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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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Top Customer Reviews
I could regale the reader with a long and involved report, but would rather say something more to the point: I cannot praise this book too much. It comes highly recommended to anyone interested in the main differences, psychologically speaking, between our distant "ahistorical" ancestors' (from across the globe) and our own "historicistic" modes of religious worship, social activity, and spiritual reconciliation to "time". Eliade touches upon the non-Jungian archetypes that comprise the tribal structure, and how actual events became interpreted mythologically (thus meaning nothing in themselves); how archaic man was clearly freer than we, his time-bound successors--freer to approach the deity, to appease the deity, to co-create with the deity, et cetera. He concludes with how and why such a disposition, such a world is no longer available to us, being culturally resigned to the temporal realms (via clocks, and other mundane, "profane" scheduling systems). Do not be fooled by the short length--these are considerably deep waters, if one is not well-versed in the material. Eliade is damn thorough, making an astounding number of references to groups and cultures, authors and works, that might not be at the forefront of your brain or tip of your tongue (his acumen is found to be quite impressive). Aside from reasonably sober expositions, Eliade lends himself to an immensely enjoyable and accessible reading--even inspiring in certain spots. Here is the perfect balance of scholarship and entertainment; for some this will reveal itself to be another piece of "the big puzzle", for others it will be a catalyst to starting that puzzle. Read it for fun, homework, inner-work, re-read it for clarification--whatever--the value is immeasurable.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was pretty smart back then. Or, maybe I'm just kind of dumb now.Read more