Chapter

Modern Western Esoteric Currents in the Work of Mircea Eliade: The Extent and Limits of Their Presence

Antoine Faivre

in Hermeneutics, Politics, and the History of Religions

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394337
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199777358 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195394337.003.0007
Modern Western Esoteric Currents in the Work of Mircea Eliade: The Extent and Limits of Their Presence

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This chapter examines the place in Eliade’s historical and fictional works of a variety of currents: Christian Kabbalah, Neo-Alexandrian hermetism, Renaissance “magic,” “spiritual” alchemy, Paracelsian and Neo-Paracelsian forms of philosophy of nature, Theosophy (Jacob Böhme and his followers), Rosicrucian literature and associations, and the so-called Occultist current. Eliade’s reasons for underplaying certain among these are linked, in part, to the fact that a “philosophy of nature” clearly present in most of these currents did not really tally with his idea of what the essentials of “religion” are or should be. Such traditions—as speculative discourses permeated by a sense of historicity—were not really congenial to Eliade’s program of transhistorical religious anthropology.

Keywords: Western esoteric currents; Mircea Eliade; Kabbalah; hermetism; being; history of religions

Chapter.  5516 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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