by beginning with our own conversion. And it speaks to our longing to be agents of God’s mercy, love and healing presence in the world.

You’ll find ample evidence of why mimetic theory matters to us just from reading our articles, watching our videos, or listening to our podcasts. When you find yourself slapping your forehead and thinking “I never thought about it that way before”, you’re having a mimetic theory moment. It happens to us all the time!

For a more direct introduction to Girard’s insights, we offer the resources on this page. You can start anywhere – just follow your interests and enjoy the excitement of discovering fresh ways to think about God, Christianity, and a workable path to peace.

Resources

Taking Up the Cross

Follow this seven-part introduction to mimetic theory all the way to the cross. Along the way you will find freedom to be your authentic self and discover the path Jesus revealed to loving, merciful community.

Mimetic Insights with Dr. Chris Haw

Explore the big questions of faith and life’s purpose with this multi-part video series featuring Dr. Chris Haw. The series provides an introduction to mimetic theory and the writings of René Girard. Professor of Theology at the University of Scranton, Dr. Chris Haw is the author of “Jesus for President”and “From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart”. He is an important figure in the New Monasticism.

An Introduction to Christianity for Small Groups

Jesus the Forgiving Victim: Listening for the Unheard Voice is an online course created and led by leading mimetic theory theologian, James Alison. Learn more about this amazing resource to encounter the mercy, nonviolence and love of God that permeates the Biblical story.

Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary

If you enjoy discovering new ways to understand familiar Bible texts, this resource is for you. Prepared by leading mimetic theory scholar and Lutheran pastor, Paul Nuechterlein, this unique website offers resources for preaching and teaching Scripture, online events, retreats and workshops.

Mimetic Theory FAQs

Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about mimetic theory. Taken together they provide a good overview of the main ideas of the theory and its relevance to contemporary Christian faith and practice.

Mimetic Theory Glossary

Some terms used in mimetic theory are unfamiliar – mimetic, for one. And sometimes a familiar word is used in an unfamiliar way, words like desire, model and rivalry. This glossary provides a key to understanding the basic vocabulary of mimetic theory.