Emile Durkheim’S Book Elementary Forms Of Religious Life

1252 WordsMar 14, 20176 Pages
Emile Durkheim’s book Elementary Forms of Religious Life serves as a religious guide from the perspective of primitive societies by focusing on understanding the key principles of religion by studying these groups and drawing similarities to major ideologies based off of their key elements and rituals. His goal from this research was to figure out the origins of religion itself. His study focused on the aborigines, the indigenous people of Australia. He wrote the study in a way so a non-believer could understand religion and yet find none in error, allowing them to believe that each religion was a mere branch on a much larger tree. This theory holds elements of the idea of coexistence, theorizing no society has the wrong idea. All…show more content…
In layman 's terms, he perceives religion as firstly a society questioning how they arrived at said point and from where they started, allowing the praise to go to a higher power. Edward Burnett Tylor states, “the ordinary condition of the savage is the result of degeneration from a far higher state” saying that our most primitive forms are reflections of the gods themselves. The second says religion is a tool used for formulating societies throughout the ages and our world today, our geographic distribution, has been accounted for based off of the religious identities of our past societies. Opposers of Durkheim’s ideas hold religions to be of unequal standing, saying all religions do not all have the same measure of truth. To them, Durkheim argues that to understand his approach one must reach beneath the symbolism, grasp the reality it represents and understand its true meaning. In a sense, he is saying that by understanding one religion, you have the capacity to understand another. To achieve the author’s goal, he utilizes Aristotle’s categories of understanding —time, space, number, cause, substance, and personality— all corresponding to universal properties. This became a popular system for classification as he believed religion itself served as a universal property. The article utilized the concept of time as a key to understanding religion. A summation of the example would be that time does not define itself, we define it. We define what
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