Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World

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Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World
Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (French edition).jpg
Cover of the French edition
Author René Girard
Original title Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde
Translator Stephen Bann, Michael Metteer
Country France
Language French
Subject Anthropology
Publisher Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle
Publication date
1978
Published in English
1987
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)
Pages 469
ISBN 978-0804722155

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (French: Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde) is a 1978 book by philosopher of social science René Girard.

Summary[edit]

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World contains a comprehensive overview of Girard's work up to that point, and a reflection on the Judaeo-Christian texts.[1]

Girard's explicates three core mechanisms that govern widespread social interactions: mimesis, the process by which individuals copy one another in escalation, leading to conflict; scapegoating, a process by which collective guilt is transferred onto victims, then purged; and violence. [2]

The book takes the form of a dialogue between Girard and Jean-Michel Oughourlian and Guy Lefort which interrogates and develops Girard's central thesis.

Scholarly reception[edit]

The book became a national bestseller in France, and according to Chris Fleming provoked "intense (and often heated) discussion in the upper echelons of the French academy.

Theorists such as Michel Serres, Paul Ricoeur, and Philippe Sollers were all admirers of the work, and, later, other theorists such as the renowned Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo and the Canadian social and political theorist Charles Taylor expressed - and, indeed, continue to express - more than a token admiration for Girard's project."[1]

Fleming calls Girard's reflection on the Judaeo-Christian texts "very substantial".[1]

Popular culture[edit]

The book is central to the worldview of billionaire founder of PayPal and Palantir, Peter Thiel.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Fleming, Chris (2004). René Girard: Violence and Mimesis. Cambridge: Polity Press. pp. 112–113. ISBN 0-7456-2948-2. 
  2. ^ Girard, Rene (1987). Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World. California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-2215-5. 
  3. ^ "Peter Thiel Explains How An Esoteric Philosophy Book Shaped His Worldview". Business Insider. Retrieved 2015-12-02.