Tremendum of the Numinous: Assessing the View of Rudolf Otto and Transcendental Wisdom

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student in Religious Studies, University of Religions and Denominations, Qom, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Theology, Research Institute of Hawzeh and University, Qom, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Non-Abrahamic Religions, University of Religions and Denominations, Qom, Iran

4 Associate Professor, Department of Religions and Mysticism, University of Religions and Denominations, Qom, Iran


The contemporary theologian, Rudolph Otto, believed that in the history of religions, tremendum of the numinous has been looked at morally and rationally, and less has been dealt with from an intuitive point of view. Therefore, he did not consider this interpretation to be appropriate and invented the term "Numinus". In his analysis, one of the important dimensions in the experience of the numinous is the element of "tremendum". The purpose of this article is to show the strengths and weaknesses of Rudolf Otto's thought in the analysis of holy matter. The findings of the research indicate that Otto considered the intellectual view of holy matter against the intuitive view of it and tried to put intuition as the principle. But from the perspective of transcendental wisdom, in knowing the holy matter or God Almighty, the intellectual view is not opposed to the intuitive view; rather these two bases are harmonious and complementary. According to Otto, tremendum of the numinous is different from other fears. This is what the followers of transcendental wisdom have considered to be the difference between khawf (fear) and khashiyat (reverence). Otto's theory is like essentialism against structuralism.


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