The Joy of Being Wrong: Original Sin Through Easter Eyes — by James Alison

The Joy of Being Wrong is a work of theological anthropology that looks at original sin (in the Christian tradition) in light of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. James Alison, the author, is a Catholic theologian who is intimately familiar with Girard’s thought and so his anthropological perspective is thoroughly mimetic—he views mimesis as fundamental to what it means to be human.

In one striking passage, Alison compares mimesis to gravity. Mimesis is to psychology what gravity is to psychics. Here he comments on the “draw” of a child to an adult (like its mother):

“This draw, which is what enabled all of us to have access to language and human society, has the same relationship to humans as gravity does to planets. It is the mysterious movement which is nevertheless evidently there (evidently as soon, that is, as it has occurred to someone to ask why things are as they are) and without which there would be chaos. This movement, Oughourlian, following Girard, calls mimesis. It is to psychology what gravity is to psychics. It is made concrete in the imitation, learning, and repetition which is what enables an infant to become a socialized human being. “

The contents of the book are:

Foreword by Sebastian Moore

Part I
Constructing a Theological Anthropology

1.René Girard’s Mimetic Theory
2. The Search for a Theological Anthropology
3. The Search for a Soteriology

Part II
Stretching the Shape of Forgiveness

4. The Resurrection and Original Sin
5. The Intelligence of the Victim and the Distortion of Desire
6. Original Sin Known in Its Ecclesial Overcoming
7. The Trinity, Creation, and Original Sin
8. Hope and Concupiscence
9. Reimagining the Symbol of Original Sin

Part III
Is This What the Church Believes?

10. Is this what the Church Believes?