One of the most interesting readings of Christianity in the contemporary world has come from the work of literary critic, historian and anthropologist René Girard. His profound interpretation of the Crucifixion has cast a whole new light on the way we understand the meaning of Crucifixion and Resurrection. Through his eyes we glimpse the possibility that the central event of the gospels revolves around breaking the founding violence that both sets culture in motion and undermines it at every step. A violence connected to the memetic nature of desire and the scapegoating mechanism that keeps it in check.
While Girard’s innovative work has brought to light a fascinating dimension of the crucifixion, the work of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek is able to both highlight a limitation, as well as articulate a further dimension that compliments the legacy of Girard.
In this pyro-seminar I’ll outline Girard’s understanding of the crucifixion, outline Zizek’s response, and point to how his critique opens up a deeper reading of the Crucifixion. One that has been central to my own understanding.
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