Theory of Religion
Zone Books, 1989 - 126 páginas
Theory of Religion brings to philosophy what Georges Bataille's earlier book The Accursed Share brought to anthropology and history, namely, an analysis based on notions of excess and expenditure. No other work of Bataille's, and perhaps no other work anywhere since Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, has managed to draw so incisively the links between man's religious and economic activities.
"Religion," according to Bataille, "is the search for a lost intimacy." In a brilliant and tightly reasoned argument, he proceeds to develop a "general economy" of man's relation to this intimacy: from the seamless immanence of animality to the shattered world of objects and the partial, ritual recovery of the intimate order through the violence of the sacrifice. Bataille then reflects on the archaic festival, in which he sees not only the glorious affirmation of life through destructive consumption but also the seeds of another, more ominous order -- war.
Bataille then traces the rise of the modern military order, in which production ceases to be oriented toward the destruction of a surplus and violence is no longer deployed inwardly but is turned to the outside. In these twin developments one can see the origins of modern capitalism.
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For the moment , I need to set apart from the dazzle of poetry that which , from the
standpoint of experience , appears distinctly and clearly . I am able to say that the
animal world is that of immanence and immediacy , for that world , which is ...
This aggregate appears distinctly at the boundary of that which is clear : it is at
least distinguishable , externally , from that which is clear . Moreover , the animal
accepted the immanence that submerged it without apparent protest , whereas ...
But if one considers a dominant movement of reflective thought , the divine
appears linked to purity , the profane - to impurity . In this way a shift is effected
starting from the premise that divine immanence is dangerous , that - what is
sacred is ...