In an interview with Stephen Berry, René Girard noted that one of the greatest scenes in the Gospel in from the literature, the denial is by Peter.
This is because of Peter symbol for all people.
One can not resist the “mimetic contagion,” said Girard.
If you are in a crowd you are literally contaminated by the crowd in a crowd.
One of the things that the Gospel tells us of an anthropological perspective is to demonstrate the omnipotence of the crowd.
And that only Jesus can conquer the power of the public.
Girard notes that this remembers him from attempting to Christianity to adapt to the many voices in culture (because that’s the crowd).
A young girl elicits Peter denial.
He looks at the words in the Gospel of John that tells us about the girl who accuses Peter that he is a disciple of Jesus.
It was a young girl (παιδίσκη).
Girard will find this important.
Why is stated that they are young?
Not because he thinks Peter will be tempted sexually, but that the girl has a job that would not have an old woman.
Maybe if she was an old woman she would not similarly, respond to Peter.
Another thing that the gospel us says that the young girl
Peter’s accent recognized as being of Galilee
What marks him as a foreigner.
She was drawing lines, making them substantially Peter Marks if not part of the crowd.
So what do all the people when they are excluded from a group?
They want to prove that they have related equipment.
Peter wants to show that he is on the side of the crowd.
And because the only way to show is that you become part of the crowd and has joined the scapegoat mechanism.
If I have the same enemy I am one of you.
Peter finds himself than the mob slaughter sacrifices Jesus as a scapegoat.
So the gospel you get subtle hints about Peter motivation,
that are universally human.
That’s why Peter should not be labelled as a “weak” person for betraying Jesus.
Peter represents all apostles because he is the leader.
This is why Girard the scene of Peter’s denial and find absolutely priceless.
Girard asks rhetorically, how can we all
The convictions have our time?
Only a few centuries ago everyone believed in God automatically.
Now everyone does not automatically believe in him.
But that is purely the crowd phenomenon.
And it is not due to the “strong scientific arguments”
it is just Peter his denial.
That’s all it is.
Girard makes a very striking assertion that Peter’s denial story in John’s Gospel is an infinitely more powerful story what society than any other text.
But then there is also the fact that Peter is unaware of what he is doing.
Girard notes that this is extremely important.
The Gospels do not tell us that Peter was unaware of what he was doing,
Instead, he says that the rooster crowed the third time and did Peter remembering what he had forgotten, exactly that thing that Jesus had foretold.
Because Jesus listening to his Father he understood the human condition and mimetic desire and that Peter would be part of the audience.
If you have additional suggestions, I’d love to hear! Place your comments below.
With love xx
Annemie Persyn Declercq