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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In a sense the corpse is the most complete affirmation of the spirit . What death ' s
definitive impotence and absence reveals is the very essence of the spirit , just as
the scream of the one that is killed is the supreme affirmation of life .
He thus subordinates violence to the most complete reduction of mankind to the
order of things . Doubtless the warrior is not the initiator of the reduction . The
operation that makes the slave a thing presupposed the prior institution of work .
The basic opposition between the divine and the thing , between divine intimacy
and the world of the operation , emerges in the negation of the value of works – in
the affirmation of a complete absence of relations between divine grace and ...