|Title of host publication||International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition|
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 26 Mar 2015|
Mircea Eliade was a Romanian-born historian of religions who spent his last three decades at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He was one of the last great comparativists and was celebrated for his writings on the myths, rituals, and symbols of religions around the world. He was most celebrated for his lifelong defense of the approach to religion that characterizes the discipline of religious studies. Eliade maintains that religion originates to serve a distinctly religious end: providing contact with God. He assumes that, by contrast, all of the social sciences account for religion non-religiously: as serving some sociological, anthropological, psychological, or economic end. Eliade advocates the religious account over any social scientific account on two grounds: that the religious account coincides with the account offered by believers themselves, and, even more, that it alone satisfactorily accounts for, so to speak, the religious nature of religion. Eliade was influential outside of religious studies as well as within it. His attempt to find religiosity in the beliefs and activities of professedly atheistic moderns was especially influential.
- Mircea Eliade