On Girard

Mimesis and Cosmic War

Authors

  • Mark Juergensmeyer University of California, Santa Barbara

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.v45i3-4.31351

Keywords:

religious violence, Rene Girard, cosmic war, terrorism

Abstract

Much of what Freud and Girard have said about the function of symbolic violence in religion has been persuasive. Even if one questions, as I do, Girard’s idea that mimetic desire is the sole driving force behind symbols of religious violence, one can still agree that mimesis is a significant factor. One can also agree with the theme that Girard borrows from Freud, that the ritualized acting out of violent acts plays a role in displacing feelings of aggression, thereby allowing the world to be a more peaceful place in which to live. But the critical issue remains as to whether sacrifice should be regarded as the context for viewing all other forms of religious violence, as Girard and Freud have contended.

Author Biography

Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California, Santa Barbara

Professor of Sociology and Global Studies, and founding director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

References

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———. 1986. The Scapegoat. Translated by Yvonne Freccero. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Hawley, John Stratton. 1987. “Introduction: Saints and Virtues.” In Saints and Virtues, edited by J. S. Hawley, xi–xxiv. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Juergensmeyer, Mark. 1991. “Sacrifice and Cosmic War.” In Violence and the Sacred in the Modern World, edited by Mark Juergensmeyer, 101–17. London: Frank Cass. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09546559108427118.

———. 2003. Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. 3rd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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Macdonald, Andrew [William Pierce]. 1996 [1978]. The Turner Diaries. New York: Barricade Books .

Sprinzak, Ehud. 1995. “Right-Wing Terrorism in a Comparative Perspective: The Case of Split Delegitimization.” In Terror from the Extreme Right, edited by Tore Bjørgo, 17–43. London: Frank Cass. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09546559508427284.

Tambiah, Stanley. 1996. Leveling Crowds: Ethnonationalist Conflicts and Collective Violence in South Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Published

2016-10-27

How to Cite

Juergensmeyer, M. (2016). On Girard: Mimesis and Cosmic War. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 45(3-4), 59–65. https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.v45i3-4.31351

Issue

Section

Articles