Girard, René (b. 1923)

René Girard is considered by many to be one of the most important theorists of religious violence of his era, though severe scholarly criticism also has been leveled at his theories. His works have played an important role in discussions about religious studies in general. His focus is on ritual and sacrifice and the role that mimetic competition plays in shaping human culture.

Born in 1923 in France, Girard migrated to the United States, where he completed a doctorate in history at Indiana University in 1950, having previously majored in medievalism while in Europe. After a variety of teaching appointments, he settled at Stanford University, where he taught between 1981 and 1995. Although he has published profusely, his books La Violence et le sacré (Violence and ...

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