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by Chris Fleming (Malden: Polity Press 2004), 164 pages with notes, bibliography and index

Prior to this appearance of this book, Richard Golson’s Rene Girard and Myth stood as the leading contender for introductions to Girard’s mimetic theory. This book does not replace the excellent work of Golson but is a more subtle introduction in that Fleming explicates each of the stages of the mimetic theory within the context of current literary, philosophical and anthropological studies. The brief biographical introduction of Girard is rare for a work in English but much appreciated.

It is difficult to find flaws in Fleming’s analysis of mimetic theory. Like most authors, Fleming approaches the question beginning with mimesis and rivalry, moving to the question of myth and history and finally asking about the relation of the Bible to mimetic theory and the continuing role of Scripture as it speaks to the humanities. There is nothing new here. But mimetic theory does not depend upon novelty, and Fleming does not make stuff up as he goes along, he sticks closely to the Girardian corpus and each chapter is filled with copious references to Girard’s oeuvre.

Fleming is concerned to interpret Girard by Girard, using interviews and essays to flesh out what Girard has said in his major works. One might get the impression that Fleming is quite taken with Girard and does not obtain critical distance, but his scholarship runs both broad and deep and it would appear that Fleming has made a case for the extraordinary power and heuristic potential of mimetic theory. Fleming does not shy away from the tough anthropological or literary questions that mimetic theory raises, tackling them and their proponents each in his or her own turn without rancor and with a wry wit. This book is a must for every student of Rene Girard and mimetic theory.

Books by Michael Hardin

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Reading the Bible With René Girard

A Wonderful Tool!

“Michael Hardin's website, PreachingPeace.org, strikes me as a wonderful tool for preachers who need more scriptural, historical and exegetical information as they prepare their sermons. It is well written, easy to use, and very well informed both in terms of traditional scholarship and of the ‘mimetic theory.’ Using PreachingPeace.org, with its breadth of reflection and its wealth of documentation, speakers will be able to enliven their presentations by presenting contemporary examples in a new light.” // René Girard

A Vital Resource!

“Rene Girard has been a godsend to many, as he has helped–as Karl Barth and John Yoder help–many to rediscover the strange new world of the Bible. Indeed, part of that rediscovery involves the surprise that the Gospel frees us from the violence that grips our lives. This web site wonderfully provides resources for the kind of discussion we so desperately need if we are not to lose hold of the nonviolence of the Gospel.” // Stanley Hauerwas


A Fresh Understanding

Your site and other Girardian insights have helped rejuvenate my understanding of Jesus, the Gospel and preaching…in my 37th year of priesthood. Thank you! - Larry Estey


An Amazing Resource

What better resource is there for we who’s calling it is to “proclaim the fullness of peace in messiah Jesus” than having a weekly opportunity to overhear what is really new about God’s good news to the peoples of planet earth? - Grayson Lucky



As someone who has worked a lot recently with "Jewish Christian dialogue," I was especially pleased to see how user-friendly it was, and how encouraging of open and probing discussion–an important step, I think, in the process of peacemaking. - Sandor Goodhart President, Colloquium on Violence and Religion


Life Changing

I wanted to write you a note and tell you thanks for the work you are doing via the Preaching Peace website. For years now I have read your lectionary commentaries and have found them extremely helpful, if not life-altering. -Rev. Dr. John Mann, Scotland


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Thank you for your site. It’s been a big help to me for a couple of years now as I seek to communicate the radical discipleship commitment of peacemaking in a graceful way to the congregation I pastor. - (The Rev.) Charles Booker-Hirsch Pastor, Northside Presbyterian Church

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