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Mircea Eliade non-fiction works

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We've discussed Carl Jung, Stanislov Grof, Charles Tart, Joseph Campbell and even Jordan Peterson but I don't think I've yet seen mention of Mircea Eliade on these boards. His "Encyclopedia of Religion" has guided and informed me to no end and even helped shape the direction of the first book I wrote. More recently I discovered his collection on the "History of Religious Ideas" which equally impressed me. Eliade is somewhere between Jung and Joe Campbell: not quite as pioneering as Jung but more rigorous than Campbell's eclectic observations. And where Campbell stays focussed on myths, Eliade ranges freely across the full spectrum of religious ideas and for that reason alone he stands singularly unique among these bellweather intellectuals.

I haven't crosschecked this list with his complete list of works so it is possible that I have missed a few of his works. It takes so long for me to do that and I've already put this off long enough. Y'all can do your own homework, eh.

Hope one or more of these works will be of use to others here.

re: Campbell vs Eliade

"Comparisons can be made between them in regards to their methods of analyzing separate traditions as well as their attempts to draw universal conclusions from them. Not only do these two theorists demonstrate the ability to take unrelated traditions and create a new way of viewing them as part of a larger picture, but they also resemble each other in how later theorists consider their work. Both men inspired a change in the way religion was thought about by the public, and both have earned the criticism of modern and feminist scholars...

Eliade’s concept of sacred time refers to the mythical time when chaos converted into the beginning of creation. This notion of time is a cyclical one in which humans live according to a model of endless regeneration reflected by the seasons symbolizing birth, mid-age, old-age, death, and birth again.

The idea of sacred space describes Eliade’s concept of hierophany, or the manifestation of the sacred into the profane world. Instances of hierophany can be seen in various traditions and include the burning bush of the Old Testament, Ayer’s Rock in Australia, and the linga stones of India. Eliade’s primary example of sacred space is the axis mundi, a world center which connects the higher and lower realms. To Eliade, each axis mundi serves as the center of the world: “Every temple or palace-and, by extension, every sacred city or royal residence-is a Sacred Mountain, thus becoming a Center…the meeting point of heaven, earth, and hell.” (Eliade 12)

According to Eliade, there is an immense difference between how archaic and modern man view the world in connection to sacred time and sacred space. Archaic man exists in a primitive world, in which he conceives of time in a cyclical fashion and derives meaning through repetition of the acts of the gods. By reenacting the original events, archaic man is able to stay connected through ritual to the sacred time of creation as well as to the gods. In Eliade’s words, ”every creation repeats the preeminent cosmogonic act, the creation of the world.” (18) One example of this type of reenactment is something that Eliade calls the hierogamy, or sacred marriage. In his words, “by consummating ritual union with the goddess…the divine union assures terrestrial fecundity…(and) the world is regenerated each time the hierogamy is imitated”. (26)

In contrast to the archaic model, modern man exists within a historical timeline in which time moves in only one direction, from beginning to end, and the central object of meaning is the individual. In this reality, God is a distant figure who intervenes in the lives of a select few in order to create significant events which cannot be repeated. Eliade speculates that this way of thinking started with the onset of the Abrahamic traditions, and as a result, modern man has lost the relationship to the cosmos that kept his archaic counterpart centered and connected to the sacred time of creation. It is this disconnect which creates what modern man experiences as the “terror of history”(139), in which man no longer achieves meaning by being part of the cosmic process, but is forced to tolerate his own powerlessness and the dreadful events and suffering which befall humanity."

Source for above comparison in quotes:


Good collection, Eliade is profound thinker and worthwhile to read.