This collection of essays focuses on sacrifice in the context of Jewish and Christian scripture and is inspired by the thought and writings of Rene Girard. The contributors engage in a dialogue with Girard in their search for answers to key questions about the relation between religion and violence.
The book is divided into two parts. The first opens with a conversation in which Rene Girard and Sandor Goodhart explore the relation between imitation and violence throughout human history, especially in religious culture. It is followed by essays on the subject of sacrifice contributed by some of the most distinguished scholars in the field, including Bruce Chilton, Robert Daly, Louis Feldman, Michael Fishbane, Erich Gruen, and Alan Segal. The second part contains essays on specific scriptural texts (Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22 and the book of Job in the Jewish tradition, the Gospel and Epistles in the Christian tradition). The authors explore new ways of applying Girardian analysis to episodes of sacrifice and scapegoating, demonstrating that fertile ground remains to further our understanding of violence in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
"In increasing numbers, scholars are turning to the mimetic theory espoused by Rene Girard in their research for answers to key questions about religion and violence. For the first time, the editors of this volume place in conversation with each other scholars who, from the perspective of Christian and Jewish traditions and scholarship, engage from the perspective of mimetic theory the sacrificial and antisacrificial features of ancient Judaism and early Christianity and explore their subsequent trajectories." --Martha Reineke, University of Northern Iowa