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The Scapegoat Paperback – 1 Aug 1989

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; Reprint edition (1 Aug. 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801839173
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801839177
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"[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

"ÝGirard'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'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'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'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 "

From the Back Cover

In 'The Scapegoat', the author audaciously turns to classical mythology, medieval narrative, and the New Testament to explore the scenes behind 'texts of persecution, ' documents that recount collective violence from the standpoint of the persecutor.

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Format: Kindle Edition
This is an incredible and important book. Girard's thesis is controversial and unique: that Western history and culture, which originates in mob violence, is a repeated manifestation of the scapegoat mechanism; that what we call 'myths' ought to be read historically as 'persecution texts' (in short, that Oedipus is a kind of Jew); and that Christianity reveals the scapegoat mechanism upon which other texts secretly function. This thesis is both remarkably ambitious and surprisingly well-argued. Girard and his translator write clearly, simply, and persuasively; and for a book with such a wide-ranging thesis, also concisely. I cannot agree with Girard, but for any student of culture who wishes to stretch their mind and uncover a new attitude to the humanities - indeed, Girard is unrelentingly critical of other fields, and movingly and shockingly polemical in his powerful final paragraph - this is absolutely a must-read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 26 reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Annoying, pedantic, uninfluential 10 Jun. 2017
By Metatron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot help but defining The Scapegoat as a bigoted version of Foucalt's "discipline and punish". Only, contrary to Foucalt, Mr. Girard is annoying, pedantic and redundant ad nauseam. Girard is a typical modernist masked as a traditionalist. He looks at mythology through a keyhole to depict an obsessive, one dimensional, and rather obtuse image of the myth centered around " persecution". There is nothing but persecution, the primordial tradition reduced to a base desecrating humanism of sacrifices and persecution. It is the planet of persecution. Persecution, nothing but persecution. There is no trace of a metaphysical illumination here. Mr. Girard incredibly mistakes archetypes for stereotypes, the cause with consequence, an all too familiar trend, and he is disconcerting in his materialistic rendering of the sacred kernel, the exemplary actions of the Gods that myths stand to represent. This much celebrated "academic" of post modern times appears as truly insignificant before giants such as Mircea Eliade, Rene Guenon, Schoun, Evola, Maritain, to name a few. Girard draws his inspiration from a dried up, satanic and justly buried subversive Freudian vein. All of this is Human all too humana just like Girard's friend, Mr. Sigmund Fraud
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than Girard's earlier books, but still difficult to read 16 April 2014
By Jeremy Myers - Writing at RedeemingGod - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As I continue to research and write about the violence of God in the Old Testament, a reader of my blog told me to read Girard. So I bought most of his books and am working through them in the order in which they were written.

Of the books by Girard I have read so far, this one is the best. However, there are still several books which follow this one, so if the trend continues, I suspect the books will only improve in readability. The way Girard writes about his mimetic theory seems to improve over time (or maybe his translators are getting better).

Anyway, this book (as seen by the title) explains in great detail the aspect of Girard's mimetic theory which causes mimetic violence to break out toward an innocent victim, referred to as the Scapegoat. After showing how this has happened in various "myths, " Girard turns to some biblical accounts to show how the skapegoating mechanism is revealed in Scripture as well, but in a way that turns the mechanism upside down and reveals what is truly going on behind the scenes.

I found his explanation of Satan being divided against himself to be revolutionary as well for how Satan has used violence (and especially violent religion) to cast himself out, and thus, solidify his own power in the world.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a powerful book that gets at the core of violence in our society. 24 May 2014
By Amos Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a powerful book that gets at the core of violence in our society. There are many whacking at the branches of evil, but few chopping at the root. This book, The Scapegoat, penetrates the depths of systemic violence as it has existed for generations. Girard's mixture of philosophical and anthropological inquiry is brilliant! -Amos Smith (author of Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity's Mystic Roots)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars even those who acknowledge this human tendency are blind to the power of the scapegoating mechanism in themselves but can easily 21 July 2015
By Robert N Welnick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rene Girard's treatise on the process of scapegoating is fascinating. He traces the roots of scapegoating to ancient human history. After reading and studying his thesis I have a fresh vision to the commonality of scapegoating in everyday human interactions from politics to race relations.

Unfortunately, even those who acknowledge this human tendency are blind to the power of the scapegoating mechanism in themselves but can easily see it in others.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important works for the twentieth century 29 May 2012
By Jared White - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the Scapegoat, Girard further expounds on his thesis developed in Violence and the Sacred that religion, culture, and violence are inextricably linked. In the Scapegoat Girard demonstrates how underlying all myths are stories of persecution and collective violence. We were not able to unlock these texts until recently because we have successfully learned to interpret historic persecution texts, deciphering truth from lie. When the same structural analysis is used to looks at myths, as is used to interpret historic persecutions texts, we come across a startling revelation. Taken further, Girard shows how collective persecution and what he called the mimetic theory of desire are related to Christianity and the ground shattering event - Jesus' death and resurrection. This is a must read for historians, anthropologist, theologians, and any lay person who wants to better understand Christianity's importance to the world.
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