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Tópicos del Seminario

On-line version ISSN 2594-0619Print version ISSN 1665-1200


DORRA, Raúl. What Then is the Sacred?. Tóp. Sem [online]. 2009, n.22, pp.15-51. ISSN 2594-0619.

The article endeavors to examine the sacred leaving behind the connotations of use to look for a specific meaning in this word. Given that since the systematic interest for the study of the sacred originates from the field of Anthropology, one of the base texts for the article is Elemental Forms of Religious Life, a book in which Émile Durkheim establishes that the elemental structure of all religion is the sacred-profane opposition that can be observed as much in the totemic system of primitive Australians as in the most developed forms of religious institution. If this study unfolds within time, the other text in which this article is based (Rudolph Otto's The Idea of the Holy) concentrates on the description of the primordial trembling in which the sacred is established. It is an experience of the tremendum from which the "creature feeling" is born that defines the religious man as such. This feeling is designated the numinous by R. Otto and it ranges from mystic delight to the fear that the word of Yaveh instills. The sacred in this sense has an intimate relationship with the taboo because each joins the blessed and the execrable, attraction and repulsion, which did not escape the attention of Sigmund Freud who in Totem and Taboo, as well as in his study of The Sinister where he analyzes this ambivalence from the psychoanalytic perspective. Thus the sacred includes its own contradiction at the same time and obliges us to incessantly repeat the question of its manner of being.

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