The work of René Girard is extremely debated. For some, it is nothing less than one of the greatest evolution of the human thought. For others, Girard is only an outmoded author, reheating an old Augustine's soup to tempt an ultimate and desperate rehabilitation of Christianity.

It is one of the main defects about the work of Girard: to retain only the anthropological part, even the only revelation of the Gospels. The attitude of the author is naturally in question. René Girard has hammered the specificity of the Christian message since the twenty last years. This stubbornness had an effect of discredit on the first part of his work, even if a specifically Christian thought already appeared in the Violence and the Sacred. In fact, the main part of the current contributions on the Web is maked up of debates on religious questions, rather uninteresting.

Many readers have quickly rejected René Girard, under pretext that this one would oblige them to believe. Others took refuge in the Girard's citadel and are leaned on a skimpy but impregnable booty, at such point that we can read, under an American pen, that " René Girard has been transformed into something of a sect in America, with disciples, translators, and proselytizers ". A friend of mine, sociologist, described a similar situation in France and it is true that it is rather easy, intellectually, to be absolutely for or completely against. As I locate myself between the two, I estimate that all too easy evacuate the richness and the real difficulties of this thought.

Dumouchel has clearly showed, during the colloquium of Cerisy in 1982, that the scientific viability of the Girard's hypotheses (mimetic desire, sacrificial crisis, ignorance necessary for the efficiency of the victimary mechanism) do not require the adhesion - initial or final - in Christianity. The study of these hypotheses leads to sufficient complexity, contradictions, questionings so that the prospects which they could open in the field of the thought close again so easily on a dogmatism, whatever it is.

I form part of those which think that the hypotheses posed by René Girard in 1961 in Mensonge romantique, vérité romanesque deserve a better fate. To be convinced, it is often enough to read work at its origin, not to be abused by the talent and the power of seduction of the author and, especially, not to be obsessed by the only problem of the evangelic revelation. It is this reading with all my enthusiasmes and my doubts that I propose to you here.

I deliver at the moment the first part dedicated to the mimetic desire, a commented bibliography and some links. Some appendices follow or will follow in the weeks to come. I am writing the second part exposing Girard's anthropology but I cannot guarantee a close date to setting on line. I do the best I can for this translation but I request my visitors to forgive for its imperfections.

The hypothesisThe Girard's anthropology • The Gospels revelation
Debates (in french only) • BibliographyLinksE-mail