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Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "concerned with ‘the four last things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell’". (Source of definition Wikipedia). At one point in the text, a subchapter is names “The quest for Earthly Paradise” (page 90). Here the author is referring to the Garden of Eden. And with different occasions he tells us that the immigrants went to New England hoping for “Heaven on Earth”. Europe was for them at that time some sort of hell, so they wanted a land where they can start fresh, a new Garden of Eden, so they can prove they are worthy of all they have been offered up to that moment. “The colonization of the two Americas began under an eschatological sign: people believed that the time had come to renew the Christian world, and the true renewal was the return to the Earthly Paradise or, at the very least, the beginning again of sacred history, the reiteration of the prodigious events spoken of in the Bible.” (page 91) Mircea Eliade presents later on some interpretations of the New World and how they were born. He gathers in one place some famous declarations about New England from important personalities like John Smith (Heaven on earth), Edward Johnson (Massachusetts was the place where the Lord would create a new Heaven and Earth) , Cotton Mather, Jonathan Edwards (Paradise on Earth), John Winthrop and many more. They rediscover this new Garden of Eden in different parts of America, in different states sometimes. The author also presents the fact that Europe was an old continent, a continent that suffered, that was corrupted, that decayed over the years and a continent that lost the path to God, the path to Paradise, and also as a continent on the path to self destruction. “Catholic Europe was presented as a fallen world, a Hell, in contrast with the Paradise of the New World”(page 95). So some pilgrims, not being able to stand this, take matter into their own hands and go to search for this new Paradise. Even if some of them believe that this is something like the beginning of the end, they are still proud to be the ones that were able to discover it. Because people thought that this new land was a sign that the apocalypse was on its way. America appeared having this background of a messianic and apocalyptic atmosphere, of fear and of hope for a new start.
because they were “more ready to work for Satan”. The Sacred and Profane.We can clearly see from Mircea Eliade’s point of view that religion was a very important factor in America’s colonization. saw themselves as people who can change the world. They were under the impression that “the American Paradise has been infested with demonic forces coming from urban Europe”. They saw America as El Dorado. Mircea Eliade decried the secularization of the modern mind: “It is only in the modern societies of the West that nonreligious man has developed fully. The fact that we think situates us higher than other forms of life. but to help its being prosperous. and he only makes himself completely in proportion as he desacralizes himself and the world. For them intelligent people were dangerous. and to accept the fact that smart people are not necessarily dangerous. This is an evolution engine for us. because through thinking you can map your own road in life. The colonist were hoping to be like “reborn”.”(page96) And for the puritans. the others just exist and are happy in this state of being. This return to the past was not as simple as they had hoped. It was hard to escape that past [ “Shall we never. he accepts no model for humanity outside the human condition as it can be seen in the various historical situations. and later on we see Cotton Mather’s opinion. This is the secret of life. In his 1959. as Arcadia and they considered themselves as chosen by Providence to do this task that “would serve as an example of the true . The struggle between Protestantism and Catholicism turned into a conflict between Good and Evil in the end.” He is telling us that the human is surpassing his own condition just because he is able to think – an attribute that is so important for our existence. because he was expecting America “to return to the early days of Christianity. he regards himself solely as the subject and agent of history. We are the only life form able to think and able to change our destiny. so they could be able to grow and evolve in a different manner. the best and most important Christian virtue was simplicity. The sacred is the prime obstacle to his freedom. Man makes himself. able to change the world. In other words. and he refuses all appeal to transcendence. and that their main goal is not to destroy this new found Paradise. He will become himself only when he is totally demysticized. people that will be able to build the “city upon a hill” to be a beacon for everybody else. Modern nonreligious man assumes a new existential situation. Eliade also underlines the fact that the people who traveled to the New World. He will not be truly free until he has killed the last god. and isn’t this the meaning of life? To evolve and to change? Isn’t this what the first pilgrims wanted? They needed to escape from the Hell in Europe. because trough philosophy and psychology we evolve. And we are presented with this theory in the chapter called “The Return to Primitive Christianity”. never get rid of this Past? It lies upon the present like a giant’s dead body” page 100 ].
New Haven – all these names express the hope that in these lands and these new cities life will know new dimensions”(page 98). And this land became the perfect place for the puritans to start fresh. Not only Christianity. They believed that the divinity would reveal them the chosen land through the ritual of dance or through the dreams of the shamans. in Latin America the Guarani Indians would practice different rituals that could induce them a state of ecstasy. but also the Indian tribes would look at the New World as a Salvation: in order to reach the Paradise for "an eternal felicity". for establishing a connection with the divinity. “New England.Reformation for all Europe. and to have the possibility to rediscover the original “nature”. for the immigrants to have a better life and better conditions. .” (Page 92). It is the obsession of Paradise that made them fearful of "not understanding the divine messages in time and consequently facing the risk of perishing in the imminent cosmic catastrophe". New York. And the first pioneers “saw a sign of divine Providence in the fact that America had been hidden to the Europeans until the time of Reformation”(page 93). They thought they hold the key to salvation.