Charles Sturt University
PACT - Public and Contextual Theology

PACT Research Professor meets John Milbank

Leading international theologian John Milbank and his priest/theologian wife Alison made their first visit to Australia in January. During a busy week of speaking engagements in Sydney, Professor Milbank spent a morning with PACT Research Professor Scott Cowdell.

Milbank is the founder of radical orthodoxy, a controversial theological push that seeks to expose the modern secular as a failed theological strategy. Accordingly, he regards social science as offering a dangerously limited view of human existence. Milbank has particular concerns about the mimetic theory of RenĂ© Girard, who he accuses of placing violence at the origin of reality. If this assessment is correct, Girard would contravene Christian faith in God’s good creation, into which violence entered only through humanity’s fall.

Scott was keen to meet the visitor, since his continuing research project focusses on these issues. He presented Milbank with a copy of his new book, René Girard and the Nonviolent God, in which he discusses the radical orthodoxy critique at length.

“We got on extremely well,” Scott reports, adding that a rapprochement between radical orthodoxy and mimetic theory is what he is working towards in his next book.

Caption: Scott Cowdell drinking coffee with John Milbank in Sydney