René Girard

When I wrote the last chapter of my first book (Deceit, Desire and the Novel). . . I realized I was undergoing my own version of the experience I was describing. I was particularly attracted to the Christian elements, for example, Stephan Verkhovensky’s final journey and turn to the Gospel before his death. So I began to read the Gospels and the rest of the Bible.  And I turned into a Christian.  ~ “A Conversation with René Girard,” The Girard Reader, edited by James G. Williams

11girard-obit-blog427Born on Christmas day in Avignon, France in 1923, René Girard is recognized worldwide for his discovery and development of mimetic theory. Before his death on November 4, 2015, he was Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and one of only 40 members, or immortels, of the Académie Française, France’s highest intellectual honor. He is the author of numerous books and papers, including: Deceit, Desire and the Novel; Violence and the Sacred; Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World; The Scapegoat; and his latest, controversial Battling to the End.

Mimetic theory has influenced the fields of literature, anthropology, theology, philosophy, sociology, and psychology. Discussion continues as new applications are being discovered in fields as diverse as neurology and economics.

Girard’s understanding of mimetic rivalry and conflict, and scapegoating, is seen by many to be the key to a completely new understanding of Christianity.

A more detailed biography can be found in the Stanford Magazine article at: