The sacred and the profane : the nature of religion : [the significance of religious myth, symbolism, and ritual within life and culture]

by Mircea Eliade

Other authorsWillard R. Trask
Paper Book, 1959



Call number




New York ; San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, cop. 1959


Famed historian of religion Mircea Eliade observes that even moderns who proclaim themselves residents of a completely profane world are still unconsciously nourished by the memory of the sacred. Eliade traces manifestations of the sacred from primitive to modern times in terms of space, time, nature, and the cosmos. In doing so he shows how the total human experience of the religious man compares with that of the nonreligious. This book serves as an excellent introduction to the history of religion, but its perspective also emcompasses philosophical anthropology, phenomenology, and psychology. It will appeal to anyone seeking to discover the potential dimensions of human existence. -- page 4 of cover.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Parsley
I ended up reading this for two or three different classes in college. I suppose it is pretty good, but the real reason I keep it around is that I like the cover and I figure maybe if I keep it on my shelf people will think I am some kind of sorcerer.
LibraryThing member copyedit52
Certainly interesting, and at points even fascinating, but too scholarly, too academic, for my tastes.
LibraryThing member Crowyhead
A hugely influential book about the study of religion. Parts of it are no longer current, but it's still definitely worth reading and having around, due to the way it shaped the field.
LibraryThing member vsmoothe
This was assigned for at least 4 different classes I took in college. I love it, though. I find mysticism and the varities of celebration of sacred experience fascinating.
LibraryThing member hrissliss
One of the seminal books of religious scholarship (not theology, but the study of religion as religion). Because its seminal, some of it is pretty basic, and other parts don't quite work cross-culturally. Still, this is one of the most important books in the study of religion, and is a very
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valuable read. Probably one of the most important for anyone seeking to understand how religions work. 7.5/10
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LibraryThing member gmicksmith
One of the essential works of religion that can supplement any standard textbook on comparative or world religions: this is a classic text that students should read.


Original language


Original publication date

1957 (German)
1959 (English)



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