Terms used in Mircea Eliade's The Sacred and the Profane, The Nature of Religion

Mircea Eliade uses many terms in and from several languages in his classic book, The Sacred and the Profane [Harvest/HBJ, 1959], which applied Rudolf Otto's theory of numinosity to a variety of religious phenomena. It deals with aspects of religion and thus is really rather narrower than the title, "The Nature of Religion," might suggest. Here is a selection of his vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to students (who no longer have routinely taken Classical languages like Latin and Greek, let alone Arabic). This is based on a shorter list compiled by my colleagues Lisa Raskind and Gunar Freibergs at Los Angeles Valley College. Words used as foreign words are in italics, English words and coinages are not. ab initio ab origine aiones, aeva anthropo-cosmic anthropophagy autochthony axis mundi cipher coincidentia oppositorum conjugal consecrate/sanctify cosmogony cosmological demiurge desacralize epiphany existential fecundator ganz andere gesta Hellenistic hic et nunc hierogamy hierophany historicism homogeneous homologous homo religiosus hydrogeny illud tempus imago mundi imitatio dei from the beginning (Latin) at/from the beginning (Latin) eons, ages (Greek & Latin) human-universal (Greek) eating people, cannibalism (Greek) orgin or birth in the land itself (Greek) center of the world, cosmic pillar (Latin) a code (cf. decipher) coincidence of opposites (Latin) having to do with marriage, especially the sexual relationship of marriage ritually render sacred the mythic creation (birth) of the world (Greek) having to do with the universe, its structure ("people's worker") a creator deity or a subordinate, non-ultimate creator deity or being (Greek, from Plato's Timaeus) render or become unsacred (/profane) appearance, manifestation of anything, but especially something divine, as of the infant Jesus on January 6 (Greek) a subjective sense of reality or existence, having to do with Existentialism one who makes someone/thing else fertile (Latin) wholly other (German) exploits, deeds (Latin) the history, civilization, etc. of the Greek states and rulers from Alexander the Great (d. 323 BC) to the Roman conquest of Egypt (30 BC) here and now (Latin) sacred marriage (Greek) appearance of the sacred (Greek) the unfolding of history interpreted to reveal the meaning of human life, reality, good and evil, etc. and to provide a (relativistic) standard for value judgments the same everywhere or throughout (Greek) alike or parallel in function or origin (Greek) religious man (Latin) birth from water (Greek) that time (Latin) image, model, microcosm of the world (Latin) in imitation of the gods/God (Latin)

immolate in aeternum incommensurability in illo tempore in principio in statu nascendi irruption macrocosm marabout microcosm numen ontology ontological ontophany orbis terrarum paradigmatic Parmenidean parthenogenesis phenomenology plenitude post mortem retrogression sacrality sacralize sidereal soteriological tellurian templum terra mater transmundane theophany uranian valence valorization Weltanschauung ziggurat Philosophy of Religion Reviews Home Page

burn up, cremate in eternity (Latin) when two quantities, ideas, values, etc. cannot be interpreted or compared in terms of each other or in terms of anything else in that time (Latin) in the beginning -- the first words of the Vulgate Bible (Latin) in the process of being born (Latin) breaking into (compare "eruption") a large image, model, or counterpart (Greek) North African dervish/mystic/ holy man (Arabic) a small image, model, or counterpart, corresponding to the macroscosm (Greek) the might of a deity, majesty, divinity (Latin), especially as interpreted by Rudolf Otto the theory of existence or reality (Greek) having to do with existence or reality (Greek) appearance of Being (Greek) the circle of the lands (Latin) in the manner of an authoritative example (Greek) having to do with Being/existence (Parmenides) virgin birth (Greek) the description of appearances/phenomena/facts (Greek) fullness (Latin plenum ) after death, sometimes a synonym for "autopsy" (Latin) movement backwards sacredness (Latin sacer) render of become sacred having to do with the stars (Latin sidus) having to do with salvation or a savior (Greek, sôtêr) having to do with the earth (Latin tellus) space, place, sacred place, temple (Latin) mother earth (Latin) beyond the world (Latin) appearance of the divine, gods, or God (Greek) having to do with the sky/heaven (Uranus in Latin, from Ouranos in Greek) degree of value or power attribute or endow with value idea of the world, world view (German) Sumerian/Babylonian temple pyramid

Copyright (c) 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

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