Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Dr. H. Byron Earhart

Second Advisor

E. Thomas Lawson

Third Advisor

David Ede

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


Mircea Eliade's theory of sacred mountains in religion as an axis-mundi is the focus of this thesis. Several scholars who have criticized Eliade's theory as being limited and inadequate were reviewed. Their analyses showed Eliade's theory to be significantly restrained and unfitted in several instances. This thesis then reviewed Eliade's theory of sacred mountains in religion as an axis-mundi. Given this theory, this paper tested his theory among case studies of the creation stories of three historically unrelated religious systems: the Navajo, Mayan, and early Japanese.

Testing Eliade's theory with the evidence taken from these creation stories sufficiently showed that Eliade's theory is restricted and deficient in the instances provided by the stories. The analysis of these stories also provided the opportunity to revisit the evidence and to understand it in a new way. The evidence was able to show that sacred mountains in religion can be better understood within the broader notion of religious orientation by a religious system to its physical environment.

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