By René Girard
Widely considered as the most profound critics of our time, René Girard has pursued a strong line of inquiry around the fields of the arts and the social sciences. His theories, which the French press has termed "l'hypothèse girardienne," have sparked interdisciplinary, even overseas, controversy. In The Scapegoat, Girard applies his method of "texts of persecution," records that recount phenomena of collective violence from the viewpoint of the persecutor―documents comparable to the medieval poet Guillaume de Machaut's Judgement of the King of Navarre, which blames the Jews for the Black dying and describes their mass murder.
Girard compares persecution texts with myths, so much significantly with the parable of Oedipus, and unearths strikingly comparable topics and constructions. may myths usually cover texts of persecution? Girard's solutions lies in a examine of the Christian ardour, which represents a similar relevant occasion, an analogous collective violence, present in all mythology, yet that's learn from the perspective of the blameless sufferer. the fervour textual content presents the version interpretation that has enabled Western tradition to demystify its personal violence―a demystification Girard now extends to mythology.
Underlying Girard's bold textual speculation is a strong idea of heritage and tradition. Christ's rejection of all guilt breaks the mythic cycle of violence and the sacred. The scapegoat turns into the Lamb of God; "the silly genesis of blood-stained idols and the fake gods of superstition, politics, and ideologies" are revealed.
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Extra resources for The Scapegoat
They're anxious, intimidated, and dare now not "offer themselves for that job:' The weak point may be acknowledged to be very mild, yet later we will see a bent in myths to reduce the weaknesses of the gods. at the least it's a weak point that the pockmarked one screens in short earlier than he courageously undertakes the venture en relied on to him. Nanauatzin possesses a particular function that can't fail to draw our recognition, the pocks or sores that make him a leper, a person bothered with the plague, the embodiment of contagious disorder. From my point of view of collective persecution we needs to realize during this a preferential signal for the choice of a sufferer. The query follows if it is no longer this signal that determines the alternative of sufferer, within which case it might be a query of a sufferer and a collective homicide instead of a self-sacrifice. the parable, after all, doesn't say this, yet we must never count on the parable to bare this kind of fact. the parable does, how ever, make certain Nanauatzin's possible function as a scapegoat by means of offering him as a god "to whom nobody was once paying any attention"; he stands to at least one aspect and continues to be silent. we must always observe during this passage that the Aztec sun-god can be the god of pestilence, just like the Greek god Apollo. Apollo's resemblance to the Aztec god could be larger if Olympian censure had no longer cleansed him of all of the stigmata of a sufferer. there are various examples of this mixture. What do pestilence and the solar have in universal? To un derstand this we needs to cut loose from the insipid innovations of image ism and of the subconscious, even if collective or person. If we choose in simple terms what we wish to see then necessarily we discover what we 60 THE SCAPEGOAT are looking to locate. in its place we must always confront the scene in query. it's common for plague sufferers to be burned simply because fireplace has regularly been thought of the best technique of purification. This connec ion isn't really made explicitly in our fantasy, yet we will feel its presence which turns into specific in different American myths. hearth appears to be like extra often because the contagion turns into extra menacing. upload to this the scapegoat mechanism and the torturers who already carry their vic tim liable for the epidemic will now carry him liable for the medication. Sun-gods has to be humans so in poor health that males flip to a good fireplace reminiscent of Teotihuacan's to spoil them. If then the epidemic recedes, the sufferer turns into divine in that he's burned and turns into one with the hearth that rather than destroying him mysteriously transforms him right into a strength for sturdy. The sufferer is therefore remodeled into that inextinguish capable flame that shines on humanity. the place can this flame be came across thereafter? the answer's instantly obvious. it might probably basically be within the sunlight, or probably within the moon and the celebrities. in basic terms the celestial our bodies supply guy gentle completely; yet there isn't any warrantly they are going to consistently accomplish that. to guarantee their benevolent collaboration they have to be nourished and supplied with sufferers, to guarantee their regeneration, sufferers will continuously be wanted.