Something Bigger than Girard


  • Jonathan Klawans Boston University



Brooks, Mel, Girard, René, Reiner, Carl, sacrifice, violence


René Girard’s works on religion and violence remain important, above all, for having called attention to the question of religious violence well before the significance of this problem seemed obvious. Despite Girard’s insistence on the scientific nature of his project, various religious aspects of his work can be identified, and his work is often treated religiously by his followers. Mimetic theory will have to accept its limitations if it is to win over its critics.

Author Biography

Jonathan Klawans, Boston University

Professor of Religion


stell, Ann W., and Sandor Goodhart, eds. 2011. Sacrifice, Scripture, & Substitution: Readings in Ancient Judaism and Christianity. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

Brooks, Mel, and Carl Reiner. 1997. The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000: The Book. New York: Cliff Street Books.

Doran, Robert, and René Girard. 2008. “Apocalyptic Thinking after 9/11: An Interview with René Girard.” SubStance 37 (1): 20–32.

Dunnill, John. 1996. “Methodological Rivalries: Theology and Social Science in Girardian Interpretations of the New Testament.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 62: 105–19.

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

–––––. 2011a. “Mimesis, Sacrifice and the Bible: A Conversation with Sandor Goodhart.” In Sacrifice, Scripture, & Substitution: Readings in Ancient Judaism and Christianity, edited by Ann W. Astell and Sandor Goodhart, 39–69. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

–––––. 2011b. Sacrifice. Translated by Matthew Pattillo and David Dawson. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.

Goodhart, Sandor, and Ann W. Astell. 2011. “Substitutive Reading: An Introduction to Girardian Thinking, Its Reception in Biblical Studies, and This Volume.” In Sacrifice, Scripture, & Substitution: Readings in Ancient Judaism and Christianity, edited by Ann W. Astell and Sandor Goodhart, 1–36. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

Hamerton-Kelly, Robert G., ed. 1987. Violent Origins: Walter Burkert, René Girard, and Jonathan Z. Smith on Ritual Killing and Cultural Formation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Kirk, G. S. 1980. ‘‘Some Methodological Pitfalls in the Study of Ancient Greek Sacrifice (in Particular).’’ In Le Sacrifice dans L’antiquité: Huit exposés suivis de discussions, edited by Jean Rudhardt and Olivier Reverdin, 41–80. Geneva: Fondation Hardt.

Klawans, Jonathan. 2006. Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism. Oxford University Press.

———. 2007 (with contributions by David A. Bernat). “Religion, Violence, and the Bible.” In Religion and Violence: The Biblical Heritage, edited by David A. Bernat and Jonathan Klawans, 1–15. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press.

Leach, Edmund R. 1966. “Sermons by a Man on a Ladder.” New York Review of Books 7 (6): 28–31.

Reiner, Carl, and Mel Brooks. 1973. “Phil,” track 5 of 2000 and Thirteen [BS 2741] Burbank, Calif.: Warner Bros. Audio recording.

Smart, Ninian. 1980. Review of Violence and the Sacred, by René Girard. Religious Studies Review 6 (3): 173–77.

Strenski, Ivan. 1993. Religion in Relation: Method, Application, and Moral Location. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

———. 1997a. Durkheim and the Jews of France. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

———. 1997b. ‘‘The Social and Intellectual Origins of Hubert and Mauss’s Theory of Ritual Sacrifice.’’ In India and Beyond: Aspects of Literature, Meaning, Ritual and Thought, edited by Dick van der Meij, 511–37. London: Kegan Paul.

Traube, Elizabeth. 1979. “Incest and Mythology: Anthropological and Girardian Perspectives.” The Berkshire Review 14: 37–54.



How to Cite

Klawans, J. (2016). Something Bigger than Girard. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 45(3-4), 23–27.