Culture, Theory and Critique vol:52 issue:2-3 pages:323-335
This paper investigates René Girard’s contribution to the theological debate on the meaning of the cross. The first section sets the scene and formulates the problem of the cross. It does this by introducing the problems connected to the dominant interpretation of the cross, the so-called ‘Anselmian’ model , which understands the cross in terms of satisfaction and substitution. The second section explores the interpretation of the cross before Anselm. It examines the so-called Christus Victor motif. The merits and shortcomings of this motif are explored and the question is raised of whether Christus Victor can answer the problem of the cross for today’s world. The final and largest section of this paper rehabilitates the Christus Victor motif with the help of Girard. In this way, the paper shows that Girard fits into contemporary theological debates and that he matters for theology because his anthropological insights contribute to solving intra-theological problems, like the problem of the cross.