Scapegoating

I know I took new philosophical and theological studies off the table, but the work of René Girard barely made it under the wire—I first looked at it about a year ago—and if I was going to relax my determination for anyone it would be Girard. (Oh, and Ivan Illich … how many exceptions am I allowed again?)

This FAQ gives a very quick overview of Girard’s mimetic theory. By itself it isn’t enough to fully convey what Girard is getting at, but if you’ve already had your own suspicions about the phenomena which Girard explains the FAQ may inspire you to explore his thought further.

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2 thoughts on “Scapegoating

  1. I can’t remember whether we’ve had this conversation before, but I really like Girard! That said, as practical and emotional life have loomed large in the past few years, I have put aside the philosophy and the more esoteric theology as well. Some of it was just sending me off on little personal eccentricities that can be blinding and are not the true purpose of either. But hopefully the good stuff stuck, and yes, Girard was one of my exceptions because of all the good articles about him that came out when he died in late 2015. I read a really nice one about James V. Schall this morning as well.

    Anyway, I think these puttings aside can do a lot of good and give perspective, because if/when you pick them up again you see what was truly valuable while culling the merely academic.

  2. Laura,

    Girard was one of my exceptions because of all the good articles about him that came out when he died in late 2015.

    After nearly sixty years of reading it’s rare for me to come across a totally new idea–not that they aren’t out there, just that my reading patterns are ever less likely to turn them up. So I marveled when Girard presented me with not one but three Big Ideas I’d never considered. And it was even more impressive that each built on the next. And most impressive of all that the final idea explains what separates Christianity from all other religions.

    I think these puttings aside can do a lot of good and give perspective, because if/when you pick them up again you see what was truly valuable while culling the merely academic.

    Agreed. I had that experience strongly with Dallas Willard. Twenty years ago when I first read him it was exciting but academic, and after a couple of years I didn’t consciously think about what I’d learned. But when I re-read him a couple of years back I understood him much more deeply, having practiced much of what he taught in the meantime (due to having read him? I don’t know). And I can also see his weaknesses, mainly where he tries to be comprehensive–what he knows he really knows, but when he extends his thought to all of Christian life he sometimes falls back on received wisdom.

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