René Girard: Mimetic Theory

Bibliography of Literature on the Mimetic Theory of René Girard

The Scapegoat: René Girard's Anthropology of Violence and Religion (CBC Radio)


Fr. Robert Barron, "Jesus and the Scapegoat" (January 27, 2002).

Fr. Robert Barron, "The Hunger Games: A Prophecy?" (Mar 27, 2012).

C.S. Morrissey, "The Hunger Games delivers a lesson on divine rescue", The B.C. Catholic (Apr 2, 2012), 7–8.

C.S. Morrissey, "Benedict's preacher deserves better", The B.C. Catholic (Apr 12, 2010), 8.

Austen Ivereigh, "Abuse coverage reveals scapegoat mechanism", America "In All Things" blog (Apr 12, 2010).

"For All" vs. "For Many": "In the scapegoat situation so often captured in the Psalms, it is always 'the many' that encircle, harass and kill 'the one.'"


Sacrifice, Scripture, and Substitution:
Readings in Ancient Judaism and Christianity

Robert J. Daly, S.J., "Sacrifice: the Way to Enter the Paschal Mystery", America (May 12, 2003).

Substitution Socrates Sacrifice Unveiled Wicked

The Genesis of Desire by Jean-Michel Oughourlian

Matthew Hanley, "Reflections on Mercy", The Catholic Thing (April 9, 2010).


Battling to the End: Conversations with René Girard

René Girard, "On War and Apocalypse", First Things 195 (Aug/Sept 2009): 17-22.

Insights with Rene Girard: Chapter 1 of 5 Genesis of Desire

Christianity, Truth, and Weakening Faith: A Dialogue

Insights with Rene Girard: Chapter 1 of 5

Insights with René Girard:

Chapter 1 of 5
René Girard describes the triangular structure of desire — object, model, and subject.

Chapter 2 of 5
René Girard describes how conflicts are resolved, and why human society is not marked by total conflict all the time.

Chapter 3 of 5
What is the connection between myth and Christianity? René Girard responds.

Chapter 4 of 5
"History . . . is a test of mankind," says René Girard, and "mankind is failing that test."

Chapter 5 of 5
René Girard explains how he makes sense of, "On Earth peace, good will toward men."


LA CONVERSION DE L'ART ACHEVER CLAUSEWITZ Battling to the End Christianity, Truth, and Weakening Faith: A Dialogue René Girard books


René Girard: interviews and other Internet texts

Cynthia L. Haven, "Battling to the End", San Francisco Chronicle (Dec 25, 2009).

Cynthia L. Haven, "History is a test. Mankind is failing it", Stanford Magazine (July/August 2009).

Cynthia L. Haven, "Christianity Will Be Victorious, But Only In Defeat": An Interview with René Girard, First Things: On the Square (Jul 16, 2009).

Pierre W. Whalon, "Off with On War",

Grant Kaplan, "An Interview with René Girard", First Things: On the Square (Thursday, November 6, 2008).

Thomas F. Bertonneau, "The Gist of René Girard: Truth versus the Crowd in his Two Most recent Books", (10/08/08).

Cynthia L. Haven, "René Girard: Stanford's provocative immortel is a one-man institution", Stanford Report (June 11, 2008).

René Girard, "The Evangelical Subversion of Myth", in Politics and Apocalypse, Robert Hamerton-Kelly ed. (MSU Press: Studies in Violence, Mimesis, and Culture, 2007).

Joseph Bottum, "Death and Politics", First Things (June/July 2007).

"René Girard's Accusation: Intellectuals are the Castrators of Meaning", An interview with Giulio Meotti in Il Foglio (March 20, 2007); Translation by Paul N. Faraone and Christopher S. Morrissey in Modern Age (Spring 2008): 180-185.

Peter Leithart, "The Pagan West", First Things: On the Square (Sep 6, 2007).

Robert Harrison, "A conversation with Professor René Girard", KZSU Entitled Opinions (Sept/Oct 2005) .

René Girard, "Ratzinger Is Right", New Pespectives Quarterly 22.3 (Summer 2005).

Joseph Bottum, "Easter Morning (for René Girard)", First Things 152 (April 2005): 19.

René Girard, "On Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ", Anthropoetics 10.1 (Spring/Summer 2004).

Brian McDonald, "Violence & the Lamb Slain: An Interview with René Girard", Touchstone (Dec 2003).

Attilio Scarpellini, "The God of the Apocalypse", L'Espresso no. 25 (June 12, 2003).

"Force and Violence", First Things 121 March (2002).

Joseph Bottum, "What Violence Is For", First Things (Dec 2001).

René Girard, "Literature and Christianity: A Personal View", Philosophy and Literature 23.1 (1999) 32-43.

Andrew J. McKenna, "Resurrection from the Underground", First Things 83 (May 1998): 44-45.

Andrew Marr, "Violence and the kingdom of God: Introducing the anthropology of René Girard", Anglican Theological Review (Fall 1998).

"Anthropology, Theology, and René Girard", First Things 65 (Aug/Sep 1996): 2-12.

"The Most Intense Competition of All", First Things 74 (Jun/Jul 1997): 68-86.

René Girard, "Are the Gospels Mythical?", First Things 62 (Apr 1996): 27-31. [Download PDF]

Joseph Bottum, "Girard Among the Girardians", First Things 61 (March 1996): 42-45.


Battling to the End: Conversations with Rene Girard

Book Excerpt: A New Archaic Religion

From Battling to the End: Conversations with René Girard (Michigan State University Press, 2009).

If we had said in the 1980s that Islamism would play the role it plays today, people would have thought we were crazy. Yet the ideology promoted by Stalin already contained para-religious components that foreshadowed the increasingly radical contamination that has occurred over time. Europe was less malleable in Napoleon's time. After Communism, its vulnerability has returned to that of a medieval village facing the Vikings. The Arab conquest was a shock, while the French Revolution was slowed by the nationalism that it provoked across Europe. In its first historical deployment, Islam conquered religiously. This was its strength and it also explains the solidity of its roots. The revolutionary impetus accelerated by the Napoleonic era was checked by the equilibrium among nations. However, nations became inflamed in turn, and destroyed the only possible means of stopping revolutions from happening.

            We therefore have to radically change the way we think, and try to understand the situation without any presuppositions and using all the resources available from the study of Islam. The work to be done is immense. Personally, I have the impression that this religion has used the Bible as a support to rebuild an archaic religion that is more powerful than all the others. It threatens to become an apocalyptic tool, the new face of the trend to extremes. Even though there are no longer any archaic religions, it is as if a new one had arisen built on the back of the Bible, a slightly transformed Bible. It would be an archaic religion strengthened by aspects of the Bible and Christianity. Archaic religion collapsed in the face of Judeo-Christian revelation, but Islam resists. While Christianity eliminates sacrifice wherever it gains a foothold, Islam seems in many respects to situate itself prior to that rejection.

            Of course, there is resentment in its attitude to Judeo-Christianity and the West, but it is also a new religion. This cannot be denied. Historians of religion, and even anthropologists, have to show how and why it emerged. Indeed, some aspects of this religion contain a relationship to violence that we do not understand and that are all the more worrying for that reason. For us, it makes no sense to be ready to pay with one's life for the pleasure of seeing the other die. We do not know whether such phenomena belong to a special psychology or not. We are thus facing complete failure; we cannot talk about it and also we cannot document the situation because terrorism is something new that exploits Islamic codes, but does not at all belong to classical Islamic theory. Today's terrorism is new, even from an Islamic point of view. It is a modern effort to counter the most powerful and refined tool of the Western world: technology. It counters technology in a way that we do not understand, and that classical Islam may not understand either.

            Thus, it is not enough to simply condemn the attacks. The defensive thought by which we oppose the phenomenon does not necessarily embody a desire to understand. Often it even reveals a desire to not understand, or an intention to comfort oneself. Clausewitz is easier to integrate into a historical development. He gives us the intellectual tools to understand the violent escalation. However, where do we find such ideas in Islam? Modern resentment never leads all the way to suicide. Thus we do not have the analogical structures that could help us to understand. I am not saying that they are not possible, that they will not appear, but I admit my inability to grasp them. This is why our explanations often belong to the province of fraudulent propaganda against Muslims.




Mimesis and Science Wicked Truth The Sacred Game Eating Beauty Face of God Catholicism

[Apocalypto] [WYD 2011] [Scapegoat] [Scandal] [Clash of the Titans] [The Stoning of Soraya M.]

Roger Scruton on The Sacred and the Human

John Ranieri on Disturbing Revelation

Raymund Schwager on scapegoats

The Generative Anthropology Bibliography

René Girard on Rémi Brague & COV&R

"René Girard is beyond question one of the seminal Christian thinkers of our time. Few, if any, have more imaginatively engaged the dominant ideas of modernity and post-modernity by exploring the biblical telling of the human story. He is one of those writers who, once discovered, leaves an indelible mark on one's mind and soul. Read I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, and be prepared to be changed."
- Rev. Richard John Neuhaus

Video: [René Girard - Scapegoating at Çatalhöyük] [René Girard on the Decalogue]