Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Contesting Sacrifice: Religion, Nationalism and Social Thought in France

July 1, 2002

In Contesting Sacrifice: Religion, Nationalism and Social Thought in France, Ivan Strenski explores the key role that sacrifice has played in French culture and nationalist politics. He traces the history of sacrificial thought in France, beginning with its origins in Roman Catholic theology. He explores case studies —such as the Dreyfus Case, the French army’'s strategy in World War I, French fascism, and debates over public education —to show the manner in which each was dependent upon the Catholic theology of sacrifice and subsequent Protestant reinterpretations of it. He examines the theories of sacrifice considered by the following thinkers: Bataille, Durkheim, Girard, Hubert, and Mauss.

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