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Georges Bataille's Surrealistic Theory of Religion

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

Georges Bataille offers a perspective on religion that emphasizes what might be considered the most corrupt and undesirable elements of human existence. In a previous issue of this journal, Carl Olson (1994) presents an analysis of Bataille's theory of religion that distorts its significance by solely drawing attention to what Olson identifies as its postmodern and immoral nature. The purpose of this article is to balance some of the excesses expressed by Olson, by providing an alternate and more balanced coverage of Bataille's thought. The surrealistic blending of expenditure, sacrifice, eroticism, and death form the basis for a truly social theory of religion that cannot be separated from Bataille's notions of human nature and the general economy. Some of Bataille's comments on Christianity are offered as illustrations of his ideas.

Affiliations: 1: University College of Cape Breton


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