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Quaerendum est in litteris quod non est in actis. Issues of Religious Historiography in Scholarly Correspondences (1/3)

27-321 | Thursday, 3:30 p.m. | 121
Panel Chair: Giovanni Casadio

Correspondences as a literary genre have proven to be, in the last years, an important key to reading religious historiography, both in order to obtain access to the Lebenssitz of scholars and to put concepts, debates, developments, structures and changes in their respective contexts. Hence, the religious-historical methodology cannot afford to neglect such a literary genre, given its character as 'etic' representation approaching the research object with an immediacy and originality that only personal communications can have; a freshness enriching scientific narration at all its levels with new and sometimes unexpected points of view. This panel (divided in three parts) intends to present some recent publications dealing with particularly significant exchanges of letters in the European area. The panel was launched with a half-open structure: besides the fixed books presentation (correspondences Pettazzoni-Rose, Cumont-Loisy, and Weinreich-Nilsson), it cordially invited researchers to contribute to it with further proposals of publication projects

Giovanni Sorge

The Correspondence Eliade – Jung

Starting from their encounter at the Eranos meeting in 1950, Eliade and Jung developed a mutual interest for each other’s field of research. This is witnessed in their correspondence, alongside with Eliade’s attempt to promote the diffusion of Jungian ideas in French. Although they moved from different perspectives, they dealt with the psychic surfacing of archetypical constants. In any case, the Jungian concept of the collective unconscious does not coincide with that of the transconscious according to Eliade. In fact, an epistolary discussion on the symbolism of the mandala, which took place in 1955, shows, alongside the undeniable convergences in their approach to the phenomenon of the sacred, their different theoretical and philosophical assumptions and, consequently, their different conception of the psyche. The paper is focused on this theoretic plexus in the context of the human and intellectual relationship between the two scholars.

Giovanni Casadio

The Correspondence Weinreich – Nilsson

For at least forty years, the review “Archiv für Religionswissenschaft” was a fundamental reference point for German and international history of religions. Its originality consisted not only of its openness to foreign contributors, but also of the active participation of a non-German editor (M. P. Nilsson) as well as in the cooperation with the Swedish Society for History of Religions for about 20 years, which decisively assisted this journal both on the financial and the scientific level. The correspondence between the Swedish Nilsson and the German Otto Weinreich, both editors of the “Archiv”, delineates very well, as M. Dürkop remarks in her book, this cooperation, with particular attention to the German Altertumswissenschaft during the interwar period.

Peter Antes

The Correspondence Pettazzoni – Rose

D. Accorinti's imposing volume presents the edition of the correspondence between the second IAHR president (1950-1959) and an eminent British-Canadian scholar, who were united by a very deep friendship and scientific cooperation. During his whole academic life, Pettazzoni strove to defend the unity and irreducibility of religion as a human phenomenon, without never yielding to any theologism or reductionism and constantly applying a sound philological scientific method. As G. Casadio argues in his preface, Rose was an expert of Greek and Roman religions and folklore with “a natural instinct for cross-cultural comparison”, an instinct which greatly assisted him in his very competent translations of Pettazzoni’s works into English. This correspondence offers insights not only into the writing processes of the Italian scholar, but also into the origins and development of the IAHR and its official review NVMEN.