12. Rudolf Otto and the Study of Religion and Violence: Preserving the Numinous

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

Michael Jerryson [+-]
Youngstown University
Michael Jerryson† (1974-2021) was Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at Youngstown State University, Ohio. An expert on religion and violence, Jerryson published extensively on comparative religion, religion in South and Southeast Asia, and Buddhist traditions. He co-editored The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence (Oxford, 2013) and authored If you Meet the Buddha on the Road: Buddhism, Politics, and Violence (Oxford, 2018). Jerryson co-founded Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence through the American Academy of Religion and served as a consultant on Southeast Asian conflicts.

Description

Through the example of ISIS and its religiously-justified violence, this chapter examines the relevance of Rudolf Otto’s work on the study of religion and violence. Psychologists have long dismissed any psychopathology as an explanation for why people commit religious terrorism or religiously justified violence. Rather, it is about people’s individual experiences and rationales. It is in this way that Otto’s focus on the religious experience provides insights into the relationship between religion and violence. Particularly, Otto’s focus on religion’s nonrational component, the emotional dimension of the numinous, and people’s reactions to the perceived view of the numinous in a state of deterioration elucidates instances of religiously-justified violence. This chapter concludes with the placement of Otto’s perspective within the larger discourse of other theorists in order to better understand the lure of ISIS’ recruitment.

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Citation

Jerryson, Michael. 12. Rudolf Otto and the Study of Religion and Violence: Preserving the Numinous. 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=30395. Date accessed: 07 Dec 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30395. Jun 2022

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