Book: The Holy in a Pluralistic World
Chapter: 1. Rudolf Otto's Post-Kantian Platonism
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.