Tuesday, 24 October 2000

From "The Elementary Forms of Religious Life"

By Emile Durkheim.

[...] religion is something eminently social. Religious representations are collective representations which express collective realities; the rites are a manner of acting which take rise in the midst of the assembled groups and which are destined to excite, maintain or recreate certain mental states in these groups. So if the categories [e.g. time, space, substance, class, number, cause] are of religious origin, they ought to participate in this nature common to all religious facts; they too should be social affairs and the product of collective thought [...]

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