Reading and Responding to Mircea Eliade's History of Religious Ideas the Lure of the Late Eliade

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Mircea Eliade was the 20th century's foremost historian of religions. This is the first book devoted to the last years of Eliade's life when he was writing A History of Religious Ideas, a work he considered his magnum opus. It draws on his personal journals to describe the context in which the History was written. The reader is invited both to explore his understanding of religion and to experience his effort to construct "a truly universal history of religions." It also responds to Eliade's History by raising critical questions regarding its scientific status, his relationship to Goethe, and allegations of involvement in fascism in the 1930s. It suggest how Eliade's project can be enhanced through the recent work of Robert Cummings Neville. The study includes substantial bibliographical notes that will further the study of both Eliade and Neville.


". . . John Mason has provided an extraordinary introduction to the whole of Eliade's work on religion. In its brevity, conciseness, and use of charts and schemata, this volume is a marvelous exposition of Eliade's theories of religion and empirical work from the earliest studies to the latest. Mason is steeped not only in these texts but in Eliade's autobiographical, journalistic, and imaginative writings. The result is a gem of magisterial authority and usefulness, with very helpful notes and bibliographies." - Robert Cummings Neville

"This is a fascinating and highly readable manuscript. It addresses an important topic in a lively and accessible fashion without in any way dodging the hard issues and controversies about Eliade's life." - Judith A. Berling

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