Secular Bible Study Message Board SBS Meetup Handouts & Notes › Satan Girard Clarification for 7/7's Meeting Part 3

Satan Girard Clarification for 7/7's Meeting Part 3

Chester O.
user 8161442
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 46
The example of Michael Jordan and his shoes indicates my point, I think, but it is relatively innocuous because most people can buy them and because it does not really threaten Michael Jordan in any way. However, when objects of desire, a particular woman or a position of power or prestige for examples, cannot be had by more than one person, conflict ensues between two parties. Mimetic desire spirals into reciprocal violence between two parties that can only end with a single victor. Further, Girard maintains that at a certain point in the reciprocal process, the object of desire loses its significance, and is replaced by a mimesis of violence – since, again, the object of desire itself was never the real object of desire, but rather the sense of being conferred upon the person by the object. The parties end up simply mimicking each other’s violence until the final blow can be delivered. On a community-wide scale, particularly in the context of a threat or crisis or when social ties are weak, unrestrained mimesis can tear apart a community. Rules, laws and mores, Girard argues, are put in place in order to regulate and keep under control mimetic desire within the community. Satan is the “tempter,” who seeks to initiate the process and have it spread throughout the community, as well as the “accuser” who provides its resolution, a sacrifice.

I do hope that this extremely brief summary of scapegoating and myth and its important social function includes enough details to makes sense. Perhaps not? I am sure you all have questions. If you have time, I highly recommend reading some of the books on the bibliography, which I included on the last page of last night’s handouts, which I’ll also include at the end of this essay. If I can answer any of your questions in a reasonable amount of space, I’ll do my best to do so.

I am also aware that I did not touch upon what the gospels and parts of the Bible have to say about any of this. What is important to note, for Girard, is that the gospels and parts of the Bible are functioning to bring awareness of the scapegoating mechanism and the stories of victimization behind mythology. This is not necessarily done by the gospel and biblical writers in an overtly conscious way; it is more the perspective they bring that makes this awareness or, dare I say, revelation possible: Whereas myth is told from the perspective of the persecutors, the gospels and significant parts of the Bible are told from the perspective of victims, the historically oppressed Hebrew people (Hebrew, by the way, actually means “oppressed”). This is not, again, to say that the victim’s voice always comes through in the Bible; it does not. Myth, in the Girardian sense, plagues the Bible, as well – but is called into question in the prophets, Job, and especially the gospels. For Girard, the mythological elements in the gospels act to subvert and overturn mythology and expose the scapegoating mechanism. There are a variety of examples of this that I could explain in further detail, if you like, such as in making a comparison between Jesus’ transfiguration and resurrection with those found in certain myths. There are necessarily similarities, but the similarities encourage us to make comparisons to other myths, which make us aware of the infinitely more important differences.

I look forward to questions and responses. As for now, I’ off to go buy some Air Jordans!
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