Otto, Rudolf

Rudolf Otto (1869–1937) was a German Protestant theologian who wrote about the history of Protestantism, who studied comparative religions, and who specialized in mysticism. He is famous mostly because of his book Das Heilige (The Holy) but, as the subtitle (Über das Irrationale in der Idee des Göttlichen und sein Verhältnis zum Rationalen) indicates, his primary concern was with the sense of “irrationality in the idea of the divine and its relationship to rationality.” Otto is also remembered for his careful investigations into the theologies of Martin Luther and Friedrich Schleiermacher. He also studied a number of Eastern religions as well as wrote about his comparisons between Western and Eastern theologies.

Otto began his theological career by specializing in traditional Protestant subjects—his 1898 dissertation was entitled ...

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