Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, Vol 30, No 1 (2017)

The Ambiguity of the Sacred: Revisiting Roger Caillois’s L’Homme et le sacré

Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi
Issued Date: 19 Jul 2017

Abstract


This article focuses on the ambiguity of the sacred and looks at Roger Caillois’s L’Homme et le sacré as a fundamental text for understanding the role of ambivalence in the dynamic relationship involving the duo sacred and profane. Due to the paucity of critical commentary in English on Caillois, the article first seeks to restore Callois’s insights to our critical vocabulary. It then evaluates his work’s analytical potential both substantively and historically, also in connection with the resurgence of Durkheimian studies. Finally, it argues that Caillois’s emphasis on the relationship between pure and impure is fundamental for rethinking the dualism of sacred and profane, more specifically the oppositional logic by which the profane excludes the sacred.

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DOI: 10.1558/jasr.32096

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