Girard repeats things he has been saying for years. Vattimo is wittier and more mercurial. He credits Girard with helping inspire his conversion to Catholicism, even though his relativist God is hardly Girard's. Girard thinks the truth is attainable, and it is hard to avoid the suspicion that he believes he has attained it; Vattimo thinks it is absolute certainties that have got us into our current mess. It is all very well mannered, even a little cozy, this exchange. Each thinker praises the other while politely disagreeing with him. But their grandest claims are sweeping: only the Judeo-Christian tradition uncovers the mechanism of scape-goating rather than keeping it concealed (Girard); Christianity is more "true" than other religions, because it opens the way to an existence freed from binding restraints and authority (Vattimo). Other traditions and religions are barely even acknowledged. So where is the dialogue? In sum: quite interesting, try harder.
Colin Davis, who has taught at the Universities of Oxford and Warwick, is now Research Professor of French at Royal Holloway, University of London. His books include Critical Excess: Overreading in Derrida, Deleuze, Levinas, Žižek, and Cavell; Michel Tournier: Philosophy and Fiction; Elie Wiesel's Secretive Texts; Ethical Issues in Twentieth-Century French Fiction; and Scenes of Love and Murder: Renoir, Film, and Philosophy.