Samarina Tatiana

Mysticism and the rational in R. Otto’s legacy

Samarina Tatiana (2020) "Mysticism and the rational in R. Otto’s legacy ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2020, vol. 90, pp. 68-84 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI202090.68-84


This article addresses the legacy of Rudolf Otto, the most famous German phenomenologist of religion. First of all, it characterises his critics and shows that they all find the religious theory of R. Otto and his concept of mystical experience built around a religious experience that departs from rational schemes, which indicates its link to the psychological description of religious experiences by W. James. Further, referring to the works of R. Otto Kantisch-Fries’sche Religionsphilosophie und ihre Anwendung auf die Theologie: zur Einleitung in die Glaubenslehre für Studenten der Theologie (1909), Das Heilige (1917), and West-Östliche Mystik: Vergleich und Unterscheidung zur Wesensdeutung (1926), the article refutes claims of these critics. The article also examines Otto’s comparative analysis of the two mystics: the Indian philosopher Shankara and the German mystic Meister Eckhart. Otto observes that the numinous aspect, imposed on the metaphysical systems of Shankara and Meister Eckhart, turns the metaphysical systems into mystical. The article examines the methodological question of R. Otto if it is possible to speak of mysticism as a whole and discusses his division into two types, i.e. the mysticism directed inward, and mysticism directed outward. Besides, the article raises the question of to what extent it is possible to consider Otto a follower of F. Schleiermacher. It is concluded that Otto’s system cannot be called irrationalism; on the contrary, he sharply opposes all forms of irrational knowledge that reduce all religious life to emotions and experiences.


phenomenology of religion, religious studies, comparative religion, mysticism, metaphysics, irrational, R. Otto, Shankara, M. Eckhart, I. Kant, J. Fries


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Information about the author

Samarina Tatiana

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Place of work: Institute of Philosophy Russian Academy of Sciences; 12/1 Goncharnaia, 109240 Moscow, Russian Federation;
ORCID: 0000-0002-9888-0872;
Email: t_s_samarina@bk.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.