Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
February 17th, 2014 by Joel Watts

Mimesis in 3 models

English: Icon of Jesus Christ

English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter Nesteruk has suddenly become a must read for those of us interesting in mimesis and mimetic criticism of texts. He presents three models of mimesis.

The first he labels “Mimesis of the Same.” Simply, hyperbole or “an imaginary community of identification.”

In the Gospel of Mark, we can see this in the use of the Elijah-Elisha narratives, especially in Mark 6–8.

His second model is “Mimesis of the other.” The basis of this mimesis is “an enemy to be either destroyed or incorporated; but to be learnt from first.” It is a “(a) mimesis whose origin may be ourselves. Mirror mimesis.”

I would propose we see this in the use of Vespasian and Simon bar Giora in the Gospel of Mark as the other, the enemy.

And finally, “Mimesis of the Other (unmistakably, unquestionably, the Other). As fear, as terror; as the Sublime relation – the very configuration of the Sublime relation.” And “Mimesis in the context of this shadow play is simultaneously the desire to understand larger matters (matters larger than ourselves) and to justify the existence of current totems, the masks of power. The Mimetic paradox.”

Somehow, I think this last model may help us understand more the Incarnation and Hebrews 1.1–3.

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Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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