Polarized Readings of René Girard: Utilizing Girardian Thought to Break a Theological and Philosophical Impasse

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Forum Philosophicum




René Girard’s work often seems suspect to liberals, because it appears as a totalizing narrative. Such hesitancy with respect to either dismissing or endorsing it follows from the demise of “grand narratives” that brought with them imperialistic and hegemonic tendencies. Yet if a liberal viewpoint does not embrace Girard, it is for different reasons that conservatives are either fully supportive of his thought as promising a return to religious values or hesitant about accepting his theories because they critique a form of violence inherent to any community. Girardian thought, it can be argued, has focused on deconstructing mythological justifications for violent activity at the expense of establishing a fruitful position regarding positive communal formations. The tensions between these juxtaposed liberal and conservative viewpoints, as taken up in this article, illustrate an impasse between deconstructivist-genealogists (representing trends within liberal discourse) and communitarians (representing conservative or orthodox viewpoints)—one that shows up in a variety of contexts today. Highlighting this particular standoff in interpretations of Girard can, nevertheless, yield important insights regarding the ultimate significance of his work.



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The Jesuit University Ignatianum at Kraków




Author Posting © Forum Philosophicum, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of Forum Philosophicum for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Forum Philosophicum, Volume 24, Issue 1, December 2019, https://forumphilosophicum.ignatianum.edu.pl/3515-2401-02.html

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