James Bernard Murphy

James Bernard Murphy

Professor of Government, Dartmouth College

A Genealogy of Violence: René Girard in Dialogue

Where does violence come from? Is there an instinct for aggression? Or does violence emerge from social rivalry? Today, many people worry that religion is increasingly a cause of violent conflict around the world. The French scholar René Girard is the leading theorist of our time regarding the origins of religion in human violence. Girard’s scholarship on violence and religion has taken him into many fields, from social psychology and sociology to anthropology and biblical studies. In particular, Girard’s theory of sacred violence provides a systematic foundation and worldview for Christian pacifism. Ironically, Girard has become the leading theoretician of Christian pacifism around the world, despite the fact that Girard himself was no strict pacifist. In this talk, Professor Murphy will explore Rene Girard’s thinking on religion, violence, and pacifism as well as Girard’s understanding of mimetic desire, scapegoats, and the meaning of sacrifice.


Sunday, March 26th, 2017, 6:30-8:30

Seminars take place at Professor Mooney’s home near Princeton’s campus. Dinner is included. To find out more about these events, please email us at info@scalafoundation.org.