In religion, as in other domains, we have learned to view things, in the phrase of a brilliant exponent of this way of thinking, 1 from the human end ; man, an ideal humanity, has come to be increasingly our measure. We see one example of this in such a popular religious philosophy as that of Mr. Wells, with its virtual apotheosis of the spirit of striving mankind and the sharp antagonism it introduces between the God in man and the Veiled Being, the mysterious Power in Nature.
It is only the former who has any religious significance for Mr. In such cases a standard less merely ethical may be employed than that which the moralistic tendency of the nineteenth century demanded, but it is far more a purely human standard. We need not repeat the taunt of the later nineteenth-century agnosticism which finds nothing in the God of traditional orthodoxy but man s giant shadow, hailed divine.
But it does suggest that by undue preoccupation with the human and the personal we may blind ourselves to that transcendent and supra-personal character of the deity which cannot be surrendered without a real loss to religion. Is it possible that once more in this too anthropocentric 1 Dr.
One suspects that it may be so, and that at any rate a religion which sets God as Person and Friend of Man at scarcely disguised enmity with the inscrutable power and mysterious tremendousness of nature will not for long satisfy the demands of the soul. And those who think thus will value all the more an exposition which recalls us, as this volume does, to the unsearchable otherness as well as to the human likeness of deity.
Those unaccustomed to such terms may find words like category , a priori , schematize , repellent to them. To the general reader the quasi-Kantian treatment of this matter or that may be a stumbling-block, and to the mystic perhaps foolishness. Again, some may find the argument too much of an analysis ; others, too much of an apologetic. To some it may seem too logical ; to others, too theological. But it is good that our incurable propensity to think in compartments, to keep, if we admit them at all, our philosophy and theology strangers, should receive a shock now and then.
And, for the rest, it is surely good that a book upon religion should be written by a man who feels that religion stands at the very centre and basis of life that the divine in man is, in Plato s phrase, the head and the root of him and who can make no pretence of viewing his own religion from without, as though it meant no more to him than any other.
For though in so many departments in life it is the detached and unprejudiced observer who can best pronounce judgement, in this one the paradox must hold that he who professes to stand outside religion and view all the religions of the world in impartial detachment will never wholly under stand any one of them. The difficulty of stereotype has unfortunately prevented me from removing a great many minor typographical irregularities, but I have been able to correct a number of inaccuracies in the translation. Had it been possible I should have wished further to substitute submerged submergence for abased abasement on pp.
The reader is requested to make these alterations for himself. The appendixes of the later editions of Das Hcilige, the con tinual multiplication of which had threatened to overwhelm the original text, have now been published with additional matter in a separate volume entitled Aufsatze das Numinose betreffend Essays concerning the Numinous , and a translation of the table of contents of this work has been inserted on p. One of these, TJie Eesurrection as a Spiritual Experience, has been added slightly curtailed to this edition as Appendix XII, so that about two-fifths of the Aufsiitze are now included in the present translation.
I may add that the eleventh German edition of Das Heilige contains a good deal of additional matter, mostly citations from various authors, which as they illustrate rather than amplify the author s argument, it has not been judged worth while to include in this impression. The nature of God is thus thought of by analogy with our human nature of reason and personality ; only, whereas in ourselves we are aware of this as qualified by restriction and limitation, as applied to God the attributes we use are completed , i.
Now all these attributes constitute clear and definite concepts: An object that can thus be thought con ceptually may be termed rational. The nature of deity described in the attributes above mentioned is, then, a rational nature ; and a religion which recognizes and maintains such a view of God is in so far a rational religion. Only on such terms is Belief possible in contrast to mere feeling. And of Christianity at least it is false that feeling is all, the name but sound and smoke ] ; where name stands for conception or thought.
Rather we count this the very mark and criterion of a religion s high rank and superior value that it should have no lack of conceptions about God; that it should admit knowledge the knowledge that comes by faith of the transcendent in terms of conceptual thought, whether those already mentioned or others which continue and develop them. Christianity not only possesses such conceptions but possesses them in unique clarity and abundance, and this is, though not the sole or even the chief, yet a very real sign of its superiority over religions of other forms and at other levels. This must be asserted at the outset and with the most positive emphasis.
This is the view that the essence of deity can be given completely and exhaustively in sucli 1 rational attributions as have been referred to above and in others like them. It is not an unnatural misconception. We are prompted to it by the traditional language of edification, with its characteristic phraseology and ideas ; by the learned treatment of religious themes in sermon and theological instruction ; and further even by our Holy Scriptures them selves.
In all these cases the rational element occupies the foreground, and often nothing else seems to be present at all. But this is after all to be expected. All language, in so far as it consists of words, purports to convey ideas or concepts ; that is what language means ; and the more clearly and unequivocally it does so, the better the language. And hence expositions of religious truth in language inevitably tend to stress the rational attributes of God.
But though the above mistake is thus a natural one enough, it is none the less seriously misleading. For so far are these 1 rational attributes from exhausting the idea of deity, that they in fact imply a non-rational or supra-rational Subject of which they are predicates. They are essential and not merely accidental attributes of that subject, but they are also, it is important to notice, synthetic essential attributes. That is to say, we have to predicate them of a subject which they qualify, but which in its deeper essence is not, nor indeed can be, comprehended in them ; which rather requires com prehension of a quite different kind.
Yet, though it eludes the conceptual way of understanding, it must be in some way or other within our grasp, else absolutely nothing could be asserted of it. And even Mysticism, in speaking of it as TO dpprjTov, the ineffable, does not really mean to imply that absolutely nothing can be asserted of the object of the religious consciousness ; otherwise, Mysticism could exist only in un broken silence, whereas what has generally been a character istic of the mystics is their copious eloquence. We have here in fact the first and most distinctive mark of Rationalism, with which all the rest are bound up.
It is not that which is commonly asserted, that Rationalism is the denial, and its opposite the affirmation, of the miraculous. That is manifestly a wrong or at least a very superficial distinction. For the traditional theory of the miraculous as the occasional breach in the causal nexus in nature by a Being who himself instituted and must therefore be master of it this theory is itself as massively rational as it is possible to be.
Rationalists have often enough acquiesced in the possi bility of the miraculous in this sense ; they have even them selves contributed to frame a theory of it ; whereas anti- Rationalists have been often indifferent to the whole controversy about miracles.
The difference between Rationalism and its opposite is to be found elsewhere. It resolves itself rather into a peculiar difference of quality in the mental attitude and emotional content of the religious life itself. All depends upon this: Or conversely, docs the non-rational itself preponderate over the rational? Looking at the matter thus, we see that the common dictum, that Orthodoxy itself has been the mother of Rationalism, is in some measure well founded.
It is not simply that Ortho doxy was preoccupied with doctrine and the framing of dogma, for these have been no less a concern of the wildest mystics. It is rather that Orthodoxy found in the construction of dogma and doctrine no way to do justice to the non-rational aspect of its subject.
So far from keeping the non-rational element in religion alive in the heart of the religious experi ence, orthodox Christianity manifestly failed to recognize its value, and by this failure gave to the idea of God a one-sidedly intellectualistic and rationalistic interpretation. This bias to rationalization still prevails, not only in theology but in the science of comparative religion in general, and from top to bottom of it.
Men do not, of course, in these cases employ those lofty rational concepts which we took as our point of departure ; but they tend to take these concepts and their gradual evolution as setting the main problem of their inquiry, and fashion ideas and notions of lower value, which they regard as paving the way for them. It is always in terms of concepts and ideas that the subject is pursued, natural ones, moreover, such as have a place in the general L O sphere of man s ideational life, and are not specifically reli gious.
And then with a resolution and cunning which one can hardly help admiring, men shut their eyes to that which is quite unique in the religious experience, even in its most primitive manifestations. But it is rather a matter for astonishment than for admiration!
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For if there be any single domain of human experience that presents us with something unmistakably specific and unique, peculiar to itself, assuredly it is that of the religious life. In truth the enemy has often a keener vision in this matter than either the champion of religion or the neutral and professedly impartial theorist. For the adversaries on their side know very well that the entire pother about mysticism has nothing to do with reason and rationality. This attempt we are now to make with respect to the quite distinctive category of the holy or sacred.
It is, indeed, applied by transference to another sphere that of Ethics but it is not itself derived from this. While it is complex, it contains a quite specific element or moment , which sets it apart from the Rational in the meaning we gave to that word above, and which remains inexpressible an apprjTov or iiieffabile in the sense that it completely eludes apprehension in terms of concepts.
The same thing is true to take a quite different region of experience of the category of the beautiful. Now these statements would be untrue from the outset if the holy were merely what is meant by the word, not only in common parlance, but in philosophical, and generally even in theological usage. The fact is we have come to use the words holy, tarred heilig in an entirely derivative sense, quite different from that which they originally bore.
We generally take holy as meaning completely good ; it is the absolute moral attribute, denoting the consummation of moral goodness. In this sense Kant calls the will which remains unwaveringly obedient to the moral law from the motive of duty a holy will ; here clearly we have simply the perfectly moral will. In the same way we may speak of the holiness or sanctity of Duty or Law, meaning merely that they are imperative upon conduct and universally obligatory.
But this common usage of the term is inaccurate. It is true that all this moral significance is contained in the word holy , but it includes in addition as even we cannot but feel a clear overplus of meaning, and this it is now our tusk to isolate. Any one who uses it to-day does undoubtedly always feel the morally good to be implied in holy ; and accordingly in our inquiry into that element which is separate and peculiar to the idea of the holy it will be useful, at least for the temporary purpose of the investigation, to invent a special term to stand for the holy minus its moral factor or moment , and, as we can now add, minus its t rational aspect altogether.
It will be our endeavour to suggest this unnamed Something to the reader as far as we may, so that he may himself feel it. There is no religion in which it does not live as the real inner most core, and without it no religion would be worthy of the name. It is pre-eminently a living force in the Semitic religions, and of these again in none has it such vigour as in that of the Bible. Here, too, it has a name of its own, viz. It is not, of course, disputed, that these terms in all three languages connote, as part of their meaning, good, absolute goodness, when, that is, the notion has ripened and reached the highest stage in its development.
And we then use the word holy to translate them. But this holy then represents the gradual shaping and filling in with ethical meaning, or what we shall call the schematization , of what was a unique original feeling-response, which can be in itself ethically neutral and claims consideration in its own right. By means of a special term we shall the better be able, first, to keep the meaning clearly apart and distinct, and second, to apprehend and classify connectedly whatever sub ordinate forms or stages of development it may show. For this purpose I adopt a word coined from the Latin numen.
Omen has given us ominous, and there is no reason why from numen we should not similarly form a word numinous. I shall speak then of a unique numinous category of value and of a definitely numinous state of mind, which is always found wherever the category is applied. This mental state is perfectly sui generis and irreducible to any other; and there fore, like every absolutely primary and elementary datum, while it admits of being discussed, it cannot be strictly defined.
There is only one way to help another to an understanding of it. He must be guided and led on by consideration and discussion of the matter through the ways of his own mind, until he reach the point at which the numinous in him perforce begins to stir, to start into life and into consciousness. We can co-operate in this process by bringing before his notice all that can be found in other regions of the mind, already known and familiar, to resemble, or again to afford some special contrast to, the particular experience we wish to elucidate. Then we must add: This X of ours is not precisely this experience, but akin to this one and the opposite of that other.
Cannot you now realize for yourself what it is? In other words our X cannot, strictly speaking, be taught, it can only be evoked, awakened in the mind ; as everything that comes of the spirit must be awakened. THE reader is invited to direct his mind to a moment of deeply-felt religious experience, as little as possible qualified by other forms of consciousness. Whoever cannot do this, whoever knows no such moments in his experience, is requested to read no further ; for it is not easy to discuss questions of religious psychology with one who can recollect the emotions of his adolescence, the discomforts of indigestion, or, say, social feelings, but cannot recall any intrinsically religious feelings.
We do not blame such an one, when he tries for himself to advance as far as he can with the help of such principles of explanation as he knows, interpreting Aesthetics in terms of sensuous pleasure, and Religion as a function of the gre garious instinct and social standards, or as something more primitive still. But the artist, who for his part has an intimate personal knowledge of the distinctive element in the aesthetic experience, will decline his theories with thanks, and the religious man will reject them even more uncompromisingly.
Next, in the probing and analysis of such states of the soul as that of solemn worship, it will be well if regard be paid to what is unique in them rather than to what they have in common with other similar states. To be rapt in worship is one thing; to be morally uplifted by the contemplation of a good deed is another ; and it is not to their common features, but to those elements of emotional content peculiar to the first that we would have attention directed as precisely as possible.
As Christians we undoubtedly here first meet with feelings familiar enough in a weaker form in other departments of experience, such as feelings of gratitude, trust, love, reliance, humble submission, and dedication. Not in any of these have we got the special features of the quite unique and incomparable experience of solemn worship.
In what does this consist 1 Schleiermacher has the credit of isolating a very important element in such an experience. This is the feeling of de-. But this important discovery of Schleiermacher is open to criticism in more than one respect. As such, other domains of life and other regions of experience than the religious occasion the feeling, as a sense of personal insufficiency and impotence, a consciousness of being determined by circumstances and environment. The feeling of which Schleiermacher wrote has an undeniable analogy with these states of mind: But the feeling is at the same time also qualitatively different from such analogous states of mind.
Schleiermacher himself, in a way, recognizes this by distinguishing the feeling of pious or religious dependence from all other feelings of dependence. What he overlooks is that, in giving the feeling the name feeling of dependence at all, we are really employing what is no more than a very close analogy. Any one who compares and con trasts the two states of mind irrespectively will find out, I think, what I mean.
It cannot be expressed by means of any thing else, just because it is so primary and elementary a datum in our psychical life, and therefore only definable through itself. It may perhaps help him if I cite a well-known example, in which the precise moment or element of religious feeling of which we are speaking is most actively present. When Abraham ventures to plead with God for the men of Sodom, he says Genesis xviii. There you have a self-confessed feeling of dependence , which is yet at the same time far more than, and something other than, merely a feeling of dependence.
Desiring to give it a name of its own, I propose to call it creature-consciousness or creature- feeling. It is the emotion of a creature, abased and overwhelmed by its own nothingness in contrast to that which is supreme above all creatures. It is easily seen that, once again, this phrase, whatever it is, is not a conceptual explanation of the matter. All that this new term, creature-feeling , can express, is the note of self- abasement into nothingness before an overpowering, absolute might of some kind ; whereas everything turns upon the character of this overpowering might, a character which cannot be expressed verbally, and can only be suggested indirectly through the tone and content of a man s feeling- response to it.
And this response must be directly experienced in oneself to be understood. We have now to note a second defect in the formulation of Schleiermacher s principle. The religious category discovered by him, by whose means he professes to determine the real content of the religious emotion, is merely a category of self- valuation, in the sense of self-depreciation. Thus, according to Schleiermacher, I can only come upon the very fact of God as the result of an inference, that is, by reasoning to a cause beyond myself to account for my feeling of dependence.
But this is entirely opposed to the psychological facts of the case.
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Rather, the creature-feeling is itself a first subjective concomitant and effect of another feeling-element, which casts it like a shadow, but which in itself indubitably has immediate and primary reference to an object outside the self. There is a certain naivete in the following passage from William James s Varieties of Religious Experience p. For the creature-feeling and the sense of dependence to arise in the mind the numen must be experienced as present, a numen praesens , as in the case of Abraham. The numinous is thus felt as objective and outside the self. We have now to inquire more closely into its nature and the modes of its manifestation.
As regards the origin of the Greek gods, we need not at pre sent seek an opinion. But the whole array of our instances leads to a conclusion something like this: It is as if there were in the human con sciousness a sense of reality, a feelimj of objective presence, a perception of what we may call " something there", more deep and more general than any of the special and particular " senses" by which the current psycho logy supposes existent realities to be originally revealed.
The italics are James s own. James is debarred by his empiricist and pragmatist stand-point from coming to a recognition of faculties of knowledge and potentialities of thought in the spirit itself, and he is therefore obliged to have recourse to somewhat singular and mysterious hypotheses to explain this fact. But this feeling of reality , the feeling of a numinous object objectively given, must be posited as a primary immediate datum of consciousness, and the feeling of depen dence is then a consequence, following very closely upon it, viz. WE said above that the nature of the numinous can only be suggested by means of the special way in which it is reflected in the mind in terms of feeling.
Its nature is such that it grips or stirs the human mind with this and that deter minate affective state. We have now to attempt to give a further indication of these determinate states. We must once again endeavour, by adducing feelings akin to them for the purpose of analogy or contrast, and by the use of metaphor and symbolic expressions, to make the states of mind we are investigating ring out, as it were, of themselves.
Let us consider the deepest and most fundamental element in all strong and sincerely felt religious emotion. Faith unto Salvation, Trust, Love all these are there. But over and above these is an element which may also on occasion, quite apart from them, profoundly affect us and occupy the mind with a wellnigh bewildering strength. Let us follow it up with every effort of sympathy and imaginative intuition wherever it is to be found, in the lives of those around us, in sudden, strong ebullitions of personal piety and the frames of mind such ebullitions evince, in the fixed and ordered solemnities of rites and liturgies, and again in the atmosphere that clings to old religious monuments and buildings, to temples and to churches.
If we do so we shall find we are dealing with something for which there is only one appropriate expression, mysterium tremendum. The feeling of it may at times come sweeping like a gentle tide, pervading the mind with a tranquil mood of deepest worship. It may burst in sudden eruption up from the depths of the soul with spasms and convulsions, or lead to the strangest excitements, to intoxicated frenzy, to transport, and to ecstasy.
It has its wild and demonic forms and can sink to an almost grisly horror and shuddering. It has its crude, barbaric antecedents and early manifestations, and again it may be developed into something beautiful and pure and glorious. It may become the hushed, trembling, and speech less humility of the creature in the presence of whom or what? In the presence of that which is a Myttery inexpressible and above all creatures. It is again evident at once that here too our attempted formulation by means of a concept is once more a merely negative one.
Conceptually mysterium denotes merely that which is hidden and esoteric, that which is beyond conception or understanding, extraordinary and unfamiliar. The term does not deh ne the object more positively in its qualitative character.
Synonyms and antonyms of Senkkasten in the German dictionary of synonyms
But though what is enunciated in the word is negative, what is meant is something absolutely and intensely positive. This pure positive we can experience in feelings, feelings which our discussion can help to make clear to us, in so far as it arouses them actually in our hearts. Tit e Ele ment of A iveful ness. To get light upon the positive quale of the object of these feelings, we must analyse more closely our phrase mysterium tremeiulum, and we will begin first with the adjective.
Tremor is in itself merely the perfectly familiar and natu ral emotion of fear. But here the term is taken, aptly enough but still only by analogy, to denote a quite specific kind of emotional response, wholly distinct from that of being afraid, though it so far resembles it that the analogy of fear may be used to throw light upon its nature. There are in some languages special expressions which denote, either exclusively or in the first instance, this fear that is more than fear proper. The Hebrew hiqdish hallow is an example. But the Old Testament throughout is rich in parallel expres sions for this feeling.
Specially noticeable is the emdt of Yahweh fear of God , which Yahweh can pour forth, dispatching almost like a daemon, and which seizes upon a man with paralysing effect.
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It is closely related to the SeTfia iraviKov of the Greeks. I will send my fear before thee and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come. Here we have a terror fraught with an inward shuddering such as not even the most menacing and overpowering created thing can instil. It has something spectral in it. Of modern languages English has the words awe , awef ul , which in their deeper and most special sense approximate closely to our meaning. The phrase, he stood aghast , is also suggestive in this connexion. On the other hand, German has no native-grown expression of its own for the higher and riper form of the emotion we are considering, unless it be in a word like erschauern , which does suggest it fairly well.
In my examination of Wundt s Animism I suggested the term Scheu dread ; but the special numinous quality making it awe rather than dread in the ordinary sense would then of course have to be denoted by inverted commas. Its antecedent stage is daemonic dread cf. It first begins to stir in the feeling of something uncanny , eerie , or weird. It is this feeling which, emerging in the mind of primeval man, forms the starting-point for the entire religious development in history.
Daemons and gods alike spring from this root, and all the products of mythological apperception or fantasy are nothing but different modes in which it has been objectified. And all ostensible explanations of the origin of religion in terms of animism or magic or folk psychology are doomed from the outset to wander astray and miss the real goal of their inquiry, unless they recognize this fact of our nature primary, unique, underivable from anything else to be the basic factor and the basic impulse underlying the entire process of religious evolution.
For shuddering is something more than natural , ordinary fear. It implies that the mysterious is already beginning to loom before the mind, to touch the feelings. It implies the first application of a category of valua tion which has no place in the everyday natural world of ordinary experience, and is only possible to a being in whom has been awakened a mental predisposition, unique in kind and 1 Cf. I find in more recent investigations, especially those of R.
Soderblom, a very welcome confirmation of the positions I there maintained. It is true that neither of them calls attention quite as precisely as, in this matter, psychologists need to do, to the unique character of the religious awe and its qualitative distinction from all natural feelings. But Marett more particularly comes within a hair s breadth of what I take to be the truth about the matter. And this newly- revealed capacity, even in the crude and violent manifestations which are all it at first evinces, bears witness to a completely new function of experience and standard of valuation, only belonging to the spirit of man.
It is the mark which really characterizes the so-called Religion of Primitive Man , and there it appears as daemonic dread. This crudely nai ve and primordial emotional disturbance, and the fantastic images to which it gives rise, are later overborne and ousted by more highly-developed forms of the numinous emotion, with all its mysteriously impelling power. But even when this has long attained its higher and purer mode of expression it is possible for the primitive types of excitation that were formerly a part of it to break out in the soul in all their original naivete and so to be experienced afresh.
That this is so is shown by the potent attraction again and again exercised by the element of horror and shudder in ghost stories, even among persons of high all-round education. It is a remarkable fact that the physical reaction to which this unique dread of the uncanny gives rise is also unique, and is not found in the case of any natural fear or terror.
The cold blood feeling may be a symptom of ordinary, natural fear, but there is something non- natural or supernatural about the symptom of creeping flesh. And any one who is capable of more precise introspection must recognize that the distinction between such a dread and natural fear is not simply one of degree and intensity.
The awe or dread may indeed be so overwhelmingly great that it seems to penetrate to the very marrow, making the man s hair bristle and his limbs quake. But it may also steal upon him almost unobserved as the gentlest of agitations, a mere fleeting shadow passing across his mood. It has therefore nothing to do with intensity, and no natural fear passes over into it merely by being intensified. We should see the facts more clearly if psychology in general would make a more decisive endeavour to examine and classify the feelings and emotions according to their qualitative differ ences.
But the far too rough division of elementary feelings in general into pleasures and pains is still an obstacle to this. In point of fact pleasures no more than other feelings are differentiated merely by degrees of intensity ; they show very definite and specific differences. It makes a specific difference to the condition of mind whether the soul is merely in a state of pleasure, or joy, or aesthetic rapture, or moral exaltation, or finally in the religious bliss that may come in worship. Unfollow zeichnungen to stop getting updates on your eBay Feed. You'll receive email and Feed alerts when new items arrive.
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