For anyone interested in getting a fuller understanding of Rene Girard’s ideas, this is how I was introduced to them. It’s a 5 part radio show from CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, that includes an interview with Girard mixed with an easy to follow summation of his ideas by the narrator.
“The Scapegoat: René Girard’s Anthropology of Violence and Religion, Part 1 – 5
“Human beings, according to French thinker René Girard, are fundamentally imitative creatures. We copy each other’s desires and are in perpetual conflict with one another over the objects of our desire. In early human communities, this conflict created a permanent threat of violence and forced our ancestors to find a way to unify themselves. They chose a victim, a scapegoat, an evil one against whom the community could unite. Biblical religion, according to Girard, has attempted to overcome this historic plight. From the unjust murder of Abel by his brother Cain to the crucifixion of Christ, the Bible reveals the innocence of the victim. It is on this revelation that modern society unquietly rests. Girard’s ideas have influenced social scientists over his long career as a writer and teacher.
IDEAS producer David Cayley introduces this seminal thinker to a wider audience.”
Since this essential series is no longer listed at the CBC site, I have created an archive for the five audios here. These are direct downloads.