Mircea Eliade and his Study of Religion


Okuyama Michiaki

Tokyo: Tōsui Shobō, 2000.

Available only in Japanese

The present volume, published as an academic monograph in the series “Nanzan Studies,” was shared the 9th Nakamura Hajime Prize for the year 2000. Based on the author’s doctoral dissertation for Tokyo University, it traces the story of Eliade’s study of religion from his youth in Rumania to his final years. The work is divided into 3 sections, dealing respectively with Eliade’s Eliade’s theories of comparative religion, his specific religious studies, and the logical structure of his methods. It concludes with a resume of his life.

Though based on a doctoral thesis, this book is easy to read, free of the typically stilted prose of the genre, and structurally crafted in such a way as to keep the attention of the reader. That alone makes it a rarity. “The author suggests how the experiences of Eliade’s childhood and youth in Rumania left a strong mark on ideas like ‘cosmic religion’ and ‘historical Angst.’ “Okuyama takes into account not only the works on religion dating from Eliade’s years in Rumania up to his posthumous History of Religions, but includes works of literature and diaries as well-in all a formidable opus to classify, organize, examine, and evaluate. The passion of one fascinated with his work breathes between the lines of this book.

Matsumura Kazuo, Publishers: Weekly

postage included