By René Girard
René Girard (1923-) was once Professor of French Language, Literature and Civilization at Stanford collage from 1981 until eventually his retirement in 1995. Violence and the Sacred is Girard's extraordinary learn of human evil. Girard explores violence because it is represented and happens all through background, literature and fable. Girard's forceful and thought-provoking analyses of Biblical narrative, Greek tragedy and the lynchings and pogroms propagated via modern states illustrate his principal argument that violence belongs to each person and is on the center of the sacred. Translated by way of Patrick Gregory.
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René Girard (1923-) used to be Professor of French Language, Literature and Civilization at Stanford collage from 1981 till his retirement in 1995. Violence and the Sacred is Girard's incredible research of human evil. Girard explores violence because it is represented and happens all through heritage, literature and delusion.
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Extra resources for Violence and the Sacred (Continuum Impacts)
They can also be discerned in literature—in the adaptations of certain myths in classical Greek tragedy, in particular in Euripides’ version of the legend of Heracles. Euripides’ Heracles contains no tragic conﬂict, no debate between declared adversaries. The real subject of the play is the failure of a sacriﬁce, the act of sacriﬁcial violence that suddenly goes wrong. Heracles, returning home after the completion of his labors, ﬁnds his wife and children in the power of a usurper named Lycus, who is preparing to offer them as sacriﬁcial victims.
It is that enigmatic quality that pervades the judicial system when that system replaces sacriﬁce. This obscurity coincides with the transcendental effectiveness of a violence that is holy, legal, and legitimate successfully opposed to a violence that is unjust, illegal, and illegitimate. In the same way that sacriﬁcial victims must in principle meet the approval of the divinity before being offered as a sacriﬁce, the judicial system appeals to a theology as a guarantee of justice. Even when this theology disappears, as has happened in our culture, the transcendental quality of the system remains intact.
Manipulate them as one will, it looks as if the concepts of sickness and health are not very useful in clarifying the relationship between primitive societies and our own. Ritual precautions that appear lunatic or at least highly exaggerated in a modern context are in fact quite reasonable when viewed in their proper context—that is, in the context of religion’s complete unawareness of the violence it makes sacred. When men believe that they can actually feel the breath of a Homeric Cyclops at their backs, they are apt to resort to all means at their disposal, to embrace all possible precautions.
Violence and the Sacred (Continuum Impacts) by René Girard