Ulrich Berner

"Mircea Eliade and the Myth of Adonis"
Abstract Curriculum Vitae


Eliade is probably the most highly polarizing figure in History of Religions, defended as strongly as he has been criticized. So the debate on Eliade has tended to be some kind of worldview-controversy, between religious and non- religious scholars of religion. It seems to be difficult to go beyond such a one-sided approach and to show what the History of Religions is loosing when the Eliadean approach is abandoned totally and what the History of Religions is loosing when it follows the Eliadean approach totally. There are a few attempts to discuss Eliade's theory in an unpolemical way, by applying his concepts in historical case studies in order to find out whether they help in understanding - not religion on the whole but some religious phenomena in a limited historical context, as for instance ancient hymns to sacred cities or other sacred places. An attempt will be made to verify as well as to criticize a central element of Eliade's theory by taking up an example from the religious history of Late Antiquity, from the work of Lukian.

Curriculum Vitae

Born 1948. Graduated from Göttingen university, Germany. Lecturer in the History of Religions at the universities of Göttingen, Hamburg, Bonn, Bremen, before taking over the chair in "Religionswissenschaft" at Bayreuth university, Germany. Essays on aspects of Eliade's work (Saeculum 1981; Symbolon 1982) and on life and work of Eliade in Klassiker der Religionswissenschaft, ed.A.Michaels, 1997.

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