RELIGIOUS STUDIES 200
JONATHAN Z. SMITH
article on eliade
"Myths describe the various and sometimes dramatic breakthrough of the sacred into the
world. It is this sudden breakthrough of the sacred that really establishes the World
and makes it what it is today" eliade. myth and reality, pg.6.
he points out that eliade is concerned with the sacred and profane.
sacred space and time
that which is extrordinary.
profane: the realm from which the sacred manifests itself into the profane
paradoxically through these hierophanies. the venue where hierophanies show up.
when the sacred erupts into the profane, it actually creates the world! it gives
meaning to the archaic man's world. the sacred is the most real, the most tangible,
the most important, and when it appears, archaic man tries to mimic it and form his
world around it. it becomes the blueprint.
so when they do a ritual or something similar, they are reenacting the sacred, to get
closer to the sacred, to go back to the sacred. nostalgic for the sacred.
he would look at genesis 1:1-8 and see a bunch of dividing of things to make the
in the enuma elish we see something similar: marduk divides up tia-mat to make the
the idea in both: dividing up the world, a primordial chaos is separated and divided
into proper order.
according to eliade, these myths of creation are recreated by archaic man. the pattern
needs to be repeated and reinstituted over and over again.
this helps eliade define religion in a weirdly functional way:
religious maintains an 'opening' towards a world which is superhuman, the world of the
axiomatic spiritual values.... this is a long quote. check the slide if you want more.
pg.27 of structures and changes in the history of religion.
a myth is just a more complicated symbol: "myth is the language of the sacred"
the sacred can't be articulated, but we can see the patterns.
repeating over and over again is what is important for him, the historical accidents
are not the main thing. he is looking for patterns. as long as you have enough to give
you a pattern.
you could note patterns because of shared scribes and other historic contexts, eliade
would say no you are misisng the point, it is the sacred that is the same and it
erupts in different places and is interpre