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Alleviating the Eliade Effect: Neil McMullin’s Critique of Mircea Eliade’s Regnant Discourse in the Study of Religion

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Chapter Summary

The approach and method are the species of phenomenology propagated by Mircea Eliade known as the "History of Religions". This review of the Encyclopedia of Religion(ER) was among thirty-seven reviews that appeared between 1988-1992 in journals in the study of religion. Perhaps it was the most provocative critical assessment of this reference work. The sharp criticism within McMullin's appraisal of the ER brings attention to the problems that reside in the Eliade based approach. It describes and explains the data that are classified within the taxonomic category of religion. For Eliade and his followers, this object was "the sacred". This type of thinking continues on to the present day in certain areas within the study of religion, particularly in areas whose object of inquiry focuses on so-called religious "experience". It is also present in the newly developed area of the cognitive science of religion.

Keywords: "History of Religions"; Eliade; Eliade Effect; Encyclopedia of Religion(ER); Neil Mcmullin



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