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History of Religious Ideas, Volume 1: From the Stone Age to the Eleusinian Mysteries

History of Religious Ideas, Volume 1: From the Stone Age to the Eleusinian Mysteries [Format Kindle]

Mircea Eliade , Willard R. Trask

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"No one has done so much as Mr. Eliade to inform literature students in the West about 'primitive' and Oriental religions. . . . Everyone who cares about the human adventure will find new information and new angles of vision."—Martin E. Marty, New York Times Book Review

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35 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The human and the spiritual 31 décembre 2003
Par Avid Reader - Publié sur
Mircea Eliade has spent a lifetime exploring the origins, meaning and mysteries of mankind's spiritual inner being. He is the Joseph Campbell of religion - not myth. This first volume was ably translated (from the French) into clear and direct English - a hallmark of his writing. It is difficult to speak knowingly of neolithic religion because the evidence is largely circumstantial and evolutionary. That is, we divine from our own religious present what must have existed prior to the forming of current ideas.
One of his main points is that peoples around the world, for whatever reason, seemed to be instinctually drawn toward the worship of something - an object, animal, human or unseen god or goddess. In this first volume he explores various cultures and their beliefs - the Mayas, Greeks, Iranians, neolithic man, Egypt, other Middle East groups...a dazzling array of cultures and societies. As the imagination grew, so did belief in an unseen world.
Of particular interest is the section on ancient Israeli beliefs and the origins of Yahweh. The chapters on religion in Greece were notable for their abundant detail. Even in the most isolated areas, the same rites and beliefs emerged - the idea of sacrifice, the belief in another life, the battle of good vs evil, the idea of holy representatives and eventually the thought of eternal life.
28 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Very informative, yet easy to read and understand. 15 juin 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur
This book reminds me of Joseph Campbell's Masks of God series in the way it is presented. Lots of facts and theories, but very readable. Eliade hasn't assumed that you are reading this book because you are a theologian or going for your Master's degree but for the common person with a beginning interest in Religious History.
20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful 10 janvier 2001
Par George H. Mcallister - Publié sur
This is a superb series on the history of religion, and incidentally serves as a fine introduction to comparative religion. The only real weakness is in this first volume: I've never like the treatment of paleolithic religion here, which seems abrupt. But this caveat is far too minor to dissuade anyone from reading these wonderful books.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Superb 2 octobre 2009
Par Geoff Puterbaugh - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Mircea Eliade was a genius, a polymath, and his three-volume history of religious ideas deserves to go on your bookshelf right next to Copleston's history of philosophy.

I want this review to be brief, so I'll just point out that Page One is really worth the price of the entire book. On that page, Eliade simply reprints his earlier thoughts on religion in general, which strike me as absolutely true: around the world and throughout recorded time, we human beings have been religious.

And this is something which really deserves serious thought and examination. I myself am about as religious as a pea, but I cannot help noticing that I am in a distinct minority. Then I look at Page One again, and think again about Eliade's statement that religion is a constant of human consciousness, NOT an historical stage which we have passed through.

Well, the man who most fervently believed that religion was "only a phase" was Mr. Karl Marx, who nowadays looks to have been proven wrong about almost everything.

As Eliade says, "it is difficult to imagine how the human mind could function without the conviction that there is something irreducibly *real* in the world; and it is impossible to imagine how consciousness could appear without conferring a *meaning* on man's impulses and experiences. Consciousness of a real and meaningful world is intimately connected with the discovery of the sacred.....Living, considered as being human, is in itself a *religious act*, for food-getting, sexual life, and work have a sacramental value. In other words, to be --- or, rather, to become --- *a man* signifies being 'religious.' "

This might well be compared with Larkin's poem, "Church Going."

Perhaps the question for us non-believers is not so much to "convert" others, as to try to define a religion that works for everyone. Just as an example, I cannot see any reason why a religious life should involve a conflict with science, or an easily-falsifiable belief that the Earth was created in 4,000 BC.

In any case, Volume I begins with the Paleolithic -- the earliest hunter-gatherers. It continues through "the longest revolution" --- agriculture -- the Mesolithic and the Neolithic. The next stop is Mesopotamia and Sumer / Babylon, followed by the religious ideas of the Pharoahs. There is a "detour" into the mystery of the megaliths (Stonehenge etc.). There follows a discussion of the Hittites and the Canaanites, early Israel, and then a sudden shift to the Europeans and the Indian Vedic gods. The rest of the volume deals with the phases of Greek religion, Indian religion before Buddha, and Zarathustra.

That's just Volume I of an extremely detailed and thorough history of our religious ideas.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sourcebook on religion. 8 septembre 2005
Par T. Philips - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
An excellent source of information about early development of religion. It shows the evolution of human thought with respect to metaphysical matters.
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