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Title: The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life
Author: Emile Durkheim
Translator: Joseph Ward Swain
Release Date: November 13, 2012 [EBook #41360]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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THE ELEMENTARY FORMS OF THE
The Elementary Forms
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY
JOSEPH WARD SWAIN
GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD
RUSKIN HOUSE MUSEUM STREET
FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1915
SECOND IMPRESSION 1926
THIRD IMPRESSION 1954
FOURTH IMPRESSION 1957
FIFTH IMPRESSION 1964
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, 1956, no portion may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiry should be made to the publisher.
© George Allen & Unwin Ltd. 1915
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN
BY HOLLEN STREET PRESS LTD
Subject of our Study: Religious Sociology and the Theory of Knowledge
| I.—Principal subject of the book: analysis of the simplest religion known to determine the elementary forms of the religious life—Why they are more easily found and explained in the primitive religions
| II.—Secondary subject of research: the genesis of the fundamental notions of thought or the categories—Reasons for believing that their origin is religious and consequently social—How a way of restating the theory of knowledge is thus seen
Definition of Religious Phenomena and of Religion
Usefulness of a preliminary definition of religion; method to be followed in seeking this definition—Why the usual definitions should be examined first
| I.—Religion defined by the supernatural and mysterious—Criticism: the notion of mystery is not primitive
| II.—Religion defined in connection with the idea of God or a spiritual being.—Religions without gods—Rites in deistic religions which imply no idea of divinity
| III.—Search for a positive definition—Distinction between beliefs and rites—Definition of beliefs—First characteristic: division of things between sacred and profane—Distinctive characteristics of this definition—Definition of rites in relation to beliefs—Definition of religion
| IV.—Necessity of another characteristic to distinguish magic from religion—The idea of the Church—Do individualistic religions exclude the idea of a Church?
| CHAPTER II
Leading Conceptions of the Elementary Religion
Distinction of animism and naturism
I—The three theses of animism: Genesis of the idea of...
References: Howitt, The Dieri, in J.A.I., XX (1891), p. 93.
Communication of Gason in J.A.I., XXIV (1895), p. 175.
See above, pp. 379 ff. On this same question, see also our article, "Représentations individuelles et représentations collectives," in the Revue de Métaphysique, May, 1898.
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