In his seminal work, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, the erudite German scholar Erich Auerbach argues that the Bible portrays the human condition in a radically new way compared to contemporary Greco-Roman literature. While Auerbach’s complex thesis is beyond the purview of this editorial, the essence of his theory can be distilled into this: Biblical characters are presented as psychologically “alive”, evoking a form of dramatic realism, whereas Greek and Roman heroes are exalted yet inert figures devoid of any semblance to reality. Auerbach attributes this stark difference to the biblical authors’ unique conception of God and His vertical connection with humankind. In other words, because of this divine-human interrelation, biblical figures are compelled to present themselves radically differently, eschewing conventional behaviours.
Though simplified here, Auerbach’s insights remain profound and thought-provoking. By juxtaposing biblical narratives against classic Western texts, he illuminates the Bible’s seminal influence in introducing a dynamic, mimetic representation of reality. Put differently, we are tasked with displaying ourselves in our daily lives in a manner distinct from those around us. Romans 12:2 is just one example of how the apostle Paul was unwavering in guiding fellow Christians on this matter. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV).
This Autumn edition of the Communicator, “The Call of Being Different,” explores what it means to remain faithful to God’s calling and display the unique characteristics of a Christian and Adventist. Our dedicated freelance writers share invaluable insights on related themes: embracing Christ-cantered counterculture, finding identity in Christ, the power of a transformed life, navigating peer pressure as an Adventist youth, persevering amid opposition, cultivating compassion and love, and appreciating diversity within Christ’s body. Through their contributions, we hope readers will be reminded of God’s high calling and inspired to dare to be different as they walk closely in Christ’s steps.
Pastor Sorin Petrof, PhD is the Executive Editor of the SEC Communicator Magazine