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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The work of the mason , who assembles , is the work that matters . Thus the
adjoining bricks , in a book , should not be less visible than the new brick , which
is the book . What is offered the reader , in fact , cannot be an element , but must
For this reason , I have excluded discussion of those forms as well as references
pertaining to them . * The editor of Bataille ' s complete works notes that this table
was not found among the author ' s papers . ( trans . note ] I was all the less ...
It merely had forms of mediation that were less pronounced and more pathetic
than Christianity . But like Christianity it gave rise to a costly spiritual life .
Mysticism and monasticism developed ; the arts remained in principle within the
limits of ...