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The Myth of the Eternal Return: Cosmos and History (Bollingen Series (General)) Paperback – May 8, 2005
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From review of Princeton's original edition: "A luminous, profound, and extremely stimulating work. . . . This is an essay which anyone interested in the history of religion and the mentality of ancient man will have to read."--Review of Religion
From review of Princeton's original edition: "Profound and pregnant research in the psychology of time and the intuitive forms of the mind as revealed by the early cultures' attitude toward history."--Nation
About the Author
Born in Bucharest in 1907, Mircea Eliade was for many years Sewell L. Avery Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago. He is the author of, among other books, Shamanism, Images and Symbols, and Yoga (all Princeton). Jonathan Z. Smith is Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor of the Humanities at the University of Chicago and the author of Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown and, most recently, Relating Religion: Essays in the Study of Religion.
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Written well and based on examination of a great deal of scholarship, this is a persuasive analysis. An important criticism of Eliade is that he presents as universal what may be only common. In addition, these different modes of thought are not necessarily exclusive.
While Eliade was clearly influenced to a small degree by Jung's work on archetypes, he has redefined the term and taken it to a new level. Jung regards archetypes as "primordial images," or at least primordial categories of images (a concept which owes as much to Kant as Plato), while Eliade sees them as exemplary patterns which archaic peoples immitate in their own actions.
Eliade examines these exemplary facets, and builds a picture not only of how archaic peoples viewed both the cosmos and history, but also how our ideas of modern history have developed against the traditional and cyclic ideas of time. This work is thus important for anyone trying to understand older, traditional cultures.
There are a few places where the translation could be improved ("Sanguinary civil wars?" Why does that give me an image of calm, smiling people hacking eachother to death?)
Overall, highly recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
I was pretty smart back then. Or, maybe I'm just kind of dumb now.Read more