Sacred Violence, Sacred Bodies: A Girardian Analysis of Violence Among Women of Color

Richard Thomas


Rene Girard in his seminal work Violence and the Sacred, provides one of the most comprehensive discussions of the nature of violence in contemporary literature.[1]He also offers a solution to the destructive nature of violence, inherent to human nature, through his understanding of Christology. However, he does not explicitly discuss this theme in relation to women of color. Thus a theological perspective situated amongst the varied experiences of women of color can aid in a descriptive move towards creating a more inclusive anthropology of violence, while simultaneously making a proscriptive move to enhance Girard’s notion of Christology. This paper explains Girard’s notions of sacrifice and scapegoat mechanisms as the cause of violence, and then explains how marginalized women of color as victims of domestic violence fit these concepts. He describes a Christology where Christ breaks the system of violence and scapegoating. The final move of this paper is to use theologies from the lens of women of color to expand Girard’s Christology so that it is more inclusive.

[1] Rene Girard, Violence and the Sacred, (Baltimore: John Hopkins University), 1972.


domestic violence, structural violence, Girard, Womanist, theology

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