Mythos, Logos, and the Lamb of God: René Girard on the Scapegoat Mechanism

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Introduction

On another occasion, I employed Hesiod’s contradictory characterizations of Saturn in the Theogony and Works and Days to inquire into the seeming paradox of a filicidal tyrant simultaneously ruling over the fabled Golden Age of the world. Hesiod’s account served as a representative of the concurrent narratives of decadence and progress that often confront us in myth.[1] “No man is an island,” wrote John Donne in his well-known meditation,[2] and neither is a myth, nor is myth as such. Indeed, myth represents, through imagery, structures of meaning that are ultimately homogeneous with the human psyche and the world at large. Research into myth, therefore, is also research into the researcher. In some ways, this tension between Hesdiod’s paradoxical accounts must indeed be expected by anyone who attends to the more intimate levels of his own experience. All around us, order is continually perishing into oblivion, while…

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