The elementary forms of religious life / Émile Durkheim ; translated by Carol Cosman ; abridged with an introduction and notes by Mark S. Cladis.
By: Durkheim, Émile.
Contributor(s): Cosman, Carol | Cladis, Mark Sydney.Material type: TextSeries: Oxford world's classics (Oxford University Press): Publisher: Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2008Description: xli, 358 p. : 1 map ; 20 cm.ISBN: 9780199540129 (pbk.).Uniform titles: Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse. Subject(s): Religion | TotemismDDC classification: 306.6 Online resources: WorldCat details | E-book Fulltext
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First published as an Oxford World's Classics paperback, 2001.
Includes bibliographical footnotes and index.
Table of contents Pt. 1. Preliminary questions. Definition of the religious phenomenon and of religion --
Leading conceptions of elementary religion : Animism --
Leading conceptions of elementary religion : Naturism --
Totemism as elementary religion : historical review of the question, method of treating it --
Pt. 2. Elementary beliefs. Central totemic beliefs : totem as name and emblem --
Central totemic beliefs : the totemic animal and man --
Central totemic beliefs : the cosmological system of totemism and the notion of genus --
Central totemic beliefs : the individual totem and the sexual totem --
Origins of these beliefs : a critical examination of the theories --
Origins of these beliefs : the notion of the totemic principle or mana, and the idea of force --
Origins of these beliefs : the genesis of the notion of the totemic principle or mana --
Notion of soul --
Notion of Spirits and Gods --
Pt. 3. Principal ritual conduct. Negative cult and its functions : ascetic rites --
Positive cult : the element of sacrifice --
Positive cult : mimetic rites and the principle of causality --
Positive cult : representative of commemorative rites --
Piacular rites and the ambiguity of the notion of the sacred --
Appendix : Select List of anthropologists and ethnologists who informed Durkheim's work.
In this book, the author sets himself the task of discovering the enduring source of human social identity. He investigates what he considered to be the simplest form of documented religion - totemism among the Aborigines of Australia. For Durkheim, studying Aboriginal religion was a way 'to yield an understanding of the religious nature of man, by showing us an essential and permanent aspect of humanity'. The need and capacity of men and women to relate to one another socially lies at the heart of his exploration, in which religion embodies the beliefs that shape our moral universe. This book has been applauded and debated by sociologists, anthropologists, ethnographers, philosophers, and theologians, and continues to speak to new generations about the intriguing origin and nature of religion and society.