Compassion Or Apocalypse?
A comprehensible guide to the thoughts of René Girard
How René Girard changes the way we think about God and the Bible, and its relevance for our apocalypse-threatened world.
René Girard’s thesis that culture and religion arose from an original act of scapegoating murder gained international scholarly attention in the early seventies with his publication in France of “Violence and the Sacred.” A few years later, with “Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World,” Girard made it clear that his basic insights derived – of all places – from the Bible. Those insights are finally escaping the confines of academia, and coming to the awareness of a broader, theologically minded public. Many people are beginning to find in Girard answers to troublesome questions such as: Is God violent? Is there a necessary relationship between violence and religion? Why are there so many violent stories in the Bible? Why did Jesus have to die? Are we living in the “end times?” In clear, understandable prose, Compassion or Apocalypse shows how the Girardian perspective answers such questions, making Girard’s “mimetic theory” and its application to biblical interpretation available to those who have little or no familiarity with Girard’s work. To read the Bible from a Girardian point of view is to discover the radical message of God’s nonviolent love in its historical wrestling with human violence, and its immanent confrontation with the gathering human apocalypse.
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