“We owe to René Girard the idea that religion is the contrary of violence, with his very remarked theses on the end of violence, expressed in an amazingly resounding way in Violence and the Sacred, and then in a series of other studies. It is therefore disturbing to notice that the return of so-called religion, meaning the strength of religious movements in today’s world, did not lead to pacification but, much to the contrary, to a terrible increase in violence and conflict. […] What I’m interested in is the possibility of deactivating a certain type of texts which, in the hands of fundamentalists, can very well stir up a hornet’s nest. ” (from Jan Assmann, French preface to Violence et Monothéisme, Bayard, 2009, p. 7-9)
Perhaps Jan Assmann’s take on monotheism is among the finest antidotes against the intellectuals of the civilizational apocalypse (Girard was caught at his best here). The English translation of Jan Assmann’s The Price of Monotheism should be out in November — that’s a response to critics following Moses The Egyptian (see also, in English, Of God and Gods). Recommended.