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

The Worm in the Pudding Cup: Violence, Disgust, and Mimetic Theory

Martha J. Reineke
Issued Date: 27 Oct 2016


Drawing on insights offered by Richard Beck in Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality (Beck 2011), I explore several categories of disgust. Girard incorporates sociomoral disgust into his theoretical reflections; however, core disgust and animal-reminder disgust are discrete forms of revulsion not recognized as such by Girard. Arguing that these merit special attention, I argue that Girard’s theory is made more compelling, not less, when we attend to foul elements that ooze from around the edges of his theory despite his effort to contain them under the sign of sacrifice. Making this seepage a topic of discussion is like taking the lid off a carton long forgotten at the back of the refrigerator. Yes, the mold so revealed is repulsive; however, as Alexander Fleming found when he discovered penicillin in mold growing in a neglected petri dish in his lab, that which disgusts us can also save us.

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DOI: 10.1558/bsor.v45i3-4.31473


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