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Survey of Recent Philosophical and Theological Literature – Theology

The Hibbert Journal, a Quarterly Review of Religion, Theology, and Philosophy (Londres, mars 1916)
James Moffat

Note de la rédaction

Source primaire :
Moffat (James), « Survey of Recent Philosophical and Theological Literature – Theology », The Hibbert Journal, a Quarterly Review of Religion, Theology, and Philosophy (London), 14 (2), March 1916, p. 436-437

Source(s) numérique(s) identifiée(s) :
http://archive.org/stream/hibbertjournal14londuoft#page/436/mode/1up

Texte intégral

  • 1 [« Definition of Religious Phenomena and of Religion », Durkheim 1915, Book 1, chap.1, p. 47]

1The genetic problem of theology and religion are handled often in a way that reminds one of what Bunyan said about the Council of the Devil in the Holy War: “nothing that was in its primitive state was at all amazing to them.” The main source of amazement to theorists about early religion is that other theorists disagree with them. We feel this in Dr Emile Durkheim’s Formes élementaires de la Vie Religieuse (1912), which has now appeared in English (The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life: Allen & Unwin). Religion, according to Dr Durkheim, “is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden – beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church all those who adhere to them.”[1] This social and collective origin would not be denied nowadays by any serious thinker. The real difficulty is to trace it to its primitive form, and Dr Durkheim claims that this is totemism, [437] which he estimates very differently from Sir J.G. Frazer. If it is the totem of a clan which determines those beliefs and practices, and if this represents religion – not, as Sir J.G. Frazer thinks, magic, - then some conception of the universe must be found in totemism. It is not easy to find this, even with Dr Durkheim’s aid; and a further difficulty is raised by the need of attributing to the primitive mind conceptions of a diffused energy or immaterial substance, on which, embodied in the clan, the individual depends. The general theory is more acceptable than the particular proof led from an analysis of Australian totemism; magic seems earlier than the generalisations which Dr Durkheim posits, and many will doubt whether he is justified in holding religion, in any definite sense of the term, to be so fundamental for the origin of social habit as his theory requires. But Dr Durkheim’s book contains much more than conjectural reconstructions of religion in the Australian savage’s intellect.

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Notes

1 [« Definition of Religious Phenomena and of Religion », Durkheim 1915, Book 1, chap.1, p. 47]

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Référence papier

Moffat James, « Survey of Recent Philosophical and Theological Literature - Theology », The Hibbert Journal, a Quarterly Review of Religion, Theology, and Philosophy (London), 14 (2), March 1916, p. 436-437

Référence électronique

James Moffat, « Survey of Recent Philosophical and Theological Literature – Theology », Archives de sciences sociales des religions [En ligne], La première réception des Formes (1912-1917) (S. Baciocchi, F. Théron, eds.), II, mis en ligne le 01 mars 2013, consulté le 14 décembre 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/assr/24414

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