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Negative EcstasiesGeorges Bataille and the Study of Religion$
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Jeremy Biles and Kent Brintnall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823265190

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823265190.001.0001

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Georges Bataille and the Religion of Capitalism

Georges Bataille and the Religion of Capitalism

Chapter:
(p.106) Georges Bataille and the Religion of Capitalism
Source:
Negative Ecstasies
Author(s):

Jean ⁃ Joseph Goux

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823265190.003.0008

In relation with the positions of Bataille, this text discusses the process of secularization in the modern and contemporary world, including the significant differences between the Protestant world and the Catholic one. Secularization carried out by Protestantism transposes Christian values and themes in the practical and terrestrial world of economic activities (Weber), and thus capitalism itself becomes a religion (Bataille, Benjamin) within the limits of reason (Kant). Nevertheless, the antagonism between Reformation and Enlightenment (Cassirer) continues to be present in the contemporary orientations of economics (Robert Nelson) and visible in the contradictions of capitalism. In the Catholic world, secularization does not have the same features that it has in the Protestant world. Bataille is in the tradition of French libertine (and thus antireligious) French authors. He explores the difficulty of fully recognizing capitalism as a satisfying expression of religious feelings, especially through the notion of sacrifice and expenditure.

Keywords:   Protestant secularization, Catholic secularization, Reformation versus Enlightenment, Contradictions of capitalism, Contemporary economics

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