Theory of Religion
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Theory of Religion

By Georges Bataille

Translated by Robert Hurley

Distributed for Zone Books

Overview

Author(s)

Praise

Summary

Theory of Religion brings to philosophy what Bataille's earlier book, The Accursed Share, brought to anthropology and history; namely, an analysis based on notions of excess and expenditure. Bataille brilliantly defines religion as so many different attempts to respond to the universe's relentless generosity. Framed within his original theory of generalized economics and based on his masterly reading of archaic religious activity, Theory of Religion constitutes, along with The Accursed Share, the most important articulation of Bataille's work.

Georges Bataille (1897-1962), founder of the French review Critique, wrote fiction and essays on a wide range of topics. His books in English translation include Story of the Eye, Blue of Noon, Literature and Evil, Manet and Erotism.

Robert Hurley is the translator of The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault and cotranslator of Anti Oedipus by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Distributed for Zone Books.

Hardcover

Out of Print ISBN: 9780942299083 128 pp. | 8.8 in x 6 in

Paperback

$27.95 T | £22.00 ISBN: 9780942299090 128 pp. | 8.8 in x 6 in

Contributors

Robert Hurley.

Endorsements

  • 'According to Bataille, religion is the search for a lost intimacy.' Bataille's discussion of this claim moves from the complete immanence of animality to the shattered world of objects and then to the partial recovery of intimacy and immanence through sacrifice. More ominous, Bataille argues that not only was the archaic festival an affirmation of life through destructive consumption, but it also sowed the seeds of war. The book concludes with a discussion of the rise of the modern military order and the origins of modern capitalism. The argument here is wide-ranging and significant.

    Ethics