For the research of the first year, surveying the works of Mircea Eliade and different pro- or anti-Eliadean debates, I assessed them and probed some possibilities of understanding Eliade in a new perspective.
(1) First, the sui generis thesis ...
 For the research of the first year, surveying the works of Mircea Eliade and different pro- or anti-Eliadean debates, I assessed them and probed some possibilities of understanding Eliade in a new perspective.
(1) First, the sui generis thesis of Eliade which affirmed the autonomous status of religion can be criticized for its reification of religion as the innate nature in humans. On the contrary, accepting the historical situation in which the high tide of reductionist projects were being reinforced, Eliade’s confirmation of the sui genesis can be acceptable as having its own contextual and heuristic values. However, such efforts of accusing Eliade for his essentialism or as defending with his inevitable situation cannot be a solution for the problem of sui generis. Rather, we can escape from the dilemma when we acknowledge the hybrid traits of the study of religion between humanities and social sciences, and when we grope a way for dialogue between the two academic fields.
(2) Next, Eliade’s concept of the sacred can be regarded as being more influenced by Rudolf Otto than Emile Durhkeim. As the result, his understanding of the sacred can be criticized as transcendental ontology and quasi-theology. On the contrary, it can be understood as grasping the structural traits of human cognition who experience something as being sacred. However, both opinions cannot explain out Eliade’s concept of the sacred. It should be understood as neither sociological nor theological concept but an empirical instrument for understanding human experience. However, recent appearance of cognitive studies is raising the need to reconsider Eliade’s concept of the sacred.
(3) Thirdly, Eliade is criticized with ahistoricity. For accumulating and classifying historical documents, he usurped data out of their historical context. On the contrary, one can defend that Eliade utilized concrete historical data and his antipathy was not against history but against historicism. But such attempts does not solve the problem of ahistoricity. Rather, it can be understood be considering his objection to historicism, his Romanian root, and his implicit political bias. In addition, the problem of history in Eliade can be newly understood when we evaluate the modern impulse within the concept of history itself.
 For the second year research, though it was suspended in six months, I surveyed diverse recent debates on the method and theory of the comparison. Here, I analysed the arguments of Ninian Smart, Jonathan Z. Smith, and William E. Paden.
(1) Regarding Smart, I illuminated how he differentiated himself from Eliade and constructed phenomenology on historical basis. I showed Smart, through his unique aspectual approach to religion, suggested inclusive scheme for analysing both religious and secular worldviews. I also reassessed some criticisms against Smart: his romanticism, orientalism, and failure of phenomenological project. Non the less, I showed Smart cannot be underestimated with his contribution to the systematization of comparative method.
(2) Regarding Smith and Paden, I examined how Smith defied conventional comparative projects suggests a new way of comparison deeply rooted in specific historical context and focusing not merely similarity but also difference. I pointed out Smith provided new criteria for comparative work by systematizing its procedure from classification, through re-description, to rectification. Regarding Paden, I surveyed how he secured a new basis for comparison with his unique concept of ‘world’ and emphasized the equal status of similarity and difference. I also compared the different projects of Smith and Paden to critically accept and overcome Eliade. Here I showed that Smith, with his thick reading of Eliade and re-positioning Eliade’s texts within their formative contexts, can be seen as more successful than Paden.