"[Girard's] methods of extrapolating to find cultural history behind myths, and of reading hidden verification through silence, are worthy enrichments of the critic's arsenal." -- John Yoder, Religion and Literature.
Girard, professor of French language, literature, and civilization at Stanford, builds on his notable previous anthropological and literary examinations of myth and ritual in human society. Here he applies his appraisals of Freud and Levi-Strauss to demonstrate how religion functions to keep violence outside society by deflecting it onto a scapegoat whose sacrifice restores the social order. Using a rich variety of resources from Greek to biblical, primitive to modern, he cites the Gospel Passion as a myth with the power to break the evil of collective violence and the corporate murder it conceals. Girard's use of structuralism to analyze biblical texts will stir much discussion, and the book as a whole is bound to be considered provocative by specialists. Murray L. Wagner, Bethany Theological Seminary, Oakbrook, Ill.
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Johns Hopkins University Press
September 30, 1977
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