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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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Bataille and Kristeva on Religion

Bataille and Kristeva on Religion

(p.182) Bataille and Kristeva on Religion
Negative Ecstasies

Zeynep Direk

Fordham University Press

This essay inquires into the intellectual relation between Bataille and Kristeva by focusing on their conceptions of the religious experience as an experience of desire, law, and death. It lays out how their reflections on religious signification have evolved throughout the different phases of their thinking. Even though both have interpreted religion in terms of abjection, Kristeva’s psychoanalytic approach to religion differs from Bataille’s anthropological reflections. The essay shows that Kristeva’s reading of Bataille changed from an appreciation of him as a thinker of poetic revolution in 1970s to a figure of revolt in 1980s, a period in which Bataille still continues to be a source of inspiration for Kristeva’s theorization of the sacred, religion, erotic, abjection, language, and revolt, though now she disavows his legacy and seeks to distance herself from his thought. In the 1990s, Kristeva comes to the point of dismissing him as a historical, even nostalgic figure of transgression.

Keywords:   Georges Bataille, Julia Kristeva, Religion, Signification, Abjection, Revolution, Revolt, transgression

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