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Dr. Fairen - Religious Studies Theories and Methods 16

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Religious Studies
Glen Fairen

RELIGIOUS STUDIES 200 MIRCEA ELIADE LOVE HIM OR HATE HIM, ELIADE IS FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, THE MAN WHO DEFINED RELIGIOUS STUDIES FOR THE LAST FIFTY YEARS IN THE WEST. EITHER YOU LOVE IT OR YOU REACT AGAINST IT. HE SET THE PARAMETERS. WHY DOES SOMEONE CHOOSE TO FOLLOW ANY TRADITION'S CLAIMS? Some theorists are called "REDUCTIVIST", (usually hurled as an insult), meaning that these theorists reduce religion to something human and mundane. MIRCEA ELIADE IS NOT A REDUCTIVIST "A religious phenomena will only be recognized as such if it is grasped at its own level, that is to say, if it is studied as something religious. To try and grasp the essences of such a phenomenon by means of physiology, psychology, sociology, economics, linguistics, art, or any other study is false; it misses the one universal and irreducible element in it—the element of the sacred." *sacred used differently than durkheim • born and studied in bucharest, romania • travelled to india, hugely influenced • returned for mandatory military work • was in the legion of the arch angel michael • romanian diplomat during WWII • moved to US, took up position at the U of Chicago he was a huge advocate of religious things being studied by religious specialists, not sociologists or anthropologists or historians et al. he was interested in the folk religion when he went to india. he was one of the few to take seriously folk beliefs, not just the main stream take on religion offered by the 'authorities' on religion. his work with the legion of the arch angel michael (and possibly with the iron gaurd even more rightist fascist element in it) is scary. they were big in with the Orthodox Church to legitimate their nationalist claims. this group was indebted to the orthodox tradition. the legion itself was not militant, but its offshoot, the iron gaurd, was. but that could just be like making a distinction between the nazis and the SS. - all human life was very sinful - we're involved in a violent political war that would be transcended by a spiritual nation that would go back to its ancient roots - a legionaire would be asked to commit a violent action that would condemn them to damnation as a sacrifice for the future man. (this paradigm of the way things used to be was right, the way they are now is not, we must go back to the way things were) - antisemetic - a lot of scholars really underemphasize eliade's involvement and defend his work against this - eliade's ideas make more sense though when you have this context of his intellectual development. ELIADE studied for a time in paris in the same place durkheim cut his chops, so he would have been involved with that scholarship. but he would say they are simply not looking at religious properly. they weren't looking at these phenomena as RELIGIOUS. he called this proper way of looking at religion PHENOMENOLOGY - looking at the data exactly as it appea
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