Article: Mimesis as Common Ground for Spirituality and Spiritual Theology, by David B. Perrin

In this article, Professor David Perrin focuses on Paul Ricoeur's mimetic theory as a resource for research in Christian spirituality and spiritual theology. Here is the article's abstract:

A shorter version of this article was first presented at a conference titled The Study of Christian Spirituality and Spiritual Theology: Evolving Methodologies sponsored by the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality and The Forum of Professors of Spirituality Theology in Rome, Italy, September 25-28, 2019. The essay presents the mimetic framework -- that is, theory of representation -- of the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur as a theoretical tool that would allow researchers to embrace each of the unique contributions that Christian spirituality and spiritual theology make in research methodology as partners. Ricoeur's mimetic theory suggests a cyclical understanding of a work -- conceptual, artistic, narrative, or other -- that is never complete. The researcher is always thrown back into the primordial world of our originary rootedness to "think some more." Research methodology -- whether from within spirituality or spiritual theology -- continually returns us to the "world-of-the-work" -- a mimesis -- to interpret new models of being-in-the-world: a task common to both.


Perrin, David B. “Mimesis as Common Ground for Spirituality and Spiritual Theology.” Offerings: A Journal of Christian Spirituality and Practical Theology, 13 (2020), 45-65.

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