Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Eliade, Mircea (1907–1986)
Gerald L. Mattingly
As novelist, philosopher, and humanist, Mircea Eliade advocated a unique perspective in his primary work as historian of religions, a field in which he was universally recognized as a brilliant and enthusiastic scholar. By means of his creative and controversial approach to the religious expression of humankind, he attempted to bridge the gap between the contemporary, secularized world and archaic or more traditional cultures, where the sacred dimension has held a higher profile. By any standard, Eliade had a significant impact on his field and related academic disciplines, but the debate about Eliade as “problem” or “prospect” is still quite lively. As a leading historian of religions, he mastered a vast array of data, but became, and still remains, the subject of considerable inquiry himself. Eliade was born in Romania and was educated as a philosopher at the University of Bucharest. He was an avid reader (in several languages) and ...