Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Vol 45, No 3-4 (2016)

On Girard: Mimesis and Cosmic War

Mark Juergensmeyer
Issued Date: 27 Oct 2016


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.

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DOI: 10.1558/bsor.v45i3-4.31351


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