— Mircea Eliade Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer and philosopher 1907 - 1986
The Sacred and the Profane : The Nature of Religion: The Significance of Religious Myth, Symbolism, and Ritual within Life and Culture (1961), translated from the French by William R. Trask, [first published in German as Das Heilige und das Profane (1957)]
Contexto: Man becomes aware of the sacred because it manifests itself, shows itself, as something wholly different from the profane. To designate the act of manifestation of the sacred, we have proposed the term hierophany. It is a fitting term, because it does not imply anything further; it expresses no more than is implicit in its etymological content, i. e., that something sacred shows itself to us. It could be said that the history of religions — from the most primitive to the most highly developed — is constituted by a great number of hierophanies, by manifestations of sacred realities. From the most elementary hierophany — e. g. manifestation of the sacred in some ordinary object, a stone or a tree — to the supreme hierophany (which, for a Christian, is the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ) there is no solution of continuity. In each case we are confronted by the same mysterious act — the manifestation of something of a wholly different order, a reality that does not belong to our world, in objects that are an integral part of our natural "profane" world.