Hermeneutics, Politics, and the History of Religions: The Contested Legacies of Joachim Wach and Mircea Eliade by Christian Wedemeyer, Wendy Doniger
This volume comprises papers presented at a conference marking the 50th anniversary of Joachim Wach's death, and the centennial of Mircea Eliade's birth. Its purpose is to reconsider both the problematic, separate legacies of these two major twentieth-century historians of religions, and the bearing of these two legacies upon each other. Shortly after Wach's death in 1955, Eliade succeeded him as the premiere historian of religions at the University of Chicago. As a result, the two have been associated with each other in many people's minds as the successive leaders of the so-called "Chicago School" in the history of religions. In fact, as this volume makes clear, there never was a monolithic Chicago School. Although Wach reportedly referred to Eliade as the most astute historian of religions of the day; the two never met, and their approaches to the study of religions differed significantly. Several dominant issues run through the essays collected here: the relationship between the two men's writings and their lives, and in Eliade's case, the relationship between his political commitments and his writings in fiction, history of religions, and autobiography. Both men's contributions to the field continue to provoke controversy and debate, and this volume sheds new light on these controversies and what they reveal about these two 'scholars' legacies.
CKW: Assistant Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago Divinity School; WD: Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago Divinity School
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments Introduction I: Two Scholars, a "School" and a Conference Christian K. Wedemeyer Introduction II: Life and Art, or Politics and Religion, in the Writings of Mircea Eliade Wendy Doniger Part One: Joachim Wach: Contexts, Categories, and Controversy Hans G. Kippenberg-Joachim Wach between the George-Circle and Weber's Typology of Religious Communities Steven M. Wasserstrom-The Master-Interpreter: Notes on the German Career of Joachim Wach (1922-1935) Gregory D. Alles-After the Naming Explosion: Joachim Wach's Unfinished Project Charles S. Preston-Wach, Radhakrishnan, and Relativism Part Two: Mircea Eliade: Literature and Politics Matei Calinescu-Eliade and Ionesco in the Post-World War II Years: Questions of Identity in Exile Daniel Dubuisson-The Poetical and Rhetorical Structure of the Eliadean Text: A Contribution to Critical Theory and Discourses on Religions Antoine Faivre-Modern Western Esoteric Currents in the Work of Mircea Eliade: The Extent and Limits of their Presence Moshe Idel-The Camouflaged Sacred in Mircea Eliade's Self-Perception, Literature, and Scholarship Bryan Rennie-The Influence of Eastern Orthodox Christian Theology on Mircea Eliade's Understanding of Religion Jonathan Z. Smith-The Eternal Deferral Part Three: Mircea Eliade: Politics and Literature Florin Turcanu-South-East Europe and the Idea of the History of Religions in Mircea Eliade Elaine Fisher-Fascist Scholars, Fascist Scholarship: The Quest for Ur-Fascism and the Study of Religion Anne T. Mocko-Tracing the Red Thread: Anticommunist Themes in the Work of Mircea Eliade Carlo Ginzburg-Mircea Eliade's Ambivalent Legacy List of Contributors