- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Spring Publications,U.S.; New edition edition (15 Dec. 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0882143581
- ISBN-13: 978-0882143583
- Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.4 x 22.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Rites and Symbols of Initiation: The Mysteries of Birth and Rebirth Paperback – 15 Dec 1994
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From the Back Cover
Organizing data from cultures the world over, Eliade lays out the basic patterns of initiation: group puberty rites, entrance into secret cults, shamanic instruction, individual visions, and heroic rites of passage. The vast information, assembled so beautifully, transcends usual scholarship. Eliade always affirms the greater experience in all initiations - the indissoluble tie between humans and the cosmos of Gods, spirits, animals ancestors, and nature. The absence of initiation in our culture has left modern men and women often isolated from each other, from the invisible powers beyond, and from the myths that sustain daily life. The primal soul desire for symbolic rituals pushes youth into substitutes for initiatory experience: gangs, suicide, car crashes, teenage pregnancy, street drugs. These "symptoms" show the unquenchable urge for existential transformation and the need for elders, mentors, and rituals. This book is about crossing - from confusion to knowledge, from innocence to experienced elder.
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Eliade utilizes a comparative methodology in looking for universal or nearly universal patterns in comparative religion. Here he looks at archaic initiation ceremonies in the Americas, Australia, and Africa, and compares these with India, Christianity, and historical Greece. The general parallels in symbolism and patter that he shows are quite meaningful and can help people understand related topics.
Highly recommended for anyone studying this topic.
Fluent in speaking and writing Romanian, French, German, Italian, and English, with a reading knowledge of three others, Hebrew, Persian, and Sanskrit.
Between 1925 and 1928, he attended the University of Bucharest's Faculty of Philosophy and Letters in 1928, earning his diploma with a study on Early Modern Italian philosopher Tommaso Campanella. In 1927, Eliade studied in Italy, where studied philosophy, religion and logic. After receiving a four year scholarship to study at the University of Calcutta Eliade also made a large tour of Egypt and stayed at a Himalayan ashram for a short time. In Calcutta he studied Indian philosophy, Sanskrit, Pali and Bengali. During this time, he studied and met Mahatma Gandhi, and adopted Ghandist ideas. Eliade received his PhD in 1933, with a dissertation on Yoga practices. During the same period, Eliade began a correspondence with the Ceylonese-born philosopher Ananda Coomaraswamy. In 1936, he made trips to London, Oxford and Berlin.
During WWII, Eliade supported Facist, far right ideas such as those put forth by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and opposed democracy (as managing to crush all attempts at national renaissance.)I'm not sure I support him here, but that was certainly a different time and place.
By 1945, Eliade lived and worked in France. In 1957, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, and is generally admitted to be, along with Joachim Wach, the founder of the "Chicago School" that basically defined the study of world religions for the second half of the 20th century. Upon Wach's death, Eliade was appointed as his replacement in 1964,to the Sewell Avery Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions.
In 1966, Mircea Eliade became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also worked as editor-in-chief of Macmillan Publishers' Encyclopedia of Religion, and, in 1968, lectured in religious history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was also during that period that Mircea Eliade completed his voluminous and influential History of Religious Ideas, which grouped together the overviews of his main original interpretations of religious history. In his later years his writing was severely hampered by arthritis. The last academic honors bestowed upon him were the French Academy's Bordin Prize, in 1977 and the title of Doctor Honoris Causa, granted by the University of Washington in 1985.
Truly a remarkable man! If you have not read any of his books look at his page on Amazon and pick on, buy it and READ it!
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