René Girard’s Legacy


  • Michael Jerryson Youngstown State University



Rene Girard, religion and violence


This special issue is devoted to the work and legacy of René Girard. One of the most prodigious scholars to work on religion and violence, Girard produced scholarship that has stimulated thousands of scholars for over forty years. On November 4, 2015, René Girard died at his residence in Stanford, California. He had served as the Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French Language, Literature, and Civilization, from 1985-1994 and had continued as Professor Emeritus of French Language, Literature, and Civilization. While there are scholars who support Girard’s work and see much of his work as a launching point for further work—and carry the reference as “Girardians” – there are notable critics who disagree with Girard, even his most foundational concepts. Regardless of their positions, the advocates and dissenters of Girardian theory evince René Girard’s widespread impact. This commemorative issue hosts a compilation of essays by some of the most influential scholars to write on religion and violence. Some authors advance Girard’s work, some authors critique it; collectively, their work pays tribute.

Author Biography

Michael Jerryson, Youngstown State University

An associate professor in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Youngstown State University, Michael Jerryson looks at the intersections between identity and violence and the ways in which we associate religious identities with peace and violence. He earned his B.A in Western Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After volunteering for the Peace Corps in Mongolia, Jerryson returned to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and acquired his M.A in Languages and Cultures of Asia with a focus on the socio-political history of Mongolian Buddhism. He furthered his interest in religion at the University of California, Santa Barbara, earning a Ph.D. in Religious Studies with a Global Studies emphasis.


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Girard, René. 1977. Violence and the Sacred. Translated by Patrick Gregory. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Haven, Cynthia. 2015. “Stanford Professor and Eminent French Theorist René Girard, Member of the Académie Française, Dies At 91.” Stanford News, November 4.

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Smith, Jonathan Z. 2004. Relating Religion: Essays in the Study of Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.




How to Cite

Jerryson, M. (2016). Introduction: René Girard’s Legacy. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 45(3-4), 3–5.