The Myth of the Eternal Return

Eliade has this habit of turning out veritable grocery lists of practises that he's culled from various literary sources. This leaves something to be desired in the world of actual comparative religion. The first sections of his work are encyclopedic in scope, and that's not a good thing. His discussions of cosmic time and cyclical regeneration are tentative to begin with, and much of his initial argument could easily be dispensed with without seriously harming his thesis.

If you are going to read this book read it not for the hit and miss examples but for the final chapter, "The Terror of History", where Eliade takes on existentialism and time/history. This is an amazing chapter, full of well-articulated ideas and strong reasoning. I wish he had carried through with his thesis though, instead of going the Tillich route and deciding that Christian faith is the answer to modern existential crisis. He jumps to this conclusion preempting the much more interesting reasoning that was happening in this final chapter. So close...

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