Mircea Eliade's Vision for a New Humanism

Mircea Eliade's Vision for a New Humanism

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Mircea Eliade, influential writer and scholar of religion, envisioned a spiritually destitute modern culture coming into renewed meaning through the recovery of archetypal myths and symbols. Eliade foresaw this restoration of meaning bringing about a "new humanism" of existential meaning and cultural-religious unity - but left it ambiguously defined. Cave sets forward a structural description of what this "new humanism" might have meant for Eliade, and what it signifies for modern culture, through a biographical exegesis of Eliade's life and writings from his early years in Romania to his last years as professor of the history of religions at the University of Chicago. Addressing Eliade's political associations and espousals on Romanian politics and culture, theories on myth and symbols, existential and comparative hermeneutics, literature of the fantastic, interpretation of homo religiosus, views on the loss of meaning in modern consciousness and on the cosmic spirituality of archaic humans, as well as other subjects, Cave sets these topics within the totality of Eliade's oeuvre and evaluates them through the lens of the "new humanism." Cave's book is the first to organize and evaluate the whole of Eliade's work around a guiding principle, and on Eliade's own terms. To augment the "new humanism, " Cave uses data and themes from the history of religions and draws on philosophy, anthropology, psychology, modern science, and literary studies. The result is a broad and probing overview of this most influential, enigmatic, and frequently controversial man. Cave concludes by endorsing Eliade's radically pluralistic vision which, he argues, offers a key to the revitalization of ourdemythologized and material culture. Cave also repositions previous Eliadean studies, and places the "new humanism" as the paradigm in relation to which future readings of Eliade should be evaluated.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 226 pages
  • 145.3 x 217.4 x 23.1mm | 432.95g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195074343
  • 9780195074345

Back cover copy

Mircea Eliade, influential writer and scholar of religion, envisioned a spiritually destitute modern culture coming into renewed meaning through the recovery of archetypal myths and symbols. Eliade foresaw this restoration of meaning bringing about a "new humanism" of existential meaning and cultural-religious unity - but left it ambiguously defined. Cave sets forward a structural description of what this "new humanism" might have meant for Eliade, and what it signifies for modern culture, through a biographical exegesis of Eliade's life and writings from his early years in Romania to his last years as professor of the history of religions at the University of Chicago. Addressing Eliade's political associations and espousals on Romanian politics and culture, theories on myth and symbols, existential and comparative hermeneutics, literature of the fantastic, interpretation of homo religiosus, views on the loss of meaning in modern consciousness and on the cosmic spirituality of archaic humans, as well as other subjects, Cave sets these topics within the totality of Eliade's oeuvre and evaluates them through the lens of the "new humanism". Cave's book is the first to organize and evaluate the whole of Eliade's work around a guiding principle, and on Eliade's own terms. To augment the "new humanism", Cave uses data and themes from the history of religions and draws on philosophy, anthropology, psychology, modern science, and literary studies. The result is a broad and probing overview of this most influential, enigmatic, and frequently controversial man. Cave concludes by endorsing Eliade's radically pluralistic vision which, he argues, offers a key to the revitalization of ourdemythologized and material culture. Cave also repositions previous Eliadean studies, and places the "new humanism" as the paradigm in relation to which future readings of Eliade should be evaluated.show more

Review quote

`Cave has mastered the material and displays a thorough grasp of this literature ... He brings out a conceptual clarity not present in Eliade's comments on his own work ... Cave maps the fault-lines and tensions that radiate through Eliade's written corpus and life's decisions. The result is a fascinating tour of Eliade`s thought and life.' Lawrence Sullivan, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Universityshow more

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