Scripture as Conversation – 2017

The intention of this course is to help us understand the relationship between scripture and myth and why that is relevant to us today. What are the underlying messages contained in these stories? What do ancient myths have in common with the Bible and, very significantly, where do they differ? We therefore have to explore the events that gave rise to our ancient stories.

Peering into our prehistoric past, attempting to understand the problems our ancestors faced and how they went about solving them, is obviously a very complicated task. Significantly, human sacrifice seems to be a universal phenomenon and the first sign of a new civilization. Archaeological evidence shows that most of these early communities were religious or at least ritualistic. Some form of sacrificial system was at the heart of primitive communities. Why?

In this course we will trace the processes of desire from its personal mimetic origins to its social implications. Mimetic theory contemplates the very origins of human civilizations. Twisted desire gives birth to conflict. Conflicts within communities often lead to the single victim mechanism. These ancient origins of the practice of sacrifice are the beginning of ritual and religion, which in turn is the foundation for some of the first civilizations. However, being actors within this cycle of violence means that humans have been mostly blind to the processes that formed and sustained our societies. We will also see how the scriptures begin to undo this blindness and question the most fundamental assumptions of the myths of sacred violence.

Course begins March 2017