myth and reality mircea eliade pdf

Myth and reality mircea eliade pdf

File Name: myth and reality mircea eliade .zip
Size: 1235Kb
Published: 29.05.2021

Navigation menu

Eliade, Mircea - Myth and Reality (Harper & Row, 1963)

Myth and the Secret of Destiny: Mircea Eliade’s Creative Hermeneuticsand the Yorùbá Concept of Orí

Navigation menu

To browse Academia. Skip to main content. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Download Free PDF. Oludamini Ogunnaike. Download PDF. A short summary of this paper. Andinthiswesaytruly;forthedivinepowersuspendedtheheadandrootof us from that place where the generation of the soul first began, and thus madethewholebodyupright. Plato,Timaeus90a …There is always a kernel that remains refractory to explanation, and this indefinable,irreducibleelementperhapsrevealstherealsituationofmanin thecosmos… -MirceaEliade,Shamanism:ArchaicTechniquesofEcstasy Weholdthat…thecardinalproblemsofmetaphysicscouldberenewed throughaknowledgeofarchaicontology.

Hefacedmeashespoke,wasorientedtowards me,andyettherewassomethingthematter-itwasdifficulttoformulate. Hefaced me with his ears, I came to think, but not with his eyes. These instead of looking, gazing,atme,'takingmein,'inthenormalway,madesuddenstrangefixations-on my nose, on my right ear, down to my chin, up to my right eye, as if noting even studying these individual features, but not seeing my whole face, its changing expressions, 'me' as a whole.

I am not sure that I fully realized this at the timethere was just a teasing strangeness, some failure in the normal interplay of gaze andexpression.

Ihadstoppedatafloriston my way to his apartment and bought myself an extravagant red rose for my buttonhole. Helookedatitlikeabotanist or morphologist given a specimen, not like a person given a flower. Pwasfinallydiagnosedwithvisualagnosia,theinabilityofthebrain tomakesenseofotherwisenormalvisualstimuli,typifiedbytheinabilityto recognizefamiliarobjectsorfaces. Fromareligiousperspective,likeSacks' patient,muchoftheacademicstudyofreligionseemsafflictedwithitsown form of visual agnosia, prey to the "sudden, strange fixations" of academic fads, with a marked weakness, inability, or refusal to recognize the irreducible, holistic nature of religious phenomena and explain what they mean.

Inandofitself,thisscientificoracademicgaze,whichturnsaroseinto "aconvolutedredformwithalineargreenattachment,"isharmlessenough, andcanevenbequiteuseful,butitgetsintotroublewhenitignoresitsown limits,makespronouncementsaboutreligiousphenomenaonthebasisofits agnosticvision,andtriestosubsumeotherperspectivesunderitself.

P was able to recognize abstract shapes such as cubes, pyramids, and even icosahedrons, and could sometimes identify simple images by picking outakeyfeature suchasEinstein'shairandmustache,Churchill'scigar,or hisbrother'sbuckteeth ,butwhenconfrontedwithunrecognizableimages, Dr. P,likeanygoodacademic,wouldmakeinformedhypothesisbasedonthe available data. Sometimes he would be right, but more often than not he wouldmistakeapictureofthedesertforapicnicscene,hisfootforhisshoe, andmostfamously,andhiswifeforahat.

Given that the fully-enlightened sages working in the study of religion are fewinnumber,itissafetosaythatmostofus,inonewayoranother,share the plight of Dr.

P: when confronted with religious rites, myths, and other phenomena,wejustdon't"getit. Somescholarsacceptthat thisissimplythebestwecando,othersassertthatthe"convolutedredform" is just as good as or better than the "rose," but still others do not.

It is probably abundantly clear by now that I belong to this third group, which holdsthatreligiousphenomenaexpressandtransformrealityanditshuman perceptionsinauniqueandirreplaceableway. These experienceshaveledmetocontemplatehow shortofquittingtheacademy totakeupacareerasatraditionalscholarinTimbuktuorIfe Icouldconvey thepower,beauty,andaboveall,thelife-affirmingandtransformingtruthsof thereligioustraditionsandphenomenaIstudyinanacademicsetting.

That is, how could I analyze and describe, rigorously and academically, religious rites,doctrines,texts,andmythsontheirownterms? One methodologicalprecedent for addressing suchconcerns isfound in the work of Mircea Eliade, thegreat Romanian historian of religion, litterateur, and keeper of extensive journals.

Eliade writes, "a religious phenomenon willonlyberecognizedassuchifitisgraspedatitsownlevel,thatistosay,if it is studied as something religious. To try to grasp the essence of such a phenomenon by means of physiology, psychology, sociology, economics, linguistics, art or any other study is false; it misses the one unique and irreducible element in it-the element of the sacred.

We know we can grasp the sacred only through manifestations which are always historically conditioned. Butthestudyofthesehistoricallyconditionedexpressionsdoes not give us the answer to the questions: What is the sacred? What does a religiousexperienceactuallymean? Butmore important than any single answer is the fact that historians of religions askedthis question. As so often in the past, a correct question may infuse new life into a wornoutscience 4 Thisarticleisintendedasamethodologicalexerciseandexperimentinspired by the above concerns.

Finally,Iwillconcludebyevaluatingthecosts and benefits of this method, and compare it to similar methods used in Comparative Theology, with a view towards further methodological developments. PartI:Eliade's"CreativeHermeneutics" Oneofthemostimportantandprolificfiguresinthehistoryofthestudyof religion, Mircea Eliade left behind a legacy whose profound and widereaching influence is perhaps matched only by its controversy.

Thisturnawayfromandagainstreductionismtowardsanew, "creative hermeneutics" of religious phenomena characterizes nearly all of Eliade's academic work, and occupies a significant place in his extensive journals and literary works. Herarely, if ever,gaveafullaccountofhisuniquehermeneuticmethodology,notingina journalentry,"inmywork,Ihavetriedtoelaboratethishermeneutics;butI have illustrated it in a practical way on the basis of documents. It now remainsfor me or for another to systematize this hermeneutics.

Itoldmyselfthatsomeday,'whenI'mfreefromworksinprogress,'I'llwritea short theoretical monograph and explain the 'confusions and errors' for whichIamreproached. My own understanding of Eliade's method of "creative hermeneutics" is largelydrawnfromhisownworks,particularlyfromPatternsinComparative Religion andJ.

Smith'spairofarticlesonthiswork 8 ,MythandReality,the foreword to Shamanism, and selections from his journals. The works of DouglasAllenandBrianRenniehavealsobeeninfluentialinthisregard. This terminology indicates that there are two concepts at work: "History" and "Religion.

It stands above and in oppositiontothemundaneworldoftheprofane:This "other world" represents a superhuman, "transcendent" plane, the plane of absolute realities. It is the experience of the sacred -that is and encounter with a transhuman reality -which give birth to the idea that something really exists, that hence there are absolute values capable of guiding man and giving a meaning to humanexistence. Itis then,through the experienceofthe sacred that theideasof reality,truth,andsignificancefirstdawn,tobelaterelaboratedandsystematizedby metaphysicalspeculation.

Every instance of such a manifestation is termed a hierophany, and it is here that "History" enters, as every hierophany is a "paradoxical coming-together of being and non-being, absolute and relative, the eternal and the becoming.

Everymanifestation of the sacred takes place in some historical situation. A thing becomes sacred in so far as it embodies that is, reveals something other thanitself. Howdoweinterpretthemeaning of a hierophany?

And what kind of hierophanies do we look at: buildings, texts,rituals,myths? Eliadeconcludesthat"thesafestmethod,clearly,isto make use of all these kinds of evidence, omitting no important type, and always asking ourselves what meaning is revealed by each of these hierophanies. Inthiswayweshallgetacoherentcollectionofcommontraits which, as we shall see later, will make it possible to formulate a coherent system out of thevarious modalities….

Such historical inquiries are not off the table, but must come after the morphological work, as Eliade notes, "We shall therefore, only be able to considertheproblemofthehistoryofreligiousformsafterhavingexamined acertainnumberofthem.

His morphology and interpretive method consists of discovering the meaning of new religious data hierophanies by situatingthem amongstthe systemsofrelationships between previously studied hierophanies. These systems are archetypes 34 revealingthesamemodalityofthesacred. Eliadeexplainstheunionofthis morphologywithhistorythusly:Theverydialecticofthesacredtendsindefinitelytorepeataseriesofarchetypes,so thataheirophanyrealizedatacertain"historicalmoment"isstructurallyequivalent toahierophanyathousandyearsearlierorlater.

Thistendencyonthepartofthe hierophanic process to repeat the same paradoxical sacralization of reality as in infinitum is what, after all, enables us to understand something of a religious phenomenon and to write its 'history. Moreover, given the irreducible nature of the religious, the history of religions is different from any other kind of history.

Allthisis'shown'inreligiousfacts;itisnottheinvention ofthehistorianofreligion. In his "archaic ontology," to knowathingmeanstoknowitsmythoforigin,theexemplaryhistoryofhow it came to be in illo tempore, because "facts show us that, for archaic man, reality is a functionof the imitation of a celestial archetype. While myth explains what things are by explaining how they came to be in illo tempore, the historian of religion explains what a thing is by discovering its archetype through its manifestations,its"becoming"inprofanetime.

Ashewrites,"Toknowthemythsis tolearntheoriginofthings…Forknowingtheoriginofanobject,ananimal,a plant, and so on is equivalent to acquiring a magical power over them by whichtheycanbecontrolled,multiplied,orreproducedatwill. Thisprocessofuncoveringthearchetype,themodality of the sacred, expressed through a hierophany, is likened to Platonic anamnesis supra-rationalrecollection , 43 albeitinahistoriographicmode: 37ThisslippagebetweenEliade'sownscholarlyperspectiveandthatofthetraditional, archaic,orreligiousmanheisattemptingtouncoverandexplainhasbeenthesourceof muchcriticism,andisapointwewillreturntolaterinthispaper.

Thisphilosophicalpositioncanbe comparedwiththatofthetraditionalsocieties:themythsrepresentparadigmaticmodels establishedbysupernaturalbeings,nottheseriesofpersonalexperiencesofoneindividual oranother. If we succeedinunderstandingacontemporaryAustralianorhishomologue,aPaleolithic hunter,wehavesucceededin"awakening"inthedepthsofourbeingtheexistential situation and the resultant behaviour of a prehistoric humanity…A true historiographic anamnesis finds expression in the discovery of our solidarity with thesevanishedorperipheralpeoples.

Wehaveagenuinerecoveryofthepast,even ofthe'primordial' pastrevealedbyuncoveringprehistoricsitesorbyethnological investigations.

In the traditional societies it is recollection of mythical events; in the modernWestitisrecollectionofallthattookplaceinhistoricalTime. Thedifference istooobvioustorequiredefinition. Butbothtypesofanamnesisprojectmanoutof his "historical moment. Eliade writes, "it could be said thatthis'primitive'ontologyhasa Platonicstructure;andinthatcasePlato could be regarded as the outstanding philosopher of 'primitive mentality,' thatis,thethinkerwhosucceededingivingphilosophiccurrencyandvalidity tothemodesandlifeandbehaviourofarchaichumanity…[His]greattitleto our admiration remains his effort to justify this vision of archaic humanity theoretically, through the dialectic means which the spirituality of his age madeavailabletohim.

Ingoingbacktoit,recollectiondoesnotseek tosituateeventsinatemporalframebuttoreachthedepthsofbeing,todiscoverthe original,theprimordialrealityfromwhichthecosmosissuedandwhichmakesitpossibleto understandbecomingasawhole. I will present a few examples before turning to "logic of symbols" which is Eliade's expression for the structure of the sacred revealed by hierophanies.

On page 25 of Patterns, Eliadeexplainshowthebasichierophanyofastonerevealsamodalityofthe sacred, "A sacred stone will manifest one modality of the sacred at one momentofhistory:thisstoneshowsthatthesacredissomethingotherthan the cosmic surroundings, and like stone, the sacred is absolutely invulnerable, steadfast, and beyond change.

Though it passed the Axis Mundi. Yet both reveal the same modality of the sacred embodied in plant life: the rhythm of rebirth, the never-ending life that vegetation contains, reality manifested in recurring creation, and so on.

What must be emphasized at once is that all these hierophanies point to a system of coherent statements, to a theory of the sacred significanceofvegetation[. This is the morphological processunderlyingPatternsinComparativeReligion,andthemeansbywhich Eliadedetermineswhatagivenhierophanysignifies. Thehistoricalprocess consistsof examininghistory forthe same hierophanyorhierophanies that reveal the same modality of the sacred, and are thus part of the same symbolic system.

Thesesymbolicsystemsarenotconstructedbythehistorianofreligion,but rather uncovered or revealed by him. They exist "trans-consciously" and autonomously, consciously in the mind of homo religious, 52 and subconsciously in his and possibly modern man's dreams and instincts. They unite or bridge levels of reality in objects without negating any of them. The transcendentsacredmanifestsitselfindifferentmodalitiesintotheplaneof profane history creating hierophanies, historical events which reveal or manifest a given modality ofthe sacred or transhistoricalarchetype.

These modalities,andtheirmanifestationinhistory,areorganizedaccordingtothe "logic of symbolism"whichgovernsthestructureof theUniverse fromthe sacredondowntotheprofane ,connectingeverythingtoeverythingelseon everylevelofreality. Thehomoreligiosusparticipatesinthesacredthrough religiousrites,symbols,andmyths,andinhisworld,allorder,meaning,and 51 ibid. Butinreality,itcouldbeanything,providedthatitembodiesorsymbolizesthe wholesysteminquestion.

Thelogicofthissystemwillallow himtoidentifythesameandsimilarhierophaniesatvariousotherpointsin history and understand how they have been historically conditioned.

This entire process will allow the scholar to answer the question: what does a givenreligiousphenomenonactuallymean? Beforemovingontothesecondsectionofthepaper,Iwanttopresentthree journal entries of Eliade's that help clarify his self-identified purpose, precedent,andprocess,aswellasrevealthemagicofhismethodofcreative hermeneutics.

He describes an aspect of the motivation for his scholarship thus, "I want to show the cathartic function of a correct understanding of myth. It liberates modern man from certain inhibitions which made him incapableoflovinghisownprehistory andhistory…. Thesetwotextsalone couldjustifythehistorico-religioushermeneuticwhichcertainofusaretryingtodo Corbin, myself, Ricoeur-and who else for the moment? Point of departure: a revelation, although brought about in a well-defined historical moment, is always transhistorical, "universal," and open to personal interpretations.

In fact the term "interpretations" is not precise enough: it is a matter of a transmutation by the person who receives, interprets, and assimilates the revelation.

For my part, I am going even further: the creative hermeneutic of which I have been speaking in so many of my recent studies provokes equivalent transmutations even when we are confronted not with a "revelation" of the type of that of the Koran, but also with exotic India,etc.

Eliade, Mircea - Myth and Reality (Harper & Row, 1963)

Mircea Eliade — was a Romanian-born historian of religion who did much to shape that discipline and make it an intellectual force in the twentieth century. Eliade graduated from the University of Bucharest in , then in — studied Indian philosophy at the University of Calcutta and yoga at an ashram in Rishikesh. Returning to Romania, he earned his Ph. Eliade joined the faculty of the University of Bucharest in , where he taught history of religion and Indian philosophy, as well as becoming a widely-read author of fiction and journalistic commentary in the s, somethings being spoken of as a major voice of the younger generation of Romanians. In those troubled times for Romania and Europe, toward the end of the decade Eliade became involved in the rightist politics of the fascist Iron Guard movement; when the King, Carol II,

Religion in Relation pp Cite as. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content. This service is more advanced with JavaScript available. Advertisement Hide.

Eliade, Mircea - Myth and Reality (Harper & Row, ) - Free ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online for free.

Myth and the Secret of Destiny: Mircea Eliade’s Creative Hermeneuticsand the Yorùbá Concept of Orí

This article argues that, despite the significant body of theoretical work that has been carried out by anthropologists and others, the mythological dimension of new religions has been largely ignored. Using Unarius Society, feminist witchcraft, and the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness as examples, it suggests that new religious movement myths are not fixed, but, rather, change in response to the ongoing process of reality construction taking place within such movements. Keywords: reality construction , mythology , Unarius Society , feminist witchcraft , anthropology. Diana G. Tumminia teaches at California State University at Sacramento.


  • Eneyen O. 30.05.2021 at 07:35

    He was a leading interpreter of religious experience, who established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day.

  • Ibrahim S. 30.05.2021 at 13:20

    To browse Academia.

  • Gracie Y. 31.05.2021 at 09:52

    MYTH AND REALITY. MIRCEA ELIADE. I. I I. Translated from the French by Willard R. Trask. (>ii\. \j:J. HARPER & ROW, PUBLISHERS. New York and Evan ton.

  • Michele M. 31.05.2021 at 13:41

    Printed in the United States of A m erica.


Leave a reply