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I See Satan Fall Like Lightning

by Rene Girard, James G. Williams

Buy the book: Rene Girard. I See Satan Fall Like Lightning

Release Date: April, 2001

Edition: Paperback

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Buy the book: Rene Girard. I See Satan Fall Like Lightning


Girard at his most brilliant

Over the course of his long career, Girard has moved from literary criticism to anthropology to Biblical exegesis. This work of comparative religion sees him at his clearest and most brilliant as he compares the Gospel readings of violence to mythological interpretations that conceal the role mimetic desire plays in our conflicts. Especially revealing is a late chapter on "the concern for victims," the absolute value of modern culture. But it is in the book's final pages, where Girard finally postulates the existence of a power superior to violent contagion, that I See Satan Fall Like Lightning becomes truly great. This is a work of superb intelligence, among the most powerful and thought-provoking I have ever read.

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Won't convince the skeptical

Overall, this is an interesting, concise presentation of the anthropological importance of the contents of biblical narratives as contrasted with the the other narratives close in proximity in the general sectarian milieu from which the Bible emerged. Though a certain way of thinking and approaching the texts is explored that is itself dynamic and inspiring, it fails to be more than merely rhetorically convincing. Strangly, Girard claims throughout his text that his observations and interpretations are neither apologetic or biased towards Christian interpretation but, rather, scientific. While it is plausible that the scientific side of his argument has been established in greater detail by those that endorse his theories about mimetic desire culminating violence in human societies and as the foundation of human society, it's not contained in these pages. Nonetheless, this still serves as an interesting introduction to Girard's ideas being both short and straightforward.

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