1. Rudolf Otto's Post-Kantian Platonism

The Holy in a Pluralistic World - Rudolf Otto's Legacy in the 21st Century - Ulrich Rosenhagen

Todd Gooch [+-]
Eastern Kentucky University
Todd Gooch is Professor in the Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies at Eastern Kentucky University. He is the author of The Numinous and Modernity: An Interpretation of Rudolf Otto’s Philosophy of Religion (De Gruyter, 2000), as well as several other publications on Otto and related figures. He has also contributed chapters and articles on Ludwig Feuerbach and other nineteenth-century philosophical critics of religion to The Oxford History of Nineteenth-Century Germany Philosophy, The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth-Century Philosophy, The Oxford History of Modern German Theology, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and The Journal for the History of Modern Theology.


In this chapter I investigate the philosophical-theological background of some of Rudolf Otto’s central ideas. I examine, first, Otto’s broadly Platonic use of the term “idea” in expressions such as “idea of the divine” (Idee des Göttlichen or Idee der Gottheit); second, Otto’s anti-empiricism, and the role of anamnesis in his account of religious knowledge and of the religious a priori; and third, his reliance on the Platonic concept of methexis (μέθεξις) or participation in the idea of the divine for his soteriology. I argue that recognizing Otto’s Platonism, as well as his use of post-Kantian idealist Jakob Fries’ epistemological theories, is central for understanding Otto’s religious epistemology and his treatment of a number of central theological topics.

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Gooch, Todd. 1. Rudolf Otto's Post-Kantian Platonism. The Holy in a Pluralistic World - Rudolf Otto's Legacy in the 21st Century. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jun 2022. ISBN 9781781794906. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=30384. Date accessed: 18 Jan 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30384. Jun 2022

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