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'Health' and 'sickness' in religious affectivity: Nietzsche, Otto, Bataille

'Health' and 'sickness' in religious affectivity: Nietzsche, Otto, Bataille

Urpeth, Jim (2000) 'Health' and 'sickness' in religious affectivity: Nietzsche, Otto, Bataille. Nietzsche and the Divine. Clinamen Press, Manchester, UK, pp. 226-251. ISBN 1-903083-12-5

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This paper discusses the accounts given of the nature of religious affectivity by Nietzsche, Otto and Bataille and pursues their shared claim as to the primacy of the affective dimension of religion over its conceptual, doctrinal and moral elements and to the development of a religious critique of Christianity. The first section clarifies the nature of Nietzsche’s religiosity and reconstructs his critique of Christianity from this perspective. In subsequent sections Nietzsche’s critique of Christianity is compared to both Otto’s critical defence and Bataille’s ‘Nietzschean’ critique of it. Three themes are proposed as evaluative criteria for the comparative evaluation of the three thinkers undertaken. Firstly, the task of rethinking the nature of religious affectivity in ‘impersonalist’ or ‘a-subjective’ terms. Secondly, the role of the notion of ‘immanence’ in both the rethinking of transcendence given the demise of the transcendent (or ‘the death of God’) and in a reconceiving of the critique of religion in general, and Christianity in particular, in non-oppositional terms. Thirdly, the question of the ‘autonomy of religion’ not only in relation to the ‘theoretical’, ‘moral’ and ‘aesthetic’ domains but also, ultimately, to the ‘human’ itself. In short, the thinkers considered are evaluated in terms of what they seek to formulate, namely, a radically non-anthropomorphic conception of religion. It is argued that only Bataille attains to both senses of ‘immanence’ identified in the paper in his development of a non-transcendent notion of transcendence and a critique of Christianity that finds suppressed ‘traces’ of the impersonal and a-moral force of the ‘sacred’ operative within it.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nietzsche, Otto, Bataille, the nature of religion, religious affectivity, religious critiques of Christianity, philosophy of religion, naturalism
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Humanities & Social Sciences
School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Department of Social, Political & Cultural Studies
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:20

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