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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tions , the hierarchy of spirits tends to be based on a fundamental distinction
between spirits that depend on a body , like those of men , and the autonomous
spirits of the supreme being , of animals , of dead people , and so on , which tend
Within the limits of continuity , everything is spiritual ; there is no opposition of the
mind and the body . But the positing of a world of mythical spirits and the
supreme value it receives are naturally linked to the definition of the mortal body
In any case , the human attitude toward the body is formidably complex . Insofar
as he is spirit , it is man ' s misfortune to have the body of an animal and thus to
be like a thing , but it is the glory of the human body to be the substratum of a