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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As far as possible , I have tried to present the foregoing logical movement in the
form it would have in the final state of consciousness , that is , detached from an
elaboration of its historical or ethnographic forms . For this reason , I have ...
Forms that I have presented as being integral with one another may have
developed at times one after the other . Moreover , I have had to articulate the
stages of a movement as if there were a discontinuity , whereas continuity is the
rule and ...
There should be some point in stating here that Islam cannot generally be
regarded as a form corresponding to a single one of the definitions given . From
the outset Islam was a military order , limiting , even more strictly than others ,