René Girard

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René Girard (2007)

René Noël Théophile Girard (born December 25, 1923 in Avignon , † November 4, 2015 in Stanford , California ) was a French literary scholar , cultural anthropologist and religious philosopher . His work can be classified in the tradition of philosophical anthropology .


René Girard was born the son of archivist, librarian and paleographer Joseph Girard. At the École nationale des chartes in Paris he studied history, especially the history of the Middle Ages. From 1947 he lived in the USA, where he taught at various universities, most recently as professor of French language, literature and culture at Stanford University , where he also worked as professor emeritus .

In 1959 and 1965 he received a Guggenheim fellowship . In 1979 he was accepted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences , and in 2005 into the Académie française . In 1991 he received the Prix ​​Médicis and in 2006 the Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize of the Evangelical Theological Faculty of the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen . René Girard has received honorary doctorates from many universities, including the University of Montreal , the University of Innsbruck , the University of Antwerp , the University of Padua and the University of St Andrews . He was a member of the Legion of Honor and received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2014 .

He was married and had three children.

Scientific achievement

An important finding of Girard was the demonstration of a mimetic human desire, which he won from his reading of Cervantes , Shakespeare , Stendhals , Dostoevsky , Flaubert and Proust . With the gain of an epistemological aspect of a literarily determined mimetic desire, Girard subsequently analyzed the dramas of Sophocles and Euripides and the results of ethnological research made available to him by James Frazer , Lucien Lévy-Bruhl and Edward E. Evans-Pritchard . Girard undertook a third step towards a general formulation of a mimetic theory of human culture by examining Old and New Testament writings and their history of impact with regard to the possibility of a unity of his own theory.

Mimetic theory

starting point

The starting point of René Girard's mimetic theory is the observation that human societies can only survive if they are able to successfully counteract the spread of violence within the group. The cause of interpersonal conflicts is the imitation behavior of people who live in close contact with one another: this behavior creates rivalry, envy and jealousy, is contagious, is supported by all members of the group and leads to rapid escalations of violence in which the original object no longer plays a role : they are only kept going by imitating the other.

Girard uses the term “ mimesis ” for appropriative behavior and the subsequent imitation of violent behavior in order to draw a distance from the common thematization of imitative behavior - which is in the tradition begun by Plato and Aristotle - as imitation of external representations, gestures or Highlight facial expressions.

Prohibitions, rites and the scapegoat mechanism

The development of religious thought in the earlier archaic societies of our ancestors goes hand in hand with the processing of norms that prevent or control the spread of violence within the group. For archaic societies, the awareness that mimesis and violence are the same phenomenon is of central importance. Violence is prevented by prohibiting mimetic duplication / mirroring between individuals in the same group. Prohibitions set up by archaic religions are to be interpreted from this perspective and are all the more informative the more absurd they appear to us (e.g. the prohibition of twins, mirrors, etc.).

Knowledge of the relationship between violence and mimesis is also knowledge of the paths that lead out of the mimetic crisis (spread of violence). Girard posits the existence of a profound experience which has shown once and for all that the spiral of violence is broken by the sacrifice of a scapegoat . If mimetic violence in a group has reached a point where everyone imitates everyone's violence and the object that triggered the rivalry is "forgotten", the appearance of an individual who is unanimously perceived as guilty represents a unifying polarization of violence: The killing or expulsion of the “guilty” cleanses the group from the epidemic of violence, because this last - jointly accomplished - use of violence does not involve a mimetic process (vengeance). Since the object that triggered the crisis is also forgotten, the purification through this sacrifice is complete. In so far as the selection of the scapegoat is deliberate or accidental, the scapegoat is interchangeable: its significance for the group consists in the unanimity it re-establishes. At the same time, however, the murdered / cast out scapegoat is unique and irreplaceable in its salvific absence.

This event, with its “miraculous” effect, is the revelation of the sacred that enables the group to survive: the veneration offered to the victim after his killing is tantamount to the invention of divinity, and the repetition of the scapegoat process is the ritual visualization of the sacred along with it Expulsion from human society.

Particular attention should be paid to the fact that the repeatability of the process and the interchangeability of the victim - that which makes a cult possible - are based on the a priori malevolence of the scapegoat, i.e. in his innocence.

The totality of the commandments and rules that encourage the repetition of this process and monitor its outcome make up the actual inventory of rites and positive norms of behavior in every archaic society.

Religious thinking

According to Girard's theory, religion is the form of human thinking that ensures the preservation of knowledge about violence / mimesis and the scapegoat mechanism. Unlike the analytical and differentiated thinking familiar to modern man, religion does not have the task of explaining these mechanisms. On the contrary, religion can only fulfill the task of maintaining these processes if it obscures their fundamental truths: a scapegoat could no longer be a scapegoat if people were aware of their innocence; a prohibition would not be able to develop its force if it were not God-given. Since the transcendence of a deity ensures the functionality of this veil, at the same time people are released from the responsibility to cast doubts about the mechanism of overcoming violence.

The successful implementation of these patterns in concrete religions in antiquity or in modern ethnologies appears analytically to be contradictory. The mimetic theory analyzes these contradictions, aporias, diversity, discrepancies as a necessary incompleteness of religious rationalization. “All of Girard's work is a polemic against the dream of the“ rationalistic innocence ”of modernity.” Different religious variations do not accentuate all aspects of the phenomenon and thus bring out the differences and the asynchrony of the rituals, which are inherent in the individuality of each Culture flow. At the same time, every successful elucidation of the mechanism contributes to its uselessness and its disappearance: as the understanding of the phenomenon increases, the same phenomenon disappears more and more from observation.


For Girard, understanding the myths of archaic and classical culture goes hand in hand with revealing the sacrificial cultic character of those processes that are constitutive for a culture. All myths are - at their core - reports about the use of violence, which always show the same polarization: all-against-all, all-against-one and brother-against-brother. The characters in these reports often have the traits of a monstrosity in which psychology sees a distortion of perception in situations in which escalating violence dominates the scene. These people are gods, heroes, city founders or tribal fathers - that is, scapegoats in the sense of mimetic theory.

The bringing to mind of myths is a phenomenon in all cultures that involves society as a whole and its priests . So z. B. the Greek tragedy, in which the representation imitates the mimesis of the founding act, but at the same time does not provide a place for the representation of violence, which is always only narrated and banned from the stage.

Myths and Persecutions

The modern reading of myths as an act of creation of archaic cultures, which thereby give expression to the “unspeakable”, the “religious feeling”, came about for Girard through a refusal of Western civilization to recognize the persecutory structure of the mythical texts. The myths are narratives of persecutions that regularly reflect the perspective of the persecutors: not unlike the medieval and modern persecution texts, from which one can easily infer today that outbreaks of violence against Jews during the plague or the witch hunt actually took place. The structure of the mythical and these texts is the same: state of crisis, monstrosity in the accusations against the persecuted, characteristics of the victim. These are the elements that appear explicitly in the persecution texts and reveal a collective use of force even where it is not represented in the texts.

Girard points out that the same elements - along with the collective murder and the sanctification of the victim - are to be found in the myths and that where one (or more) of these elements is missing, the traces of its obliteration can always be seen. This applies to the myths of antiquity as well as to those of acephalic societies . The origin of these myths is always an actual collective killing, and to pinpoint this killing is a procedure whose validity modern western culture recognizes and takes for granted only for itself and for its own historical space.

Sacred royalty and institutions

Just as the divine has its origin in the transcendence of the sacrificed scapegoat, so institutions of domination have their origin in the continued existence of the scapegoat in a human society. With his killing, the scapegoat creates an overworld in which the sacred finds its place: the sacred is also salutary if it does not mix with people. Before he is killed, the scapegoat is already an object of worship and has already brought peace within the group. Thus the archetypal sacred king can be viewed as a scapegoat, whose sacrifice has been postponed or exchanged for a vicarious killing.

The sacred king enjoys all the privileges that human veneration brings to him, and at the same time bears the characteristics of guilt recognizable by human beings by disregarding the prohibitions (incest, purity laws, etc.). The diversity of the observed forms of sacred kingship can be explained - again - with the focus on one or the other of these aspects or even with their veiling.

Starting from the complex of prohibitions, from the ritualization of violence in the mimetic categories of the "same" and the "other", the forms of origin of all social institutions can be explained. In this respect, the analysis of institutions such as exogamy and exchange of goods, animal breeding, neighboring wars, the cult of the dead, etc., which are associated with a sacrificial rite in archaic societies, is revealing .


The mechanisms that contain the spread of violence within a group and make it possible to overcome it are seen by Girard as the driving force behind the process of hominization.

Origin of human culture

The theories of biology, ethology, ethnology, and anthropology prove inadequate to explain the origin of human culture: the features that distinguish humans from animals are neither an advantage in the evolutionary sense nor can they lead to origin of some form of human culture. So you can z. B. consider the growth of the brain mass neither as a cause for the emergence of culture nor as a sign of the emerged culture: It primarily means that imitative and aggressive behavior between same-sex animals is encouraged, that prolonged periods of sexuality become an obstacle for the offspring and lead to increased aggressiveness that tools and weapons are invented that can no longer be instinctively controlled, etc. - all circumstances that are more suitable to explain the extinction of the species and not its evolution.

Symbolizing violence

Increased imitative-competitive behavior is therefore mainly an obstacle to the coexistence of animals and humans. In a pack, stable dominance patterns can be achieved thanks to the containment of competitive behavior. The alpha animal is imitated, but not attacked, because any appropriative behavior towards it can be suppressed. But if this is not the case - as in groups of people - no leadership relationship can last and a mimetic crisis must break out. On the other hand, signs of symbolized violence in the form of rejected aggression, which affects a few individuals, are also observed in animals. Girard therefore formulates his hypothesis that just imitating such a substituted attack can involve an entire group and thus represent the archetype of overcoming the mimetic crisis, whereby the assumption that such a mechanism must prove to be efficient immediately and again and again is not necessary .

According to Girard, the hominization process can only consist of the cyclical iteration of the three phases: increasing mimetic behavior, crisis of violence, overcoming through symbolization.

Biology and signs

In order to be able to maintain Girard's hypothesis of hominization, it must only be assumed that mimetic escalation is possible even before hominization and that it can reach a stage in which instinctive containment is no longer possible. Consequently, overcoming this escalation and its repetition are phenomena that do not require a given cultural context. The hominization process would thus be explained on the basis of a minimum of biological hypotheses and the relationship between the biological and the cultural would be clearly defined.

From this perspective, the threshold to hominization, the crossing of which is due to the symbolization of violence, is at the same time the threshold to the emergence of a system of signs. The transition from acute violence to peace brings with it all the prerequisites, thanks to which the attention of the whole group can focus on a single object - the corpse of the victim - in which the experience of violence crystallizes and which is no longer a mere corpse: violence and peace have a sign in it - were materially transferred to this corpse - but also signifieds such as before and after , inside and outside , can now organize themselves in a system. This sign system comes about solely through the repeated use of a sign, as it is promoted by the ritual imperative, this imperative being dictated directly by the human will for peace.

In the context of this hypothesis, the emergence of linguistic quality as the repeated use of shouting during the crisis of violence as a necessary part of the ritual and the priority position of the words of the saint in every language should be understood.

The Judeo-Christian Revelation

By analyzing the fundamental texts of Judaism and Christianity, Girard notes a progressive tendency to reveal the ritual mechanisms that shape human culture. The decisive factor here is the New Testament perspective, which makes it possible to shed a new light on the elements of the new and the Enlightenment, which can already be found in the myths of the fathers' history and especially in the books of the prophets, and at the same time the New Testament itself as a radicalization to interpret an already existing teaching. So contain z. For example, the innocence of the sacrificed Abel and the subsequent ban on killing Cain, an exposure of (mimetic) violence as a purely human act that does not produce anything sacred but only violence, and the knowledge that escalation of violence can only be prevented by renouncing the use of force becomes. This difference to the other mythologies of the archaic world - in which the sanctification of violence and sacrifice is always enshrined - is even more clearly expressed in the prophets' call to give up the sacrificial rites and to practice charity instead of violence.

The teaching of Christianity

According to Girard, the New Testament brings this tradition to its final consequences: the complete renunciation of violence and the archaic cult of sacrifice; the double commandment to love God and neighbor; the denunciation of worldliness directed against the Pharisees as a misunderstanding and reversal of the teaching of the prophets. In the gospels these are the cornerstones of the proclamation of the kingdom of God and of salvation. This is made explicit in the apocalyptic parts of the Gospels and especially in the Revelation of John : violence is always a human matter to which people themselves threaten to be defenseless. According to Girard, this has to be connected with the - incomplete - clarification of the victim mechanism, since the sacralizing scapegoat loses its effect for the people who, thanks to Old Testament teaching, have partially uncovered the true nature of violence. For them, violence can no longer be contained, and the need for non-violence as a question of survival is all the more pressing.

Sacrifical Christianity

Girard interprets the passion and death of Jesus - anthropologically - as the final and consistent explanation of the sacrificial mechanism: In the unanimous refusal of non-violence, which leads to the unanimous use of force, the non-violent person has no other role than that of the scapegoat. Since Girard sees the difference between the “Judeo-Christian” and the old religions so sharply, it was difficult for him to see the Passion as a sacrifice . But that is the right name for the “last” Girard. Christ's sacrifice is love to the utmost.

Textual coherence and meaning

With regard to the biblical tradition, too, Girard's analysis highlights the internal coherence of the text: every conclusion can be taken from the text itself. At the same time, however, the hypotheses formulated by Girard present themselves as an extratextual instrument which alone allows a uniform interpretation of the text. In all of his works, Girard has emphasized that his basic hypothesis of the sacrifical sacrifice resides in the inherent textual nature: it must and can be evaluated, but only on the basis of the deconstruction of a text made possible by it and the phenomena explained or become explainable with it.

The use of an instrument that is not supplied by the text itself is even essential for Girard in order to understand the mythical and persecution texts. These texts were created from the perspective of the persecutors, they are structurally incapable of telling the truth about their subject, precisely because the convictions that the victim was guilty, that the killing or persecution was necessary and even wanted by the victim himself etc., are part of the basic structure of the text. It was only in the Old and - above all - in the New Testament that a different perspective emerged in the portrayal of the persecution: that of the persecuted. According to Girard, it makes sense only for these texts to speak of scapegoat and collective violence as motifs of the text and not as the structure of the same, because in these texts the victims were written about in order to reveal them. That is why it was even possible to recognize the victims for what they are: innocent victims.

The reception of the mimetic theory

Since the publication of his work on the anthropology of the sacrificial rites and religion, Girard's work has been the target of criticism, which has sometimes been very violent. These criticisms have often been addressed and answered by Girard himself in his books.

The Times Literary Supplement criticized its book The Holy and Violence for Girard's use of "carefully selected [...] marginal aspects" of sacrificial rites celebrated "here and there and everywhere" in order to demonstrate his "ambitious hypothesis" and which could have been chosen “not more superficial, artificial and out of context”; that he wanted to explain almost everything with a “broad hypothesis”; that such a "vaguely formulated [...], so uncheckable and based on such superficial facts" hypothesis seems to the author himself implausible and extravagant. The book contains "In spite of all this [...] many interesting and stimulating ideas [...]".

In a 1987 review of The Scapegoat , the same magazine accused Girard of "pretending to be the scapegoat" in order to defend itself from its critics. "The conviction that you have the keys to all mythology and the feverish determination to defend them is detrimental to such a serious investigation [...]". Furthermore, Girard does not limit himself to mythology, but demands that his theory provide a scientific solution to the enigma of the origin and nature of religion: "His treatment of myths is so negligent" that he does not even consider the fact that it is while "at least in many cases it is about gods and not about people." "All of this is a shame because Girard can be enlightening about the texts he examines when it is not about his great theory".

In many cases, Girard's Catholic faith has also been the target of criticism: Girard let himself be influenced in his investigations by his Catholic faith alone. He neglects to study other religions; print the Catholic fear of the “worldliness of the modern”; use "theological-culture-fighting statements about ' neo-paganism '" and misjudge Nietzsche's achievements.

Isolated formulations by Girard have also been used by various authors to present their own worldview.

While Girard's theory in psychoanalysis , with important exceptions, often meets with rejection - a rejection that can be traced back more to the literary-critical working method of his author and to insufficient attention to clinical knowledge than to his criticism of Freud's theories - and literary scholars to his reductionism Criticizing method, it has found a predominantly positive response in theological circles. In addition, Girard's work received little attention in the philosophical debates at the end of the 20th century.

The mimetic theory is very well received in Silicon Valley . There are own conferences, book series and foundations around the work of Girard. The commitment of the former Facebook investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel is seen as the reason for this response . The Thiel Foundation runs the Imitatio program , which aims to “advance the consequences of Girard's remarkable findings on human behavior and culture”.


Girard's reception of other philosophies

In Girard's view, Friedrich Nietzsche was the first philosopher to discover the same kind of collective violence in the Dionysian Passion and the Passion of Jesus . Shortly before his mental breakdown, Nietzsche discovered that the facts were the same in both stories, but not their interpretation . While Dionysus approves the murder of victims, Jesus and the New Testament rejects that very thing. This discovery was possible for Nietzsche because at this point in time he was able to break away from both positivism and nihilism . Girard pays tribute to Nietzsche for this extraordinary philosophical achievement. Girard criticizes, however, that Nietzsche drew the wrong conclusions from this. Nietzsche believed that the New Testament stand against victims was based on prejudices in favor of the weak versus the strong ( slave morality ). Girard, on the other hand, sees heroic resistance to mimetic violence in the New Testament standpoint. In order to maintain his error, Nietzsche allowed himself to be carried away to the worst social Darwinism , as emerged from his work The Will to Power :

“The individual was taken so seriously by Christianity, set so absolutely, that he could no longer be sacrificed: But the species only exists through human sacrifice [...] Genuine human love demands sacrifice for the benefit of the species - it is hard, it is full of self-conquest because it needs human sacrifice. And this pseudo-humanity, which is called Christianity, wants to enforce that nobody is sacrificed. "

- Friedrich Nietzsche


Original editions and German translations

  • Mensonge romantique et verite romanesque. 1961, ISBN 2-01-278977-3 .
    • German edition: Figures of Desire. The self and the other in fictional reality. 2nd Edition. LIT, Münster, 2012, ISBN 978-3-643-50378-7 .
  • Dostoïevski: you double à l'unité. 1963.
  • La Violence et le Sacre. 1972, ISBN 3-491-69430-2 .
    • German edition: The Holy and Violence. Fischer, Frankfurt a. M. 1994, most recently Ostfildern, Patmos 2011.
  • Critiques in the basement. 1976, ISBN 2-253-03298-0 .
  • Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde. 1978, ISBN 2-253-03244-1 .
    • German edition: The end of violence. Analysis of the doom of mankind. Exploring mimesis and violence with Jean-Michel Oughourlian and Guy Lefort. Herder, Freiburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-451-29385-6 .
  • Le Bouc émissaire. 1982, ISBN 2-253-03738-9 .
  • La route antique des hommes pervers. 1985, ISBN 2-253-04591-8 .
  • A Theater of Envy: William Shakespeare. 1991, ISBN 1-58731-860-1 .
  • Quand ces choses commenceront. 1994.
    • German edition: When it all begins ... Dialogue with Michel Treguer. LIT, Münster 1997, ISBN 3-8258-3116-7 .
  • Je vois Satan tomber comme l'éclair. 1999.
    • German edition: I saw Satan fall from the sky like lightning. A critical apology for Christianity. Hanser, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-446-20230-7 . Reviews: Hartmann Tyrell in FAZ, November 5, 2002; Karsten Laudien in Die Welt, September 28, 2002; Adolf Holl in Die Presse, November 22, 2002.
  • Celui by qui le scandale arrive. 2001, ISBN 2-220-05011-4 .
  • La voix méconnue du réel. 2002, ISBN 2-253-13069-9 .
    • German edition (shortened by one article): The misunderstood voice of the real. A theory of archaic and modern myths. Hanser, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-446-20680-9 .
  • Le sacrifice. 2003, ISBN 2-7177-2263-7 .
  • The origines of the culture. 2004, ISBN 2-220-05355-5 .
  • Achever Clausewitz. Entretiens avec Benoît Chantre. 2007, ISBN 2-35536-002-2 .
    • German edition: In the face of the apocalypse. Thinking Clausewitz to the end: Conversations with Benoît Chantre. Matthes & Seitz Berlin, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-88221-388-1 .
  • Mimesis and Theory: Essays on Literature and Criticism, 1953-2005 . Edited by Robert Doran. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008.

German translations of other texts

  • Science and Christian Faith. Translation by S. Heath. Edited by E. Herms. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-16-149266-2 .
  • Violence and religion. Conversations with Wolfgang Palaver . Translation by Heide Lipecky, Matthes & Seitz Berlin, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-88221-632-5 .
  • Correspondence with René Girard. Edited by Nikolaus Wandinger and Karin Peter (= Raymund Schwager Gesammelte Schriften. Vol. 6). Edited by Józef Niewiadomski. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2014, ISBN 978-3-451-34226-4 .




  • Odo Marquard : Exculpation arrangements. Remarks following René Girard's sociological theology of the scapegoat . In: Willi Oelmüller : What one cannot keep silent about. New discussions on the theodicy question . Fink, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-7705-2921-9 , pp. 15-54.
  • Konrad Thomas: René Girard: Another understanding of violence . In: Stephan Moebius , Dirk Quadflieg (Ed.): Culture. Present theories. VS - Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-531-14519-3 , pp. 325–338.
  • Andreas Hetzel: Victims and Violence. René Girard's cultural anthropology of the scapegoat . In: Wilhelm Gräb, Martin Laube (ed.): The human blemish. On the speechless return of sin , Loccumer Protocols 11/2008.
  • Eckart Britsch: A failed theory of the reconciling effect of the victim. An outsider is killed to resolve a dispute. That connects all cultures, says René Girard. In: Rheinischer Merkur . September 5, 2002.
  • Józef Niewiadomski : Girard, René . In: Thomas Bedorf, Kurt Röttgers (Hrsg.): The French philosophy in the 20th century. An author's handbook . Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2009, ISBN 978-3-534-20551-6 , pp. 141-146.
  • Jesus, our scapegoat. What Christianity Teaches About Human Violence . In: The time . No. 13/2005. Conversation with Thomas Assheuer
  • "Christianity is superior to all other religions" . In: The world . May 14, 2005. Interview with Nathan Gardels.

Web links

Commons : René Girard  - collection of images, videos and audio files

References and comments

  1. Dieter Thomä: Obituary for René Girard , NZZ from November 5, 2015, accessed April 17, 2019
  2. ^ Jean Birnbaum: Mort de René Girard, anthropologue et théoricien du "désir mimétique". In: November 5, 2015, accessed November 5, 2015 (French).
  3. Thomas Assheuer : When the devil falls from the sky. Imitation, rivalry, violence: on the death of the great cultural anthropologist René Girard . In: Die Zeit from November 12, 2015.
  4. The remarks in the following sub-chapters (starting point / prohibitions, rites and scapegoat mechanism / religious thought / myths, sacred royalty and institutions / hominization / the Judeo-Christian revelation / textual coherence and meaning) are essentially his writings Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde (1978) and The Scapegoat (French first edition 1982).
  5. Dieter Thomä : In the human cellar. On the death of the cultural anthropologist René Girard . In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of November 5, 2015, p. 42.
  6. “… in order to prove such an ambitious hypothesis, M. Girard chooses with studied care some aspects - often, in fact, marginal and accidental ones - of sacrifices celebrated here there and everywhere […] The selection of quotation that he believes to support his thesis could hardly be more superficial, artificial and out of context. "
    “Yet M. Girard extends his already sufficiently broad hypothesis further still, so as to explain nearly every. [...] A hypothesis so vaguely formulated, so wide in scope and content, so unverifiable, and based on such superficial evidence, appears to be, as the author himself suspects, 'fantaisiste et fantastique', 'excessive et extravagante'. […] In spite of all this, the book contains many interesting and stimulating ideas […] ”, Times Literary Supplement, p. 1192, October 5, 1973.
  7. “'If you try too hard to prove something you prove nothing'. He directs the remark against all those critics, the 'ethnologists', the 'positivistic philologists' etc, in relation to whom Girard is more than inclined to cast himself in the role of scapegoat […] ”
    “ But the conviction of having the key to all Mythologies and the feverish determination to defend this, come what may, […] is as damaging to such serious exploration in Girards' case as it was in poor Casaubon’s . " [...]
    “But in fact his treatment of his myths is so inattentive that he does not even stop to consider the conceptual importance of the fact that, in many instances at least, they concern gods, rather than men. All this is pity, because when his grand theory is not in question, Girard can be illuminating about the texts he considers. ", Times Literary Supplement, p. 290, March 20, 1987.
  8. ^ Arnold Künzli , Gotteskrise: Questions about Job; Praise of agnosticism , Hamburg, 1998
  9. Peter Sloterdijk , epilogue to Girard's I saw Satan fall from the sky like lightning , Munich, 2002.
  10. See as an example: Botho Strauss , swelling Bocksgesang , Der Spiegel, 6/1993
  11. Eberhard Th. Haas, ... and Freud is right. The emergence of culture through the transformation of violence , Giessen 2002
  12. This criticism relates mainly to Girard's formulation of mimetic desire .
  13. See: Raymund Schwager : Homepage of the Colloquium on Violence & Religion. Alejandro Llano, L'antropologia religiosa di René Girard, in Studi Cattolici . Milano 2004, Vol. 519, pp. 380–386, (PDF)
  14. Gianni Vattimo is one of the few philosophers who admit that Girard's work had an influence on their own philosophy.
  15. Metaphysics of the Nerds. April 29, 2016, accessed December 10, 2019 .
  16. About Imitatio. Retrieved December 10, 2019 .
  17. ^ Thiel Foundation. Retrieved December 10, 2019 .
  18. René Girard: I see Satan fall like lightning . First ed. Orbis Books, New York 2001, ISBN 978-1-57075-319-0 , pp. 170 f .
  19. Friedrich Nietzsche: The will to power . Jazzybee Verlag, Loschberg, Germany 2016, ISBN 978-3-8496-8863-9 , pp. 107-108 .