Edited by Jeremiah L. Alberg
The thought of René Girard on violence, sacrifice, and mimetic theory has exerted a strong influence on Japanese scholars as well as around the world. In this collection of essays, originating from a Tokyo conference on violence and religion, scholars call on Girardian ideas to address apocalyptic events that have marked Japan’s recent history as well as other aspects of, primarily, Japanese literature and culture. Girard’s theological notion of apocalypse resonates strongly with those grappling with the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as events such as the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In its focus on Girard and devastating violence, the contributors raise issues of promise and peril for us all.
The essays in Part I of the volume are primarily rooted in the events of World War II. The contributors employ mimetic theory to respond to the use of nuclear weapons and the threat of absolute destruction. Essays in Part II cover a wide range of topics in Japanese cultural history from the viewpoint of mimetic theory, ranging from classic and modern Japanese literature to anime. Essays in Part III address theological questions and mimetic theory, especially from a Judeo-Christian perspective.
Contributors: Jeremiah L. Alberg, Jean-Pierre Dupuy, Yoko Irie Fayolle, Eric Gans, Sandor Goodhart, Shoichiro Iwakari, Mizuho Kawasaki, Kunio Nakahata, Andreas Oberprantacher, Mery Rodriguez, Thomas Ryba, Richard Schenk, OP, Roberto Solarte, Matthew Taylor, and Anthony D. Traylor.
“This is the first major interdisciplinary response to Girard’s apocalyptic-themed late work Achever Clausewitz. The Japanese cultural material explored here not only reveals evidence for aspects of the mimetic theory from folk history, literature, theatre, and popular culture (e.g., anime), but from a non-Western nation it raises the question of necessary Judeo-Christian input into the revealing of scapegoating dynamics.” — Scott Cowdell, Charles Sturt University, Canberra, Australia
“Rather than a compendium of essays, this book comprises an entire curriculum for rethinking our understanding of religion and scientific rationality and everything in between, including and especially the looming prospect of planetary catastrophe. Through the lens of René Girard’s mimetic anthropology, the essays in this volume by scholars on both sides of the Pacific range from issues in geopolitics to folk customs, from biblical exegesis to Japanese film, anime, and manga. Abounding with stunning insights into the explanatory scope of Girard’s ideas, every contribution is cogently argued and abundantly researched. It delights the intellect, stretching its potential; it collectively provides an urgently needed epistemology for the role of violence in our globally challenging controversies.” — Andrew J. McKenna, emeritus professor of French, Loyola University Chicago