By Mircea Eliade
This quantity completes the immensely realized three-volume A heritage of spiritual principles. Eliade examines the flow of Jewish concept out of historic Eurasia, the Christian transformation of the Mediterranean quarter and Europe, and the increase and diffusion of Islam from nearly the 6th throughout the 17th centuries. Eliade's enormous wisdom of previous and current scholarship presents a synthesis that's remarkable. as well as reviewing contemporary interpretations of the person traditions, he explores the interactions of the 3 religions and exhibits their carrying on with mutual effect to be refined yet unmistakable.
As in his prior paintings, Eliade can pay specific recognition to heresies, folks ideals, and cults of mystery knowledge, equivalent to alchemy and sorcery, and keeps the dialogue, all started in previous volumes, of pre-Christian shamanistic practices in northern Europe and the syncretistic culture of Tibetan Buddhism. those subcultures, he continues, are as vital because the better-known orthodoxies to an entire realizing of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
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Additional info for A History of Religious Ideas: From Muhammad to the Age of Reforms
On the contrary, the shaman is known to be irreplaceable in every ceremony that touches on the experience of the human soul as such: illnesses (soul loss or possession by evil spirits) and death (when the soul must be led to the other world). 31 Radlov has given a by now classic description of the Altaic horse sacrifice. This sacrifice is celebrated from time to time by every family, and the ceremony lasts two or three consecutive evenings. In a meadow the kam (= shaman) installs a new yurt, inside of which he places a birch stripped of its branches and marked with nine notches.
The meeting with the King of the Dead-laboriously mimed-includes numerous episodes that are at once both terrifying and grotesque. The shaman offers Erlik different gifts and finally alcohol. The god finally gets drunk and becomes benevolent, blesses him, grants the multiplication of livestock, and so on . The shaman returns joyously to the earth, sitting astride not a horse but a goose. He rubs his eyes as if he has just awakened . He is asked: "Did you have a good ride? " And he responds, "I had an admirable voyage.
The latter also recognize the "Master of the Earth, " Zemepatis. But the number of "Mothers" is considerable: for example, the Mother of the Forest (Meza mate; Lithuanian, Medeine) mUltiplies herself by emanation into a Mother of Gardens, a Mother of Fields, of Berries, of Flowers, of Mushrooms, and so on. ). As has already been said by Usener,55 the proliferation of such mythological entities recalls a phenomenon characteristic of Roman religion (cf. §163). Among the Letts, the most important goddess was Laima (from the root laime, "good fortune," "chance").