Mysterium Horrendum: Exploring Otto’s Concept of the Numinous in Stoker, Machen and Lovecraft

X-Files of the Humanities

Rudolf Otto

otto4The German theologian Rudolf Otto was born in 1869 in a town called Peine, near Hannover in Prussia. Unfortunately, very little is known about his early life until he began his formal education, so this brief biographical sketch is little more than an overview of his academic CV. It is known that he studied theology and philosophy at the University of Erlangen, writing his dissertation on Martin Luther’s understanding of the nature of the Holy Spirit, before taking a post as a lecturer at the University of Gottingen in 1897. Here he taught courses on theology, the history of philosophy and the history of religion. Later, he was appointed professor of systematic theology at Gottingen, and in 1914 he became professor of theology at Breslau until 1917, when he was hired as professor of systematic theology (again) at the University of Marburg. He retired in 1929, but continued…

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