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Liberty is an excellent introduction to this study. It should be read by every serious student of the history of religious liberty and church–state relations.
doi:10.1093/jaarel/lfp002 Advance Access publication February 10, 2009
Mark David Hall George Fox University
Mircea Eliade: A Critical Reader (Critical Categories in the Study of Religion). Edited by Bryan S. Rennie. Equinox, 2006. 448 pages. $32.95. The International Eliade (Issues in the Study of Religion). Edited by Bryan S. Rennie. State University of New York Press, 2007. 256 pages. $70.00.
In his “General Introduction,” editor Bryan S. Rennie stakes out his aim: to have Mircea Eliade, A Critical Reader serve not to “answer the questions raised for the academic study of religion by the work of Eliade,” but to “serve as a useful introduction for scholars at whatever stage of their studies who wish to consider these questions” (2). Rennie stresses that since the selection of texts has to serve for “a variety of readers, hence the inclusion of both introductory texts … and more esoteric works from Eliade’s early years” (4). He also argues for the very idea of having such a reader on Eliade, saying that too often scholars are forced to reading but one of two of Eliade’s most general works, and maybe one book on Eliade, thus missing important texts in “difficult-to-find” journals. Furthermore, “the inexperienced scholar remains unaware of the significance of, say the Preface to Shamanism” (2). What, then, has Rennie chosen to serve up for such readers? In Part I, “Introduction,” Rennie himself gives a brief, yet balanced and informative, introduction to “The Life and Work of Mircea Eliade,” and then lets Eliade himself introduce his work by way of his own introduction to The Sacred and Profane. “Part II: Eliade’s Understanding of Religion” has five sections and six subsections. The first section, “Early Understanding,” consists of but one piece (an example, I guess, of the abovementioned “more esoteric works”) by Eliade, namely the 1937 “Folklore as an Instrument of Knowledge,” translated now for the first time by Mac Linscott Ricketts. Eliade here asks, “In what way and to what extent can ethnographic and folkloric documents serve as instruments for gaining knowledge?” (26) and then tries, with reference to Frazer’s “contagious magic,” to “parapsychological” phenomena (cryptesthesia pragmatic and psychometria), and to various miracles (levitation, incombustibility of the human body), to establish what he terms the “reality of these exceptional happenings,” concluding, inter alia, that “in certain circumstances the human body can escape the laws of gravity and the conditions of organic life” (35). As Rennie remarks, this article certainly points to what he calls Eliade’s “methodological openness,” taking, as expressed by Eliade himself, “all religious traditions seriously as authentic expressions of lived existential situations” (25).
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on “The Sacred. Rennie serves up a text by Eliade. or occultists (cf. 1959 (1949).” 1976) ends this subsection.” Rennie’s article is.” the first excerpt (“What the Symbols ‘Reveal’”) is from the well-known 1965 chapter in The Two and the One called “Observations on Religious Symbolism. As for the next notion and subsection “The Dialectics of the Sacred and the Profane.org by guest on January 13. informative. “Notes on the Symbolism of the Arrow” (from 1968) is probably less wellknown and interesting to read for its discussion on new discoveries and technologies opening up for new symbolic representations and religious ideas. 2011 . like some of his other contributions to this volume.” Eliade is represented by excerpts from Patterns in Comparative Religion. on “The Ontology of the Sacred. outside as well as within the academia. Robert D. Baird’s critical assessment (1970) of “Normative Elements in Eliade’s Phenomenological Understanding of Symbolism. Moving on to “Symbols.170 Journal of the American Academy of Religion But. taken from his important 1996 Reconstructing Eliade: Making Sense of Religion. “Homo Faber and Homo Religiosus. and from “The Sacred in the Secular World” ( published in 1973 but based on a paper given in 1968). The subsection “Homo Religiosus” opens with a straightforward.” Douglas Allen’s interpretation of Eliade’s hermeneutics and phenomenology (from Structure and Creativity in Religion: Hermeneutics in Mircea Eliade’s Phenemenology and New Directions. Following Eliade come texts by William Paden on Eliade and Émile Durkheim’s notion of the “sacred. The theme of “Coincidentia Oppositorum” is dealt with via excerpts from Patterns and The Quest (1969). more explicitly. “Hierophany.” with Baird claiming (and he is not the only one) that “the phenomenological understanding of religion.” The second. it points to more than that. will appear useful to all those who share his ontological stance” follows (157). elucidate this. First published in 1985. and an analysis (1992) by John Valk. In first one. as exhibited in the work of Eliade.” esoterics. is represented only by the article by Eliade and Lawrence Sullivan in the first edition of the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion (1987). and highly useful overview by Gregory Alles (also from the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion) of the expression “Homo Religiosus.” a reworking of the 1959 article “Methodological Remarks on the Study of Religious Symbolism. Saliba (“Homo Religiosus in the works of Mircea Eliade. characteristic not just in regard to the themes but also to its style. The next section on “The Elements of Eliade’s Understanding” has several subsections.” and by Rennie.” discussions on the kind of status Eliade actually afforded to “the sacred. the articles mentioned below in The International Eliade).” another key critical term in Eliade.” also reminds the reader of the early Eliade in the abovementioned article from 1937. 1978) is the one chosen to. and it can for example be read also in the context of discussions about the degree to which Eliade and his work is influenced by the “traditionalists.oxfordjournals. Downloaded from jaar.” in Eliade and in other relevant writers. An excerpt from the work of John A. Following this “outsider” overview. A good example of why Eliade has fascinated and charmed quite a few readers.
“Part III: Eliade’s Methodology” first has a section called “Eliade. Dreams and Mysteries (1960). modern conceptions of time and history. and made up an inventory of all the variants so that differences in meaning stand out in full relief.” because we here find some of Eliade’s own more explicit remarks on what he thinks characterizes the “exemplary” scholar/historian of religion: the generalist capability to skillfully use. and finally Eliade’s foreword to Shamanism (1964).” or. After Gombrich comes an article (from Downloaded from jaar. Nilsson and M. stands in sharp contrast to the next article. an excerpt from the review article mentioned above (on R. French editions in 1936 and 1954). Richard Gombrich (one of the specialists the generalist must rely on. and therefore also. Rennie provides another excerpt from the article on symbolism (cf. from Myth and Reality (1963). is illustrated by an excerpt from The Sacred and the Profane. The next subsection is scholarly “Critiques of Eliade. Then follows. the final task is to deal with (what Eliade considers) timeless constants of religious experience.” To exemplify this stance. thus questioning the validity of several of Eliade’s conclusions in this seminal work.” “Illud Tempus.” also a fairly central (to say the least) subject and critical category in most of Eliade’s work. by implication. for example. also according to Eliade) discusses several problems (or failings) in Eliade’s Yoga: Immortality and Freedom (English trans.oxfordjournals. ethnographers. as Eliade calls it elsewhere. namely Edmund Leach’s absolutely negative verdict in his (in)famous review (1966) of The Two and The One (and more of Eliade’s work)—a review with the telling title: “Sermons from a Man on a Ladder. what a motive like “ascent to heaven” reveals about the “boundaryline situations of mankind. Eliade’s ideas about “Survivals and Camouflages of Myths. is dealt with first by an excerpt from a review article by Eliade on Martin P. other key notions indebted to Eliade’s interpretations of the Indian material. 1958.Book Reviews 171 “Myths. above) in The Two and the One. 2011 . showing fragments of Eliade’s methodology as he relates to other scholars’ work. and by Rennie’s “Illud Tempus . sociologists. from Myths.” Allen’s rather positive evaluation of Eliade’s methodology and history of religions. the “la grande situation humaine.” inter alia stressing Eliade’s claims and efforts to decipher the above mentioned postulated transhistorical and specifically religious meaning of the various religious phenomena by way of integration in “coherent systems of symbolic associations. on a global scale.” another key Eliadean notion.” First excerpts from Allen’s Structure and Creativity in Religion: Hermeneutics in Mircea Eliade’s Phenemenology and New Directions (1978). and interpret results and data produced by specialist historians cum philologists. synthesize.” and. Gabriel Germain (and Pettazoni) in Diogenes 1955—a refreshing choice.” In the following article.Time by Any Other Name. Having. Pettazoni as the exemplary historian of religion). related and distinguished. “The Myths of the Modern World.org by guest on January 13. with Allen trying to give a “systematic treatment of … Eliade’s phenomenological approach. to decipher the transhistorical content a religious datum reveals through history. or psychologists of religion. collected and compared.” discussing Eliade’s views and evaluations of so-called archaic vs. integrate.
I think) “Eliade’s Religion.” an adaption of an article from 2000 in which Rennie argues (largely within the framework of a polemics against Carl Olson’s rejections of Rennie’s earlier views) that parts of Eliade’s thinking can be seen as a precursor to postmodernism. The next subsection is called (slightly misleading. Ivan Strenski.oxfordjournals. the significance of religion is “independent of any believers” (335). inter alia.” Ansgar Paus (“The Secret Nostalgia of Mircea Eliade for Paradise: Observations Downloaded from jaar.” In “How Historical is the History of Religions.” Robert Segal. critically questions Eliade’s ideas about history. vitiated as they are by loose thinking and an antiscientific approach” (304). The section closes Guilford Dudley III’s article “Mircea Eliade as the Anti-Historian of Religions” (1976). Their. cyclical renewal. trends. advices outsiders to the scientific study of religions not to rely too heavily on Eliade when philosophizing about religion. in spite of his profound friendship with Eliade. and (in an excerpt from an article in Criterion 6/1 1967) the tension between search for (what Eliade calls) “structures” or “structural meaning” vis á vis “historical events.org by guest on January 13. arguing that “Eliade’s general methodological views on the study of religion and myth leaves much to be desired.172 Journal of the American Academy of Religion 1989) by R. In “The Disguises of Miracle: Notes on Mircea Eliade’s fiction.” Matei Calinescu briefly discusses Eliade the writer vis á vis Eliade the scholar before giving an overview of themes. The next section has the same title as the title of the text chosen. The next theme is “Eliade’s Literature. J. Dudley concludes. “archaic” mentality—at the same time as he insists on the value of Eliade’s total oeuvre and “the wealth of perspectives which it opens” (301). in which Dudley. Ricketts—not unlike Eliade himself—thinks of Eliade’s “scholarly and literary activities [as] of one piece”: both can be seen as aimed at helping modern man to gain access or escape to “other worlds. Zwi Werblowsky who. one of the earliest critics of Eliade. “Part IV: Problems and Themes in Eliade’s Thought. modelling his arguments with reference to Quentin Skinner and referring not least to Patterns. efforts to have it both ways should be forsaken.” has Eliade tell about his ideas about history and historicism (in an excerpt from Cosmos and History: The Myth of the Eternal Return (1954)). and developments in Eliade’s fiction.” In a previously unpublished paper.” and Eliade himself most likely used his nonacademic writing and imagination to get into the “other world” to balance his day-time academic studies of the religious worlds. argues that the meaning (or “significance”) of religion. goes beyond and against the believers own viewpoint(s): to Eliade. In “Mircea Eliade: Some Theoretical Problems” (1973). “On Reading Eliade’s Stories as Myths for Moderns” ( presented 1982). as interpreted and explained by Eliade. Eliade.” and that his “program is to uncover the structures of the transconsciousness” (341). can sail if surrendering the “pretence that phenomenological description and the raw data of history are compatible” (351). as well as Eliade’s. namely Rennie’s “Mircea Eliade and Postmodernism. argues that Eliadeologists need to concede that Eliade’s method is “not simply deficient as a historical study but is radically anti-historical. 2011 .
second his nonfiction articles. namely what (in this English translation.or explicit) methodology.” Rennie devotes a large part (8–11) of his introductory chapter to the discussions about Eliade’s involvement in politics in Romania.” 1989). Paus discusses the influence of “aggregates of thought of the religious or mystical experience of Orthodox Byzantine Christinity in relation to the icons” (396). an outspoken anti-Semite like Hitler did not burn down the synagogue in Charlottenburg.Book Reviews 173 on the Method of the ‘History of Religions’.oxfordjournals. claims that Eliade practices an “‘Iconosophy’ of the religions” (399). note 1. would have motivated the leaders to keep out (or down) Jews and other nonRomanian ethnic groups. yet readily available. including his possible anti-Semitism. 418. He is also perfectly right. Webster (“Orthodox Mystical Tradition and the Comparative Study of Religion: An Experimental Synthesis.” 1986) both try to connect key aspects of Eliade’s methodology and thinking with his knowledge of Orthodox Christianity. but here he gives the word solely to Eliade himself by way of two 1937 articles “Blind Pilots” and “Meditation on the Burning of Cathedrals. This. cf. of the Romanian “instinctul statal”) he calls “nationalistic instinct” (413). not least to the reader who is not a philosopher or well versed in the relevant terminology. also means that this reviewer. third his autobiographical work.” Eliade speaks about the “religious intentionality of the vegetation” as an intention that is there and Downloaded from jaar. if alive and not dead. Let me give an example related to the use by Eliade and others of the (technical) term “intentionality”: in a fairly important text on “The Sacred and the Structure of Human Consciousness. First: in regard to Eliade’s (im. and Alexander F. The second comes close to a defence of the Hitlerian Fascist dictatorship as Eliade insists that contrary to the Bolschevik Revolution in Russia. Webster is more focused on the influence of the theology of the Orthodox liturgy and liturgical “mysticism and Eliade’s depiction of the ‘archaic’ religious person” (407). C. Fascism may be bad but not as bad as Communism.” The first is a furious attack on Romanian leadership for having lost and betrayed what Eliade thinks ought be the principal instinct of the political elite. The final section is on “Eliade’s Politics. has his desiderata. and fifth books and articles [cited] on Eliade) and an index of names close the volume. So. however. where hundreds of churches were burnt and thousands of priests killed. fourth his fiction. When Rennie in his “General Introduction” says that such a selection of texts by and on Eliade cannot satisfy every reader nor be totally comprehensive (2). he is not just safeguarding himself. p. though acknowledging that it is Rennie who is the expert if any. 2011 . neither a total newcomer to Eliade and discussions on Eliade. A bibliography (listing first Eliade’s nonfiction books. an instinct. The same is true for his acknowledgment that some important. and ends up calling Eliade a “secularized mystic of Byzantine Christinity” (401). more articles on Eliade’s phenomenology and hermeneutics vis á vis other kinds would be helpful. nor an up-to-date Eliadeologist. texts on important themes have been left out. and that some important themes could have deserved more attention.org by guest on January 13.
2011 . and I do not think I am the only scholar of religion who is not well versed in philosophy. not least “A New Humanism” and “Crisis and Renewal” ought to have been included. “The meaning. relating and comparing it to the first (or maybe even “preparatory”) part. namely Eliade’s morphological. I think this Critical Reader on Eliade ought have had one or two articles (Allen’s is not sufficient) discussing whether.” 58–67). The structure of the agricultural is called a fertility religion” (59). in the relations between the synchronic and diachronic parts of Eliade’s total work.174 Journal of the American Academy of Religion “is grasped by the human spirit. Eliade in Fragments d’un journal II. of Eliade’s work and key concepts like. Mentioning this and Patterns leads me to say that I miss some bibliographical details. I do not think I am the only scholar of religion who has problems understanding what Eliade might mean with “intentionality. and in what ways (if any) Eliade’s notions about this (including “intentionality”) can actually be said to be “philosophical. And.” adding a remark about Eliade being somewhat too philosophical from time to time. 73–98). What does Eliade really mean? I do not know. scholarly as well as soteriological. no.. some of Eliade’s programmatic articles. 43.” but as the example of Traité illustrates. I think the volume also ought have had something about Eliade’s History of Religious Ideas. “creative hermeneutics. and Cognitive Theory” (Temenos. Reduction.org by guest on January 13. he goes on. phenomenological. is given in the intentionality of the structure. Consequently.” in this example and elsewhere. or structural work ( primarily Patterns). To help newcomers understand the total design and purpose. then exactly such bibliographical details can prove important in stimulating further interest and research. he could have written at least one of the relevant articles himself. to what a degree. 1. and philosophical phenomenology.g. To judge from what Rennie himself has written. then. An article discussing this part of his total oeuvre. Rennie has chosen to concentrate on “English-language publications available to the research scholar. hermeneutics.” and I find it problematic that several of Eliade’s works published first in French are not listed in the bibliography. I suggested to compare what Eliade here says with Goethe’s “Urpflantze. e.” If Rennie did not judge any existing text good enough for this purpose. 2007. 271–72) that Traité d’historie des religions originally was titled “Prolégomenes á l’histoire des religions: morphologie et structures du sacré.” articles (or excerpts from them) like these would have been helpful. Downloaded from jaar. for instance. 1978. Second: In regard to the evaluation and understanding of Eliade’s work and in continuation of allusions in several of the texts. he might have commissioned one or at least guided the interested (or bewildered) reader in the direction of clarification by way of a commentary or a reference. In a 1984 review of Eliade’s work. how. including his recent “Mircea Eliade and the Perception of the Sacred in the Profane: Intention. for instance the not unimportant information (cf. vol. but not invented or created by the human mind because the intention is in the agricultural process” (“The Sacred in the Secular World. Third: In continuation of this. At least too philosopical for me.oxfordjournals.
I am not sure that this is the way to include Rennie. the series editor. and explaining the position of religion in human life. including translations of his works into many European and Asian languages. as it so happens p. Hopefully.” Consequently. the aforementioned Changing Religious Worlds: The Meaning and End of Mircea Eliade. This series (according to the statement in the colophon) aims to “present the pivotal articles that best represent the most important trends in how scholars have gone about the task of describing. Likewise. I want to add but one more remark. in Durban 2000. note 5. Rennie arranged two symposia on Eliade at the XVIIIth Quinquennal World Congress of the IAHR. An AAR session (1996) on “The Reception of Mircea Eliade in the United States” as well as the anthology based on that session. Though the title. Contrary to the “Eliade Reader.oxfordjournals. some readers will use the “Eliade Reader” as but a stepping stone to the reading of several works of Eliade as well as of his critics in extenso. Sometimes. and occasionally it may make it hard for the reader to just forget about Rennie and his opinion when reading the text in question. Accordingly. however. corrects an author by way of adding a commentary to his notes. McCutcheon who. 2011 . Russell T. I find it problematic when Rennie. The 2007 International Eliade is the (late) offspring of some of the papers read there. solicited this “Eliade Reader. agreement. Rennie’s “Eliade Reader” is published in the series Critical Categories in the Study of Religion. On the one hand. The International Association for the History of Religions. Downloaded from jaar. in my opinion made an obvious choice when he. in his contribution to Rennie’s 2001 Eliade anthology (Changing Religious Worlds: The Meaning and End of Mircea Eliade).Book Reviews 175 Regarding the editorial work done by Rennie. as well as Rennie’s “Introduction.org by guest on January 13. I recognize that Rennie is a (maybe the) leading Eliadeologist and deeply engaged in the debates.” allude to the international career and impact of Eliade. or disagreement with the writer in question. in order for it to be (more of ) a part of the Eliadeology of the anglophone West. urged that Eliade be left behind.” Asking today’s leading specialist on Eliade and Eliadeology—Rennie —to edit it was an equally obvious choice. it looks more like interfering than elucidating. The International Eliade here primarily denotes nonanglophone scholarship on Eliade.” The work of Eliade certainly abounds with highly influential as well as controversial “critical categories. but to the very idea of such readers in general. after all. The risk that they do not is a risk pertaining not only to this Eliade Reader. On the other hand. interpreting. 402. with a few extra contributions added. and the volume at hand no doubt lives up to the aims of the series. from time to time.” The International Eliade holds no excerpts or articles by Eliade himself. made Rennie realize the need to give (an English) voice to the nonanglophone scholarship. but I am not sure whether I find it neither useful nor right when Rennie. uses these introductions to inform the reader about his own evaluation. and that no up-to-date comprehensive picture of positions on Eliade can be without Rennie. concerning his short introductions to each article: I find these necessary as well as useful.
” in “quotidian time” (17)? And. and that the “characteristics of Egyptian thought comfortably agree with those of Eliadean thought” (61). she finds Eliade’s hermeneutics and analytical categories (e. “hierophany. Meslin asks about religion. furthermore want to use Eliade to enrich what they refer to as “Western ontological and epistemological assumptions” (32) and to identify “those universal existential traits whose power of poesis may turn the brightest and darkest sides of humaness dramatically real” (33). Homo Religious. also a “terrestial” side. The article seeks to read Eliade in the light of Paul Ricoeur’s “analysis of the hermeneutical field” (23) “delimiting two fundamental perspectives in the interpretation of symbols: recollection and suspicion” (24). To demonstrate this and “to serve the role of a brief Downloaded from jaar.” “the irreducible sacred. “The Interpretation of History. Brigitte Quellet in “In Search of a Methodology: Eliade’s Hermeneutical Approach in the Study of Ancient Egyptian Texts” expresses her understanding of critics and specialists who are suspicious to interpretations by scholars who do not have the historical–philological expertise (47–69). and … every tradition is always interpretation” (18). as Berner furthermore remarks. Religion. even if adopting the Eliadean view. reveals more than one type of religiosity and most likely three different attitudes to the rites and myth of Adonis (41–42). so to speak) and what they hold as divine powers can be understood solely or primarily in terms of the outstanding festivals of (the postulated) return to/celebration of the primordial sacred time beyond the “la durée.” What. has. and it is the task of the scholar to analyze that too. and illustrative “Mircea Eliade and the Myth of Adonis” by Ulrich Berner.” Michel Meslin opens with “The Sacralization of Time in the Thought of Mircea Eliade.org by guest on January 13. The authors. warning against debates about Eliade being reduced to controversies “between religious and nonreligious scholars of religion” (37). a role shared by Ricoeur” (23).” Central to his brief but precise critique is the doubt as to whether “sacred time” and contact between religious people (real historical instances of Homo Religiosus. Chapter II. if I understand them right. symbols.” in the “duration of existence. After this straightforward critique from a scholar of religion. then “continuous re-presentation of the origin can only be actualized through a tradition that transmits myths.” “illud tempus”) applicaple to Egyptian sources. as well as to look at Eliade in his role as “a thinker of European modernity. 2011 .g. namely Lucian’s De Dea Syria. not just of one but more passages. and rites.. and religious reinterpretation and innovation in the “meantime. balanced. applies Eliade’s notion (or theory) of homo religiosus to a specific historical situation and text.” much to the relief of this reviewer. down to earth. Yet. He effectively demonstrates why a reading of the text. opens with the less speculative. “Cosmological Bridges: Suspicion and Recollection in the Realities of Myth” (23–33) by Pablo Wright and César Ceriani Cernadas. follows a much more philosophical piece.176 Journal of the American Academy of Religion Following “Acknowledgments” and an “Introduction” (including a synopsis of its contents) comes chapter I “The Sacralization of Time. Berner. religious life.oxfordjournals.
Her way of winding up the article. and key concepts. In Eliade. to give but two examples: “An in-depth investigation of Eliadean hermeneutics enables an evaluation of the intermediation of religious structures in literary structures of discourse in relation to what is known of factual history” (63). vision.org by guest on January 13. Muthuraj. She writes. I find it hard to understand what Quellet actually means by an “intermediation of religious structures in relation to factual history. and will remain in search of meaning?” (65). 2011 . the great scholar with a special gift for understanding man’s spiritual quest. “The Interpretation of India and Eliade’s ‘Traditionalism’. uses insider (or esoteric) jargon that this reviewer just cannot make sense of. besides. is truly Eliadean: “Isn’t history an enigma. Eliade’s mediation “between Western and Eastern schools of thought” (92). is said to tend to “close the gap between the text. Unfortunately. “The Significance of Mircea Eliade for the study of the New Testament. Eliade’s (nonorientalist) “encounter with Indian spirituality” (90). and praises Eliade who “drank from the wells of Indian religious heritage” (73). is. the hermeneut. then it seems to be too good to be true. for example. or to put it differently: it becomes much too spiritual for my taste. Soteriological aspirations can be found also in the next article.” which begins with Liviu Bordas’s informative discussion of “The Secret of Dr. Downloaded from jaar. and isn’t the human being a hermeneut who. When Eliade’s so-called total hermeneutics. Evola. Looking at biographical facts as well as texts. an Indian himself. Thus. the champion of new humanity and a prophet to the West” (93). and in continuous dialogue with earlier research on the subject. to make a secret and a myth out of his Indian adventures—paving the way for Eliade. writing. occultism) of. and Coomeraswami. Actually.oxfordjournals.Book Reviews 177 homologization” these categories are “transposed with those that fashioned the religious though of ancient Egyptian civilization” (52). from conception has been. Quellet from time to time. Muthuraj leads the reader directly to the next chapter III. and in archaic and Indian (Oriental) religions will have paramount significance. eternally misremembered.” Natale Spineto goes into more detail with the possible influences and importance of traditional thought for Eliade’s work. and “Eliade. Muthuraj thinks or hopes that Eliade’s “deep interest in myths and symbols. Eliade. esotericism.” by Joseph Muthuraj.” and also how such a result can possibly follow from an investigation of Eliade’s (or anybody’s) hermeneutics. he concludes. declares himself on the look out for a less occidental New Testament studies approach. first of all for opening up the religious dimensions of NT Christianity” (95). Guénon. “an Indian Christian finds a guru who opens the eyes to the wealth of Indian traditions” (95). and living context” (63). and the Egyptian spirit with its concern for the essential interactions between its being. but his focus is on Eliade’s efforts to transform the happenings during his sojourn to India into initiatory experiences.” Bordas deals with Eliade’s relations to the traditionalism (or: perrenialism. furthermore. I think Quellet has been charmed by Eliade’s “creative hermeneutics” and style of writing and let herself be carried far beyond the “terrestial” trivialities also of Egyptian religion. Aurobindo. In “Mircea Eliade and ‘Traditional Thought’.
In Chapter VII. “The Dialectic of the Sacred and Creative Hermeneutics” also holds but one contribution. Chapter V has the title “The History of Religions.” he adds. Ore first looks at Jane Ellen Harrison. the Italian storicismo. at the end of the day.” by Katrine Ore. “show traces of unclear logic and vague concepts” (201). and the criticism raised against Eliade by some of its proponents. my guess is that more examples from Eliade’s actual interpretations of hierophanies might have been useful to a less philosophically trained reader.” but also with specific sentences such as: “Eliade expresses the consciousness of the intentional mode of the hierophany as a symbolic system” (194). “the traditionalist notions were reinterpreted and integrated into a different conceptual framework” (145). Once again. “Mysticism and the Orthodox Tradition. and—not least—by way of describing one kind of historicism. this reviewer admit having problems understanding everything in this philosophical paper on Eliade’s phenomenological hermeneutics. Eliade’s “creative hermeneutics” constitutes. namely “Gender Perspectives in Eliade’s History of Religions. Eliade “adopted some feminist issues and themes … but he used them to think about maleness” (177).178 Journal of the American Academy of Religion Spineto concludes that the “reading of traditionalists was crucial in the evolution of the categories on which Eliade based his idea of the history of religions” (145). namely “Mircea Eliade’s Dialectic of Sacred and Profane and Creative Hermeneutics.’ and ‘Historicism’. and he thinks that it is also “the founding and ultimate objective of all the traditional concerns of religious studies” (205). Once again with the many instances of “intentionality.” by Chung Chin-Hong. Chung claims.org by guest on January 13. by way of discussing what kind of “historicism” Eliade criticizes and rejects.oxfordjournals. “However.” in which Philip Vanhaelemeersch elucidates Eliade’s notion(s) of “history” (as well as his “alleged antihistoricism”). When. then he also thinks that Eliade “distinguishes himself as an independent and original phenomenologist” (204). article here. her feminism. Although Chung admits that Eliade’s phenomenology and arguments. the author-priest concludes that the “stress laid [by Eliade] on the anthropological Downloaded from jaar.” Wilhelm Dancă has written a piece on the Romanian roots and genesis of “mysticism” in Eliade. nicely adding to the two dealing with Eliade and traditionalism. sort of a “surplus of phenomenology” (205). Chapter VI.” and ( for reasons not explicated) the editor has placed one. This is in many ways an informative article. and only one. with special attention to the philosophy (of religion) and ideas of Nae Ionescu. I have no clue as to what this may mean—not to say what it may possibly refer to beyond the phenomenological jargon and discourse. ‘History. “History and Historicism” has but one contribution: “Eliade. As for its reference to Eliade. and the gender perspectives of her work. 2011 . Chapter IV. and she considers that “the feminism Eliade expresses is an inversion of [this] first wave feminism” (170) and that Eliade in his work identifies “the male norm with the human norm in his concept homo religiosus” (175). seen from the point of view of philosophical phenomenology. primarily Benedetto Croce.
In this way too. The International Eliade shows this. is sometimes equal to studying the religion(s) and religious practices and aspirations of some scholars. as can be seen from the remarks to some of the contributions as well as from the review of the “Eliade Reader. maybe more importantly. then his works in other languages. and an index of names closes the volume. The volume is organized in accordance with the various themes of the articles.” and may be seen as a dealing with questions pertaining to making sense of past and foreign cultures. as well as to the academic cum religious practices and aspirations of many a(n Eliade) scholar. The volume is closed by a play by Eliade. It also shows that Eliade. and the sacred with the divine. The play displays. and on “the dialectic of the camouflaging of the sacred in the profane” (234). anglophone or not. and the volume no doubt reveals its character of being a collection of edited papers by a mixed company of writers.” by Okuyama Michiaki. Chapter VIII. can be used for and serve many purposes. and then other works cited. however. the author turns to the literary work of Japanese Nobel Prize winner. Eliade is still useful. Having briefly mentioned passages in Eliade. However. Ōe Kenzaburo. studying Eliade and certain kinds of Eliadeologists around the world. by way of studying Eliade—and by way of studying those who study Eliade. its identification with the ‘profane’” (230).Book Reviews 179 dimension of mystical experience caused [him] to overlook certain terminological ambiguities: he sometimes mixes up mysticism with religion. yet. some less “purely” academic than others. And. The International Eliade also attests to the not infrequent im. A list of contributors. on the sacred being “revealed as well as disguised in the profane. doi:10.” or as the author says. and most likely also about religion. the motif of the “quest.” this reviewer is in agreement with Rennie that this volume too indicates that there is more to learn about Eliade. there is still more to learn about the study of religion. informative and revealing in quite another way (222–23). “Men and Stones.org by guest on January 13. A bibliography lists works cited: works of Eliade in English first.1093/jaarel/lfp003 Advance Access publication February 18.’ more precisely.oxfordjournals.” first has “Camouflage and Epiphany: The Discovery of the Sacred in Mircea Eliade and Oe Kenzaburo.” The author thinks that such a comparison helps solve the challenges that follow from Eliade’s notion that the sacred is not only manifested but also disguised “for everyone else outside that particular religious community. for “those who cannot recognize the manifestations of the sacred” (235).” then the text is. “Eliade’s Fiction. now as before.and explicit mixture of academic and extra-academic aspirations.” on the possible historical development in the West towards a “complete camouflage of the ‘sacred. many of the chapters touch on more than a single theme. as the editor himself admits. magic with alchemy and religion. Or. 2011 Tim Jensen University of Southern Denmark . to change the perspective and wording slightly. inter alia. 2009 Downloaded from jaar. Ōe has read Eliade and also applied a notion of “epiphany” in his literature that may be compared to Eliade’s aforementioned notions of “hierophany.” translated by Ricketts.
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