Towards Reconciliation: Understanding Violence and the Sacred After Rene Girard (Paperback)
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Why do humans sacralise the causes for which they fight? Who will decipher for us the enigma of 'sacred violence'? Paul Gifford shows that the culture theorist and fundamental anthropologist Rene Girard has in fact decoded the obscurely 'foundational' complicity between violence and the sacred, showing why it is everybody's problem and the Problem of Everybody. Rene Girard's mimetic theory, especially his neglected writings on biblical texts, can be read as an anthropological argument continuous with Darwin, shedding formidable new light to a vast array of dark and knotted things: from the functioning of the world's oldest temple to today's terrorist violence, from the Cross of Christ to the Good Friday Agreement, such insights illuminate superbly ('from below') the ways of creation, revelation, redemption - which is to say, ultimately, the Christian enterprise and vocation of Reconciliation. Here is a novel and exciting resource for scanning the hidden 'sacrificial' logic that still secretly shapes cultural, social, and political life today. Girard puts us ahead of the game in the key dialogues required if we are to avoid autogenerated apocalypses of human violence in the world of tomorrow.
About the Author
Paul Gifford is Buchanan Professor Emeritus of the University of St Andrews, where for ten years he directed the University's Institute of Cultural Identity Studies. He worked with Rene Girard as Invited Scholar at Stanford University and as Visiting Research Fellow of the Girardian foundation, Imitatio. He has co-edited two collections of Girardian essays published by Michigan University Press: Can We Survive Our Origins? (2015) and How We Became Human (2015).