"The Crowd is Untruth: A Comparison of Kierkegaard and Girard"

Since Quin (our resident scholar and scapegoat) has been dipping into Rene Girard, I thought this essay by Charles K. Bellinger might be worth taking a look at.

An excerpt:

To sum up, the key point at which Kierkegaard’s thought advances Girard’s is to be found in his description of the relationship between the individual and God the Creator, when the individual is attempting to avoid the process of spiritual growth. This is the central theme of The Concept of Anxiety, Purity of Heart, the essay on “The Crowd is Untruth,” The Sickness Unto Death, and Practice in Christianity.[15] In these works, Kierkegaard lays the foundation for an understanding of the psychology of violence that is subtle and theologically profound. The key point at which Girard’s thought improves upon Kierkegaard’s is found in Girard’s theoretical refinement of the understanding of the crowd. The idea that “the crowd is untruth” was an insight that Kierkegaard pointed to at various times in his authorship. But in Girard, this idea is developed into a comprehensive social theory which is articulated in conversation with current philosophical anthropology, taking into consideration a broad swath of social scientific data from the ancient Aztecs up to the present day. When Girard’s thought is coordinated with Kierkegaard’s, the result is a very strong testimony to the power of the Christian intellectual tradition as a resource for understanding the psychology of violence.

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  1. Quin Finnegan says

    Definitely worth taking a look at. I think I referred to it as the “Kierkegirard” article in one of the Summer Reading Club posts. Having just finished reading The Scapegoat a second time, let me say that it would be well worth spending a summer with. Although there wouldn’t be much to write: all I can do is read and nod my head.

  2. Rufus McCain says

    Sorry I forgot you already referenced this.

  3. Big Jon, Bully says

    I think Gerard’s notion of the hall of mirrors ties in nicely with Percy’s idea of re-entry. That we are compelled toward a concept of ourselves mediated by the concept of ourselves by others.

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