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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CHAPTER III Sacrifice , the Festival , and the Principles of the Sacred World The
Need That Is Met by Sacrifice and Its Principle The first fruits of the harvest or a
head of livestock are sacrificed in order to remove the plant and the animal ...
Sacrifice is the antithesis of production , which is accomplished with a view to the
future ; it is consumption that is concerned only with the moment . This is the
sense in which it is gift and relinquishment , but what is given cannot be an object
To sacrifice a luxury object would be to sacrifice the same object twice . But
neither could one sacrifice that which was not first withdrawn from immanence ,
that which , never having belonged to immanence , would not have been