Mircea Eliade's hermeneutic imagination
Source document: Religio. 2006, vol. 14, iss. 2, pp. -172
ISSN1210-3640 (print)2336-4475 (online)
License: Not specified license
The paper focuses on certain elements in the works of Mircea Eliade that have been so far somewhat neglected, and discusses the role of imagination and the interpreter in Eliade's hermeneutic concept. Its main aim is to (a) characterize Eliade's conceptualization of the interpretation process, and (b) analyze the basic features and assumptions of his interpretation strategy. The paper proposes an answer to the question of whether some elements of Eliade's thinking can be useful and valid in contemporary study of religion. -- Eliade's phenomenological-hermeneutic approach is based on a number of fundamental assumptions. Firstly, Eliade assumes that every manifestation of the sacred evolves around an archetype. In other words, each hierophany involves an "initial" structure of the sacred; each phenomenon (of a certain type or structure) can be "posited" within a higher-level structure and so can be systematized. The author demonstrates that Eliade's approach, the construction of a "system" (morphology), rather than being strictly based on a methodology, is the result of creative, imaginative and combinational capacities of the scholar. The author dubs this procedure "imaginative variation", instead of Allen's term "method of free variation". The author subsequently categorizes the interpretation procedure proposed by Eliade into four basic stages corresponding to: (1) historical description, (2) imaginative variation, (3) eidetic reduction, and (4) hermeneutic application and interpretation. ...