DSPT Events

René Girard and World Religions

Symposium at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley Flora Lamson Hewlett Library and Easton Hall

April 14-16, 2011

Former DSPT Professor Richard Schenk, OP, as a member of GTU's Core Doctoral Faculty, joined forces with a prominent professor of systematic theology from the Jesuit University of Innsbruck, Austria, Wolfgang Palaver, to conceive, organize and carry out an international and interreligious symposium at the GTU. The symposium on “René Girard and World Religions" was held in the Richard Dinner Board Room of the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library from April 14-16, 2011, and it provided GTU with another opportunity to exercise its chosen role as an "ecumenical and interreligious crossroads" and a "haven for interdisciplinary religious thought." Over a span of three days, some 25 scholars from around the world who are familiar with major religious traditions and/or with the theories developed by René Girard (Stanford) about "mimetic desire", rivalry, violence, and religion discussed how these two fields of positive and theoretical studies can illuminate and challenge one another, just as the world is becoming ever more aware of the potential and the dangers of religion for human flourishing. A short summary by Wolfgang Palaver of the speakers and the proceedings is available on pages 4-7 of the May online edition of the COV&R Bulletin.


Featuring the Public Lecture by Mark Juergensmeyer, UC Santa Barbara: "Girard and Religion in an Age of Terrorism" Thursday, April 14, 2011, 7:30 p.m. The Ecumenical Center (GTU/UCC).

Organization: Wolfgang Palaver (Innsbruck) and Richard Schenk (Berkeley)

Greeting: James A. Donahue, President of the Graduate Theological Union


Thursday, April 14, Flora Lamson Hewlett Library - 2:00 pm

I. Situating Girard's Understanding of Religions (Moderator: Wolfgang Palaver)

  1. Mimetic Theory as a Theory of Religion (James Alison/São Paulo; Jean-Pierre Dupuy/Paris and Stanford)
  2. Girard and World Religions: The Present State of the Question (Robert Daly/Boston)
  3. Girard and the Historical Schematic of the Patristic-Medieval Tradition of Christianity: Distinguishing Epochs and Conditions ante legem, sub lege, sub gratia (Richard Schenk, GTU/Berkeley)
  4. Girard and Hegel's Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion (Anselm Tilman Ramelow, GTU/Berkeley)
  5. Girard and Voegelin (John Ranieri, Seton Hall)
  6. 7:30 p.m. The Ecumenical Center (GTU/UCC), Public Lecture: Girard and Religion in an Age of Terrorism (Mark Juergensmeyer, Santa Barbara)

II. Beyond Archaic Religion (Friday Morning, April 15, 9:00 A.M., Flora Lamson Hewlett Library. Moderator: Andrew McKenna/Chicago)

  1. Girard's Concept of Archaic Religion with special emphasis on Hölderlin's Vision of Religions (Benoît Chantre, Paris)
  2. From Vedic Traditions to Buddhism (Brian Collins/Chicago)
  3. Girard and Buddhism (Alexander von Rospatt and Jacob Dalton, UCB/Berkeley)
  4. Girard and Hinduism (Noel Sheth, Pune, India)
  5. Sacrifice, the World's Religions, and Christianity (Ted Peters, GTU/Berkeley)

Friday, April 15, Flora Lamson Hewlett Library - 3:00 pm
Moderator: William A. Johnsen/East Lansing, Michigan

III. Girard and Monotheistic Traditions The Abrahamic Revolution (Wolfgang Palaver, Innsbruck)

  1. The Abrahamic Revolution (Wolfgang Palaver, Innsbruck)
  2. Judaism and the Exodus from Archaic Religion (Sandor Goodhart, Purdue)
  3. Sacrifice in the works of R. Schwager and R. Girard (Nikolaus Wandinger, Innsbruck)
  4. Tawhid: The Oneness of God and the Desire for the Good (Adam Ericksen, Raven Foundation, Illinois)
  5. Islam: Law and Violence (Rüdiger Lohlker, Vienna)

Saturday, April 16, CDSP, Easton Hall - 9:00 am
Moderator: Richard Schenk

IV. Religion in and after an Age of Criticism 17. Girard and Religion in the Age of Secularism (Otto Kallscheuer, Berlin)

  1. Girard and Religion in the Age of Secularism (Otto Kallscheuer, Berlin)
  2. Girard, Rousseau and Religion (Jeremiah Alberg, Tokyo)
  3. Girard, S. Weil und Religion (Ann Astell, Notre Dame/Princeton)
  4. Girard and the Feminist Critique of Religion (Martha J. Reineke, Cedar Falls
  5. Concluding Remarks (Robert Hamerton-Kelly, Portland, Oregon)