Mircea Eliade on Religion

1822 Words Nov 20th, 2011 8 Pages
Mircea Eliade On Religion
Several people find Mircea Eliade’s view on religion similar to Emile Durkheim’s, but in truth, it is similar to Tylor and Frazer’s. One of Eliade’s major works was The Sacred and the Profane. In his writings he explains that his understanding of religion are two concepts: the sacred and the profane. The profane consists of things that are ordinary, random, and unimportant, while the sacred is the opposite. The sacred “is the sphere of supernatural, of things extraordinary, memorable, and momentous” (Pals 199). When Durkheim mentioned the sacred and the profane, he was concerned about society and its needs. In Eliade’s view, the concern of religion is with the supernatural. To Eliade, the profane doesn’t hold as
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He believed adamantly in the autonomy of religion. When discussing religion eliade believed religion consisted of the profane and the sacred. The profane consisted everyday business, things ordinary, random, and largely unimportant, whereas the sacred consisted of the supernatural, of things extraordinary, memorable, and momentous. Although the terms of the profane and the sacred are familiar in the works of Durkheim there is a subtle difference in the way they both apply the terms to religion. Durkheim considers the talk of the profane and sacred in the way it makes people aware of their social duties whereas eliade considers the talk of profane and sacred firmly entrenched in the supernatural. Eliade based all his observations of religion on the archaic man. He believes to truly understand and study religion we need to study the archaic man or people in today’s societies who live like the archaic man, those who hunted, fished, and lived off nature as their primary way of life. Archaic man, as eliade suggests, looked to the sacred to provide the very framework within which they think, the values which they admire, an models or ‘archetypes’ they choose to follow whenever they act. Eliade supposes that the archaic man chooses to live life in the model of the divine because they have a deep nostalgia for paradise, a longing to be brought close to the gods, a desire to return to the realm of the
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