‘What Forced Men to Kill Their Own Kind in Religious Ceremonies’? Anthropology and Metaphysics of Sacrifice in the Work of Georges Bataille and René Girard

Marie Chabbert


Traditionally used to designate bloody rituals practiced in so-called ‘primitive societies’, the notion of sacrifice is commonly understood as a strategic investment in which the renunciation of something valuable is compensated by a more advantageous return. Sharing such a functionalist perspective, social theorists describe sacrifice as a means to renewing social and/or religious bonds through the transgression of social and/or religious boundaries. However, social theorists do not explain why men need to renew such bonds – i.e. what lies behind the human desire to unite with the divine and why violence exists in the first place – and ultimately leave unresolved the question of sacrifice’s deep origins. This article examines how two French theorists, namely Georges Bataille and René Girard, attempt to overcome the theoretical constraints faced by their predecessors and offer an innovative answer to the question of sacrifice’s deep origins, providing Western functionalist sacrifice theories with an unprecedented depth.

To read or download this article, please follow this link: 


DOI: 10.14324/111.2057-2212.053


  • There are currently no refbacks.