Journal Article

Toward a Genealogy of the Holy: Rudolf Otto and the Apologetics of Religion

Gregory D. Alles

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 69, issue 2, pages 323-342
Published in print June 2001 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online June 2001 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
Toward a Genealogy of the Holy: Rudolf Otto and the Apologetics of Religion

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This article reads Rudolf Otto's thought, especially his classic book Das Heihge(The Idea of the Holy), against the background of an intense, early struggle to reconcile the religiosity of his childhood with the claims of the natural and historical sciences. In doing so, it sees Otto as creatively continuing and combining two theological traditions: the neo-Lutheranism that he learned especially from F. H. R. Frank at Erlangen and the liberal theology that he learned from Hermann Schultz at Gottingen. Although it has become customary to see Otto's thought, including Das Heilige, as a classic contribution to the science of religion, Otto's work emerges from this reading as a late moment in the branch of systematic theology known as apologetics. In his best-known writings Otto developed an apologetics not of Christianity but of religion.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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