2. Liberal Piety: Rudolf Otto and the Protestant Liberal Theology of his Age

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

Peter Schüz [+-]
Ludwig Maximilians-University
Peter Schüz is Lecturer in Systematic Theology and Philosophy of Religion in the Department for Protestant Theology at the Ludwig Maximilians-University in Munich. His research interests are theological dogmatics, hermeneutics, ecumenism, and aesthetics with a focus on the history of Protestantism in the 19th and early 20th century. His Dissertation on the relationship between fear and religion in Rudolf Otto’s thought is titled: Mysterium Tremendum: Zum Verhältnis von Angst und Religion nach Rudolf Otto (Mohr Siebeck, 2016). Schüz is also co-editor of the conference volume Rudolf Otto: Theologie – Religionsphilosophie – Religionsgeschichte (De Gruyter, 2014).

Description

In the following chapter, I focus on Otto’s relation to the liberal tradition of Protestantism: after a brief overview of the basic motifs of the so-called Liberal Theology in Germany, I will discuss the relations between Otto and Liberal Theology, examining his biographical background, key aspects of his theological works, and passages from Otto’s correspondence that convey some apprehension about Liberal Theology. I claim that that, in the end, Otto was both inside and outside of the Liberal Theology tradition, and his relationship toward it is ultimately ambivalent: as a liberal thinker who found his academic home in the liberal climate of Göttingen, Otto finally became what can be called a crisis diagnostician of Liberal Theology, pitting the irrational and mysterious dimensions of Christian piety against the later so-called liberal Cultural Protestantism. In this way he became a key figure in the transformation of theology in the early 20th century and in the crisis of German Liberal Theology after the First World War that is still relevant for the debates about the future of theology today.

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Citation

Schüz, Peter. 2. Liberal Piety: Rudolf Otto and the Protestant Liberal Theology of his Age. 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=30385. Date accessed: 07 Dec 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30385. Jun 2022

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