Wolfgang Palaver is Professor of Catholic Social Thought and Chair of the Institute for Systematic Theology at the University of Innsbruck. He is a member of the advisory board of Imitatio, a nonprofit organization dedicated to René Girard’s mimetic theory.
A real tour de force, Palaver succeeds in situating mimetic theory in regard to major trends in contemporary thought, to document its relevance and contributions to various disciplines while simultaneously providing the most comprehensive and accessible introduction in any language.—Paul Dumouchel, Ritsumeikan University
Wolfgang Palaver’s exploration of Rene Girard’s mimetic theory is comprehensive, thorough, and penetrating. He takes us into the heart of Girard’s anthropology of desire, while also tracing its rich implications for the contemporary study of politics, culture, gender, and religion. This English translation now makes available to a wider audience the definitive “must-read” account of one of the most important theoretical projects of our time.—Bruce K. Ward, Laurentian University
First published in German in 2003, Wolfgang Palaver’s René Girard’s Mimetic Theory is a crucially important addition to the growing body of English-language studies of Girard’s work. Clear, comprehensive, analytically acute, this volume shows Palaver to be a worthy successor to his Austrian colleague, Raymund Schwager, as Girard’s interpreter and collaborator. The rich fruit of annual lectures over a period of ten years, René Girard’s Mimetic Theory not only describes that theory, placing it in comparison and contrast with the theories of other major twentieth-century intellectuals concerning religion, mimesis, desire, and violence, it also shows why and how Girard’s insights are increasingly relevant today. Braiding together topically related discussions of literary fiction, Biblical texts, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, political science, and theology, Palaver reflects, imitates, and extends Girard’s own inter-disciplinarity in a breathtaking, scholarly tour de force.
—Ann W. Astell, University of Notre Dame