Erik Graff's Reviews > The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion

The Sacred and the Profane by Mircea Eliade
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's review
Feb 24, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: religion
Recommended to Erik by: Robert Neale
Recommended for: religion fans

Eliade was frequently assigned for seminary classes. As a consequence I came to perceive him as redundant, each book repeating many of the points made by others previously read. This book is a bit different in that he consciously works off Otto's Idea of the Holy, a book I'd read in college. What struck me as original at the time was Eliade's treatment of the axis mundi, whereby all is oriented.

Eliade's personal history was unknown to me at the time of reading his books. Since then, thanks to an article in The New York Review of Books, I've learned of his support for the Iron Guard, the Rumanian fascist movement, during his youth in the thirties, and his post-war affiliations with the right-wing leaderships of Portugal and Spain. If I were to read him again I would be sensitive to these political associations and would seek to understand how, if it all, they influenced his treatment of religion.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Dan's Obsessions I've seen a film ( scripted form a quite famous book of his) & well naturally after that my curiosity peeked
Well I can't remember the title, but I can tell U that it involved past lives resurfacing to present day individuals...
Also I think I 'll take yr advice and start his work with the book U labeled in a past review: "The myth of eternal return.."
If I may strightne tihs out for Ya ( despite my lack of info on the matter) I sincerely doubt he had Right wing affiliations, but alike Gunter Grass among others he was labeled so by his enemies after the collapse of Fascism/nazism. If he did use up any influence at all then I suppose that he did so to promote his work & strive for more.. I would if presented with the opportunity in a brocken/shifting world wouldn't ya or any scholar in his shoes?

Erik Graff Look him up. He was a Romanian fascist.
Certainly, professional and personal selfishness may have contributed to the convenient decisions that affiliated him to the Right. Fortunately not all persons are as opportunistically self-centered as he was.

message 3: by Scott (new) - added it

Scott Kleinpeter Do you mind, Erik, if I ask what sort of seminary you went to?

I found out about this book by looking through Fr. Bernard Lonergan's bibliographies. It seems as if he too was interested in the contemporary problem of intuitively perceiving the world as atomistic rather than having a necessarily spiritual component.

He also featured this one ( ), which seems extremely intriguing for the spiritual vs. material debate for personal worldviews.

Dan's Obsessions I am quite eager to see how this conversation topic is goin' to unfold on the way

message 5: by Scott (new) - added it

Scott Kleinpeter Hi Dan! While discursively investigating the topic, the Jesuit theologian Henri du Lubac's name has frequently made aparances. Here is an article I found that seems to cover some of his assertions (I haven't read it through, but I have it open in my smart phone browser for later ). The Bernard Lonergan Archibes are available online for free, if you're interested in looking up any of his bibliographies he collected (I think of it as a pre internet blog roll).

Erik Graff I attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Loved it!--EG

message 7: by Ill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ill D Although I liked some aspects of this book, I've generally found Eliade's works to to be highly overrated.

After reading this book I actually dropped my original intention of getting a minor in religious studies. QQ

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