The contribution of this book to the field of reconciliation is both theoretical and practical, recognizing that good theory guides effective practice and practice is the ground for compelling theory. Using a Girardian hermeneutic as a starting point, a new conceptual Gestalt emerges in these essays, one not fully integrated in a formal way but showing a clear understanding of some of the challenges and possibilities for dealing with the deep divisions, enmity, hatred, and other effects of violence. By situating discourse about reconciliation within the context of Girardian thought, it becomes clear that—like Peter who vowed he would never deny Jesus but ended up doing it three times—any of us is susceptible to the siren call of angry resentment and retaliation. It is with a profound awareness of the power of violence that the emergence of mimetic discourse around reconciliation takes on particular urgency.
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Vern Neufeld Redekop is a full professor in the School of Conflict Studies at Saint Paul University, Ottawa. He is the co-author of Introduction to Conflict Studies: Empirical, Theoretical, and Ethical Dimensions (2012) and Beyond Control: A Mutual Respect Approach to Protest Crowd – Police Relations (2010).
Thomas Ryba is Notre Dame Theologian-in-Residence at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center as well as lecturer in philosophy and religious studies and adjunct professor of Jewish studies at Purdue University.
Professor Rene Girard contended that mimetic violence and rivalry are at the center of all conflict and the sacrifice of a victim brings about harmony until the next round of conflict escalation. Dr. Vern Redekop and Dr. Thomas Ryba break new ground in the Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) field by applying Girard’s often-viewed controversial theory of violence to the reconciliation, forgiveness, and nonviolent processes of societies transitioning out of violence. This new study is a must read for PACS students, scholars, and practitioners as well as policymakers and NGOs. (Sean Byrne, University of Manitoba)
This book is an invitation and a gift to the conscience of humankind. It engages a seminal thinker as Rene Girard in conversations that are generative and promising for all those who are concerned by violence and its seduction. It is a new beginning for conflict resolution as a field of study. (Andrea Bartoli, Seton Hall University)
Creative Reconciliation, an interdisciplinary, globally-contextualized anthology, engages and transcends Girardian mimetic and scapegoat theory to deal with diverse complexities of, and justification for violence amid the amazing litanies of reconciliation. The volume critiques violence and works for justice, blessing, and healing amidst dynamics of hermeneutics, truth-telling, mimesis, hospitality, and religion. It is a must read for anyone who deals theoretically and/or practically with systems of conflict, violence, and injustice; for anyone who hopes for a better world. (Dr. Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan, Shaw University Divinity School)
The authors marry an analytical “taxonomy of the human soul” with sophisticated psychological insights into identity, reconciliation, and justice. Like an artist blending a thousand colors into a masterpiece painting, this volume for the advanced peacebuilding expert brings into striking dialogue the resonant voices of important scholars. (Lisa Schirch, Eastern Mennonite University)
Through their broad exploration of Rene Girard’s notion of mimesis, the authors of this book provide a deep dive into the reality of identity-based conflict that often erupts from rage and envy. Such conflicts — in the family, down the hallway, in the workplace, and most of all between ethnic groups — are deep and even murderous. Through analysis, case studies, and wide ranging philosophical excursions the authors share the urgency and possibilities of reconciliation that can be fostered out of confrontation with the image of the Other within, and empathy that may emerge from true encounter with the Other that is without. This book provides a missing key to the reasons and ways of such reconciliation. Here’s hoping educators, conflict resolvers, policy makers, and local leaders will read and follow its wisdom. (Jay Rothman, Bar Ilan University, author of From Identity-Based Conflict to Identity-Based Cooperation (2012))
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