• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Rudolf Otto was a German Protestant theologian and philosopher of religion active in the first third of the 20th century. He is best known for his book Das Heilige (1917), translated into English as The Idea of the Holy. He also compared Indian religions with Christianity, translated religious texts from Sanskrit to German, founded a museum of the world's religions, and was active in both state and ecclesiastical politics. Although a systematic theologian by profession, he had his greatest impact on scholars of the comparative study of religions.

Intellectually, Otto was indebted to the theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher and the Kantian philosopher Jakob Friedrich Fries. Like Fries, he stressed the cognitive role of “feeling,” an intuitive awareness of truth. According to him, the distinctive mark of religion ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles