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Cneprrn

THE , IDEA O F' T HE, HO LY


An Inquiry into the non-rationalf actor in the rdea ol the diaine and its reLation to the rational
BY

T HE RA T I O N A L

AND THE NON-RATIONAL

to every theistic conceptionof God, and most p is essential I of all to tlle Christian, that it designatcs and precisely characterizes deity by the attributes spirit, reason,purpose, good will, supreme power, unity, selfhood. T_C-!e!UI9-9f G.,o
e

RUDOLF OTTO
TRANSLATED BY

.loHN \V. HARVEY

@
A GAI,AXY BOOK
NewYork oxFoRD uNlvERSlrY PREss 1956

-i.e. Now all theseattributes @. constitute clear and definite concepts: they can be grasped by the intellcct; they can be analysedby thought; they even admit of definition. An object that can thus be thought conceptually may be termed rational. The nature of deity described in the attributes above mentioned is, then, a rational naturel and a religion which recognizes and maintains such a view of God is in so far a 'rational' religion. Only on such terms is b-zliy' possible in contrast to mere feeling. And, of Christianity at least it is false that 'feeling is all, the name but soundand smoke';r-where 'name' standslor 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 conteplions about God; that it should admit knowledge-the knowledge that comes by faith----of the transcendentin terms of conceptual thought, whether those already mentioned or others which continue and develop them. Christianitynot 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 signofits superiority over religions of other forms and at other levels. This must be asserted at the outsetand with the rnostpositive emphasis. But, when this is granted, we have to be on our guard 4gainst an error which t'ould lead to 499!g_a!d_S4ggded \( interpretation of religion. This is the view that thg_gsgleg
r Goethc, Faat .

TIIE

RATIO NAL

AND

THA

NO N- RA T I O N A L

T I IE

R ATION AL

AN D

TH E

N ON - R ATION AL

of deiW can be Aiven completely and exhaustivelv in such lrational' attributions as have been referred to above and in

others-Iike them.ffi

are prompted to it by the traditional language ofedification, with its characteristic phraseologyand ideas; by the learned treatment of religious themes in sermon and theological instruction; and further even by our Holy Scripturesthemselves. In all these casesthe'rational' element occupies the and often nothing else foreground, seemsto be presentat all. But this is after all to be expected. All language, in so far ss rlrgnqigts of words, prrrports to convey ideas or concepts;the more clearly and @s;-and nt-*"" expositions ol religious truth in language inevitably tend to stressthe 'rational' attributes of God, But though the above mistakeis thus a natural one enough, it is none t}te lessseriously misleading. For so far are these -that 'lational' attributesfrom exhausting-the ideiol dejiv, t-heyin fact imply a non-rational or supr4-rational Subiectof They are 'essential' (and not )yhich_lhqjlgfredicatq. merely 'accidental') attributes of that subject, but they are also, it is important to not!c!, slntheticessentialattributes. That is to say can be. comprehended in them: which rather requirescomYet, though it eludes the @. conceptual way of understanding, it must be in someway er other within our grasp, elseabsolutely nothing could be assertedof it. And even mysticism, in speaking of it as zri d.ppqrov, the ineffable, does not really mean to imply that absolutely nothing can be asserted ofthe object ofthereligious consciousness; othen,'ise, mysticism could exist only in unbroken silence,whereaswhat hasgenerally been a characteristic of the mystics is their copiouseloquence, Here for the first time we come up against the contrast between rationalism and profounder religion, and with this contrast and its signswe shall be repeatedlyconcernedin what follows. 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 _{re denial, and its.opposite t}r" oiA;;i;;;"r. "m.rnutiorr, is. manilestly a wro{rg or at least'a very s;peificial {l1t

non_rational itselfp-eponderate over the rational? Looking at the matter thus, we see th;t the common dictum, that orthodoxy itself has U."., tf,. moih." ot rationalism, is in somemeasure,$ilfounded. fri, Jr.pfy ".i preoccupied rvith doctrinf anJ ,ilil;_s ll1,^.3"1::1,*as or dogma, tor thesehave been no lessa concern ofthe wildeJ mystics. It is rather that orthodoxy found in the fonstruaion g{ dogma and doctrine no way io do justice ao ,t ,rorr_ rational aspcctof its subject. So far froir t"epi"g;i;;""_ " rational element in religion alive io the hea.i#ih"" ;;i;i"". experience,orthodox Christianity manilestly fbil; ;;:;"g_ and by this faiiure gave to the idea of God .nize i1 v.1lu.e, a one-sidedly intellectualistic and raiionalistic int".p..tutii.r. This bias to rationalization still prevails, ;rfi; ;;;."_ Iogy but in the science "o, ofcomparative religion in *.ri...f, ,"a from top to bottom of it. Th.r"oa..r, .tui"r,t; ;i;'r-h.i;gy, and Lhose who pursucrcsearch inro the rcligion man' and attempt to reconstruct the .base"s, "a;;;l;l;"" o" .rJ,r.".ri religion, are all victims to it. Men do not, of course,l;;1"r" of cases employthoselofty ,rational' .on..pi, *t i.f, *" iook,, our point ofdeparture; but they tend to take tt and their gradual .evolution' as setting tfr. *"i" "r" "o.r..o., p..ti"_ .f

aeswhotly .1cFd g$b; the ratioJ,rr ? H!-qq,9"+_p9rl Ur conversely, doesthe

u, the occasional breach in the causal ;""r; i;;;;;;"";y . Being who himself instituted and must tt b.'ir"lt." of it-this theory is itself as massivelytutionui-r. "."fo.. itlr'p."iUf" to be. Rationalists have often enough acquicsced^ in the possibility of the miraculous in this i."r.; if,.v fr*"'.""r, themselvescontributed to frame a theory ;ii;_*;;..", anti-rationalists have becn often indiffereni to the whole .oo_ troversy about miraclcs. The differencebetwe." .",ioiuti.* qqd its- opposite is to be found elsewhere. ft ..r.f"* lar.ii rather into a pe.culiardifference o_f azaliil in the menJl atti lude atd emotigr-,aI. co.,tent of the .JG[Glife itseF All dependsupon this: in ou, god of i_s tG non_rutionul _id-e_a

di$ieglisn.Fo.th"ffi,

TIIE

RATI O NAL

AND

TI I E

NO N. R A T I O N A L

their inquiry, and fashion ideas and notions of lower value, which they regard aspaving the way for them. tlis always in of concepts and ideas that the subject is pursued, lLe,rtqs 'lLatural' ones,moreover, such as havea place in the general sphereof man's ideational life, and are not specifically'religious'. And then with a resolution and cunning which one can hardly help admiring, men shut their eyesto that which ilquite unique !n the religious experience,even in its most primitive manifestations. Butit is rather a matter for astonish--frent than for admiration ! For if there be any sinsle domain that 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 professedlyimpartial theorist. For the adversarieson tlieir side know very well that the entire 'pother about mysticism' has nothing to do with 'reason'and'rationality'. And so it is salutarv that we should be incited to notice that religion is not exclusively contained and exhaustivelycomseries of'rational' assertions:and it is well relation of the different worth while to a

Cnaprrn . NUM E N ' AND

II

THE'NUMINOUS'

This attempt we are now to make with respectto tl-lequite distinctive category of tJre holy or sacred.

'13'or,wEss'-'the holy'-is a categoryof interpretation and ofreligion. Itis,indeed, I Ivaluation peculiarto the sphere applied by transferenceto another sphere-that of ethicsbut it is not itself derived from this. While it is complex, it contains q._q_Uj:!g_!pggi_qc element or 'moment', which setsit [-w-gaveT6-Elt word above, and w}4h rgrneln!.jl9lplggqe-an d.ppqrov or the sense that alrprehension it completel), eludes ipdgljle-in in..terms of concepts. The sametl-ringis true (to take a quite different region ofexperience)of the categoryofthe beautiful. Now thesestatementswould be untrue from the outset if 'the holy' were merely what is meant by the word, not only in commonparlance, but in philosophical,and generally even in theological usage. The fact is we have come to use the urords'holy', 'sacred' (heilig)in an entirely derivative sense, quite diflerent from that which they originally bore. We generallytake 'holy' as meaning 'completely good'; it is the absolute moral attribute, denotingthe consummationof moral goodness. fn this senseKant calls the rvill which remains unwaveringly obedient to the moral law from tJre motive of duty a'holy' will; here clearly we have simply the perJectu moral w-iJl. 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 significanceis contained in- the.w-o1d 'holy', but it includes in addition-as even we cannot but f."1-u_493! ry..p]g: rfugggling, and this it is now our task to isolate. Nor is this merely a later or acquired meaning; rather, 'holy', or at least the equivalent words in Latin and Greek, in Semitic and other ancient languages,denoted first and foremost only this overplus: if the ethical element was presentat all, at any rate it was not original and never cons-ti-1qted the whole meaning of the word. Aly one who usesit to-day doesundoubtedly alwaysfeel 'the morally good' to be

'NuttlE x'argo rB r

'Nuur No u s '

implied in 'holy' ; and accordingly in our inquiry into that element which is separateand peculiar to the idea ofthe holy it will be useful, at least for the temporary purpose of the investigation, to invent a specialicrm to stand6r lEe [oly' z

'Nutrnu' AND TrrE tNUMlNous'

mi@i...
It will be our endeavour to suggestthis unnamed Something to the reader as far as we may, so that he may himself f..l it. real innemost core. and wift 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 to which the Greek dyos and own, viz. the Hebrew qdddsh, theLatin sanctus, and, more accurately still, sacer,are tJ:'ecorresponding terms. It is not, of course,disputed that these terms in all three languagesconnote,aspart oftheir meaning, good.ness, good,absolute 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'

I
meaning, gl lvhat we shall call the 'schematization',of what was a unique original feeling-response, which can be in iself neutral and claims consideration in its own right. ethically And when this moment or element first emergesand begins its long development, all those expressions(qaddsh, dyws, sacer, &c.) mean beyond all question something quite other than 'the good'. This is univenally agreedby contemporary criticism, which rightly explains the rendering of qdd|sh by 'good' as a mistranslation and unwarranted 'rationalization' or 'moralization' of the term. Accordingln it is worth while, as we have said, to find a word to stand for this element in isolation, this 'extra' in meaning of 'holy' above anil-Eeyffif tEC meaffi the bT '-+-goodneis. By mgan-ol llllllllllllspecial_term we dffiIft[e Edtter be able, first, to keep the meaning clearly apart and distinct, and secp4{, to apprehend and classify connectedly u'hatever subordlnate forms or stages of development it may show. For this purpose I adopt a word coined from the Larn numen.

Omez has given us 'ominous', and there is no reasonwhv from numen we should not similarly form a word .numinous'. I shall speak,then, ofa unique 'numinous' category of value and of a definitelv'numinous'stateoimind. wlicn:G-*"y, Thismentalstateis @. perfectly fd.qrzlru and ineducibl@; and therefo.., llk" ubrolot. , ""..y it cannot bestrictly defined. ]vhile it admits ofbeing discussed, There is only one way to help another to an understanding 9f it. H9 must be guided and led on by consideration q4d discussionof the matter through thi ways of his own rrind, until he reach the point at which 'the numinous, in bi[r perforcebeginsto stir, to start into life and irrto consciousness. We can co-operatein this processby bringing before his notice all that can be found in other regionsof the mind, alriidy k.town and familiar, to resemble, ir again to afford somespecial confrast to, the particular experiencewe wish to elqcidate. Then we must add: 'This X of ours is not preciselyrrlr experience, but akin to this one and the opposite of that other. Cannot you now realize for yourselfwhat it is?' fn other words ggr )K cannot, shictly speaking,be taught, it can only be euo urat comes-ot the sDrnt'must be awakened.

THE ELEM ENTS I N THE'Nult t t xous'

C n e p rrn IIf T H E EL EME N T S IN T H E 'N UMINOUS' Creature-Fceling r-|rnr reader is invited to direct his mind to a moment of
L deeplv-iblt religiousexperience,as little aspossiblequalified by other forms of consciousness. Whover cannot do this, Whoqvr knows no such moments in his experience, is requested to read no farther; for it is not easyto discussquesggng of lgligious plychology with one who can recollect the c.-motions ofhis adolescence, the discomfortsofindigestion, 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 ofexplanation ashe knows,interpreting 'aisthetics' in terms of sensuous pleasure, and 'religion' as a function of the gregarious instinct and social standards,or as something more primitive still. But the artist, who for his part has an intimate personalknowledge of the distinctive element in the aesthetic experience, will decline his theories with thanlc, and the religious man will reject them even more uncompromisingly. Next, in the probing and analysisof such statesof 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 ia common with other similar states. To bg_"opt jgJoEblpj: onejling; to be morally ullifted by the contemplation of a good deed is another; and it is not to their common features, but to those e..!.ements of emotiona t that we would have at le. As Christians we undoubtedly here first meet with feelings familiar enough in a weaker form in other departments of experience,suth as feelingsofgratitude, trust, love, reliance, humble submission, and dedication. But this doesnot by any means exhaust the content of religious worship. Not in any of these have we got the special features of the quite urlique p. In what does this consist?
l

Schleiermacher hasthe credit ofisolating a very important element in such an experience. This is the '&li.S_"ol_de: pendence'. But this important discoveryof Schleiermacher is open to criticism in more than one respect. In the first place, the leeling or emotion which he really has in mind in tiis phraseis in its specificquality not a'feeling of dependence'in the 'natural' senseof the word. As such, other domains of life and other regions of experience than the religious occasionthe feeling, as a senseof personal insufficiencvand impotence,a consciousness of being determined by circumstancesand environment. The feeling of which Schleiermacher wrote hasan undeniableanalogy with tbes9_$Al$_qfuSi"d: t}.ey serveas an indication to it, and its 44!ury_!q3y.bgelucidatedby them, so tlat, by following the diryclion in which they point, the feeling itself may be spont_aneously felt. But the feeling is at the same time also gq4!i!41ty-elv different fiom such analogous states of mind. Schleiermacherhimself, in a way, recognizes this by distinguishing the f-eeling of pious or religiousdependencefrom all other feelinqsof depeqdence.I_Iismistakeis i1 6aking the d-lqqiqcfonmerely that between'absolute' and 'relative' dependence, and therefore a difference of degree and not of intrinsic quality. What he overlooksis that, in giving the feeling the name 'feeling of dependence' at all, we are really employing what is no more than a very closeanalogy. Anyone who compares and conhaststhe t\.vo statesof mind introspectivelywill find out, I think, what I mean. It cannot be elpresqg! by means of anything else,just because it is so _pdmary and elementary a datum in our psychical life, and thgrefore only def,nable through itself. Tt may perhaps help e 'moment' or element of religious feeling of w-hich we are .speakingis most activelv present. \{hen Abraham ventures to plead with God for the men of Sodom,he says (Gen. xviii. z7): 'Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes.' There you have a selfconfesed 'feeling of dependence', which is yet at the same tirne far more thaq and sometl-ring other tJran, nvrel2 afeeling of dependence. Desiring to give it a name of its owa, I

IO

T HE E L E M EN T s

IN T H E ' x rl tr(tN ous'

THE

EL EM EN TS

IN

TH E

.T'TU U IWOU S'

II

or creature-feeling. uroposeto call it 'creature-consciousness'

It i; themd

iird ovaiwlelma

bv lts own nothlngness ln contrast to that whrch rs suDreme

above all creatures. It is easilyseenthat, once again, qhisphrase,whatever it is, i:; r,ot a conceptual explanation of the matter. All that this new term, 'creature-fecling', can express, ir tlg "S!9-g!1Cbqg!Cg!!Slnlo ngqfngness before an absolutemight overpowering, - ; - - -- - ,;- ,- - - - some kind whereas eve@ ef i this overpowering might, a character which cannot be expressed virballv, and can@gh the tone and content of@ And this responsemust be directly experienced in oneselfto be q4dentood. We have now to note a second defect in tl-reformulation of Schleiermacher's principle. The religious categorydiscovered by him, by whose means he professes to determine the real content ofthe religious emotion, is merely a category of sef valuation, in the sense ofself-depreciation.According to hrm the religious emotion would be directly and primarily a sort ofsef-consciousness, a feeling concerning oneselfin a special, deterrnined relation, viz. one's dependence. Thus, according to Schleiermacher,f can onlv comeupon t}le verv fact ofc_od as the result of an But this is entirely opposed to the

Now this object is just what we have already spoken of as 'the numinous'. For the 'creature-feeling' and the senseof dcoendence to arise in the mind the 'numen' must as a numenoraesensthe Abraham. There must be l-elt a ins the charactet of a 'numen' to which mind turns other words) these feelinqscan only arise in the mind as

t!_s!lgd iggrlay.

The numinous is thus felt as objective and outsidethe self. We have now to inquire more closely into its nature and the modesof its manifestation.
ir dcbarrcd by his cmpiricist and pragmatist standpoint from coming to a rccognition of facultics of Lnowledgc and potcntialitis of thought in the sPirit itsclf, and he is thcrcforc obliged to havc tccoursc to somewhat singular and mysterious hypothcscs to cxplain this fact. But hc graspsthc fact itself clearly cnough and is sufficicnt ofa realist not to cxplain it away. But this 'feeling of objectively givcn, must be posited as rcality', the fceling of a 'numinous' oD;act and the 'feeling of depcndencc' a primary imrncdiate datum of consciousncss, is then a corscqucncc, following very closely upon it, viz. a dcprcciation of drc flrrJ'r.! in bis ou! cycs. Thc latter presuppos.s the forod,

! This is so manifcsdy bornc out by expcriencc that it must bc about tlrc fiist thing to fotcc itself upon the notice of psychologists analysing the facts of rcligion. Thcrc is a certain naivetC in the following passagefrom \\tilliam Jamcs's VarLtics of Rcligiotts Expcri.ncc (p. 58), where, alluding to the origin of thc Crecian reprsentationsofthe gods, he says:'As regards the origin ofthe Grcek gods, we need not at present seek an opinion. But the whole array of our instances leads to a conclusion somethrng likc this: It is as if thcre wcre in thc hrrman consciousness d senscoJ /.al;tt, a f..ling oJ objcdirc ptescne, a pctceplion ol athatwctio y a,.lL" sotwthing thcrc" , motc dc4 and more geucral than any of thc spccial and particular "scnses" by which thc currcnt psychology supposcs r.istcnt realitics to bc originally rcvcaled.' (Thc italics are James's ou,n.) Jamce

'uvstrnluu

TREMENDUM-

r3

CneprE,n IV .M YS TE RIUM TRE ME NDUM'

TheAnaQsis of 'Tranendwn' 1 1 p said above that the nature of the numinous can only by mcansof the specialway in wbich it is V ! be suggested reflected in the mind in terms of feeling. 'Its nature is such that it grips or stirs the human mind with this and that determinate affective state.' We have now to attempt to give a further indication of thesedeterminatestates. We must once again endeavour, by adducing feelingsakin to them for the purpose of analogy or contrast, and by the use of metaphor and symbolic expressions, to make the statesof mind we are investigating ring out, as it were, of themselves. Let us consider the deepest and most fundamental element in all strong and sincerelyfelt religiousemotion. Faith unto salvation, trust, love-all theseare there. But over and above theseis 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 atmospherethat clings to old religious monumentsand 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, The feeling of it may at times come tremendum'. 'mysterium sweeping like a gentle tide, pervading the mind with a tranquil mood of deepestworship. It may passover into a more set and lasting attitude of the soul, continuing, as it rvere, thrillingly vibrant and resonant,until at last it diesaway and the soul resumesits 'profane', non-religiousmood of everyday experience, It may bunt in sudden eruption up from the depths of the soul with spasms and con'ulsions, or lead to the strangest excitements, to intoxicated fienzy, to transport, and

to ecstasv. It has its wild and demonic forms and can sink to an almost grisly horror and shuddering' It has its crude, barbaric ariteced.t ts and early manifestations, and again it mav be developed into sornethingbeautilul and pure and gloiiorls. It may becomethe hushed,trembling, -andspeechIess humility of the creature in the presence of--whom. or inexpressible of that which is an2ster2 what? In the presence and above all creaturcs. It is again evident at once that here too our attempted formulation by means of a concept is once more a merely negative one. Conceptu ally mlsleriumdenotes merely that wh-ichis hidden and esoteric,that whichisbeyond conception or understanding,extraordinary and unfamiliar' The term does not define ihe object more positively in its qualitative character. But though what is inunciated in the word is ncgativc, what is meant is sometling aholutely and intensely ooiitive.'This pure positive we can experiencein feelings, can help to make clear to us, in ieelineswhich oiur discussion so faias it arousesthem actually in our hcarts' r. nu Elenrnt oJ Awefulness To get light upon the positive 'quale'of the,object of these analysi more closelyour phrase mysterium *" feeling-s, ^rr.t and we will begin first with the adjective' tremenrlum, is in itself merely the perfectlyfamiliar and 'natuTremor ral' emotion offar. But here the term is taken, aptly enoygh but still only by analogy, to denote a quite specific kind.of emotional risponse,whol1y distinct from that of being afraid, though it so lar resemblesit that the analogy of fear may to throw light upon its nature- There are in some be us-ed which denote,either exclusively specialexpressions lansuaqes o, In iil. fi.st instu.tce, this 'fear' that is more than fear orooer. The Hcbrew hiqdtsh(hallow) is an example' To :keep a thing holy in the heart' mears to mark it off by a feeling ofpeculiar dread, not to be mistakenfor any ordinary dreadl that is, to appraiseit by the categoryofthe numinous' But tlie Old Testament throughout is rich in parallel expressions for this feeling. Specialiy noticeable is the'En^4hof Yahweh ('fear of God'), which Yahweh can pour forth,

r4

t My s rE R ru M

T R E M EN D uMT

'uvsrrnluu

TREMENDUM'

r5

dispatching almost like a daemon, and which seizesupon a man with paralysing effect. It is closely related to the Eeipo, ravm\v of the Greeks. Compare Exod. xxiii. e7 : 'I will send my fear before thee, and will destroyall the people to whom thou shalt come. . .'; alsoJob ix. 34; xiii. zr ('let not hisfear terrify me'; 'Iet not thy dread make me afraid'). Here we have a terror fraught with an inward shuddering such asnot even the most menacing and overpowering created thing can instil, It hassomethingspectralin it. In the Greek language we have a correspondingterm in oepctor6s.The early Christians could clearly feel that the title oepdoris (augustus) was one that could not fittingly be given to any creature, not even to the emperor. They felt that to call a rr'an oepaords was to give a human being a name proper only to the numen,to rank him by the category proper only to tll.e numen, and that it therefore amounted to a kind of idolatry. Of modern languagesEnglish has the words 'awe', ap'aweful', which in their deeper and most special sense proximate closely to our meaning. The phrase, 'he stood aghast', is also suggestivein this connexion, On the other hand, German has no native-grown expression ofits own for the higher and riper form of the emotion we are considering, unless it be in a word like erschauern, which does suggestit fairly well. It is far otherwise with its cruder and more debasedphases, and Schauer, and where such termsasgrausen the.more popular and telling gruseln('grue'), grdsen,and grtisslich('grisly'), very clearly designatethe numinous element. In my examination of Wundt's Animism I suggested the term Scfrea (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. 'Religious dread' (or 'awe') would perhaps be a better designation. Its antecedentstageis'daemonic dread' (cf. the horror ofPan) with its queer perversion,a sort of abortive offshoot, the 'dread of ghosis'. It fint 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 fot the entire religious development in history. 'Daemons' and 'gods' alike spring fiom this roo! and

all the products of 'mythological apperception' or 'fantasy' are nothing but different modesin which it hasbeen objectiexplanationsof the origin of religion fied. And all ostensible in terms of animism or magic or folk-psychologyare doomed from tlle outset to wander astray and miss the real goal of their inquiry, unlessthey recognizethis fact of our natureprimary, unique, underivable from anything else-to be the basic factor and the basic impulse underlying the entire processof religious evolution.t Not only is the sayingofluther, that the natural man cannot fear God perfectly, correctfrom the standpointofpsychology, but we ought to go farther and add that the natural man is quite unable even to 'shuddet' (grauen) or feel horror in the real senseof the word. For 'shuddering' is something more than 'natural', ordinary fear. It implies that the mystcriousis already beginning to loom beforethe mind, to touch the feelings. It implies the fint application of a category of valuation which hasno place in the everydaynatural world ofordinary experience,and is only possibleto a being in whom has been awakeneda mental predisposition,unique in kind and different in a definite way from any 'natural' faculty. And this newly-revealed capacitn even in the crude and violent manifestations bears which are all it atfirst evinces. witness to a completely new function of experience and standard of valuation, only belonging to the spirit of man. Before going on to considerthe elementswhich unfold as let usgive a little furtherconsideration the'tremendum' develops, to the first crude, primitive forms in which this 'numinous dread' or azzeshows itselL lt is the mark which really characterizesthe so-called'religion of primitive man', and
t Cf. my papers in lluologbchzRundschau, r gro, vol- i, on'Myth and Religion in lVundt's Vijlkalrychologir' , and in D.uk.h. Lit falurz.ilung, Igro, No. 38, I find in more recent investigations, especially those of R. R. Marctt and N. Sdderblom, a very welcome confirmation of thc positions I thcre maintained. It is true that lreither of them calls attcntion quite as prcciselyas, in this matter, psycbologistsneed to do, to the unique character of the relgious 'awe' and is qualitative distinction from all 'natural' feelings. But Marctt morc particularly comeswithin a haii's breadth of what I tale to be thc truth about the mattcr. Cf. his Thrzshold aJ Rcligion (LorLdon, rgog), and N. S6dcrblom's Das l4/ndcn dcs (Leipzig, r9r5), also my review of the latter h Thal. LitetaiurGotlzsglaubcns ztitung, Ja\\, tgr,S,

'lrysrnnruM tnnunltouu, there it appears as 'daemonic dread'. This crudely nar=ve and primordial emotional disturbance, and the fantasticimages to which it givcs rise, are later overborneand oustedby mJre highly dcveloped forms of the numinous emorion,with all its mysteriously impelling power, But even when this has long attained its higher and purer mode ofexpression it is possibli for_ the primitive typesof excitation that were formerly a part of it to break out in the soul in all thcir orisinal naivet6and so to be experienced afresh. That this is sJis shown bv the potent attraction aEainand again exercised by the elementof horror and 'shudder' in ghost stories, even among pen;ons ofhigh all-round education. It is a remarkablefaci that the physical reaction to which this unique 'dread' ofthe uncanny givesrisc is also unique, and is noi found in the case ofany 'natural' fear or terror. We say: 'my blood ran icy cold', and 'my flesh crept'. The 'cold blood' feeling may be a symptom of ordinary, natural fear, but there is sometiing non-natural or supernatural about the symptomof'creeping fiesh'. And any one who is capable of mbre prcciseintrospection must recognize that the distinction bctwcensuch a 'dread' and natural fear is not simply one of degreeand intensity. The awe or 'dread, may indeed be so overwhelmingly great that it sccmsto penetrate to tJrevery marrow, making the man's hair bristle and his limbs quake. But it may also steal upon him almost unobservedas the gentlestof agitations, a mere fleeting shadow passingacross his mood. It has therefore nothing to do with intensity, and no natural fear passes over into it merely by being intensified. I may be beyond all measure afraid and terrified without there being even a trac of tJrefeeling of uncanniness in my emotion. We should seethe factsmore clearly if psychology in general would make a more decisive endeavour to examine and classifythe feelings and emotions according to their qualitative differences. But the far too rough division of elementary feelingsin 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 degreesol'interuity: they show vcry definite and specificdifferences. It makesa specific difference to the condition of mind whether the soul

16

srrnluu 'IrtY

TREMENDUM'

r7

is merely iu a state ofpleasure, orjoy, or aestheticrapturq or moral exaltation, or finally in the religious bliss that may come in worship. Such states certainly show resemblances one to anotier, and on that account can legitimately be brought under a common class-concept('pleasure'), which serves to cut them offfrom other psychicalfunctions, genericso far from turning the ally different. But this class-concept, into merely different degrees of various subordinate species the samething, can do nothing at all to throw light upon the essence of each several state of mind rvhich it includes. Though the numinous emotion in its completestdevelopment showsa world of difference from the mere 'daemonic dread', yet not even at the highest level does it belie its pedigree or kindred. Even when the wonhip of 'daemons' has long since reached the higher level of wonhip of'gods', these gods still retain as numinasomething of the 'ghost' in the impress they make on the feelings of the worshipper, viz. the peculiar quality of the 'uncanny' and 'aweful', which survives with the qualiry of exaltednessand sublimity or is slrnbolized by means of it. And this element, softened though it is, does not disappear even on the highest level of all, where the worship of God is at its purest. Its disappearance would be indeed an essentialloss. The 'shudder' reappearsin a form ennobled beyond measurewhere the soul, held speechfess, trembles inwardly to the farthest fibre ofits being. It invades the mind mightily in Christian worship with the words: 'Holy, holy, holy'; it breaks forth from the hy.rrn of Tersteegen: God Himself is present: Heart, be stilled beforeHim: Prostrateinwardly adoreHim. The 'shudder' has here lost its crazy and bewildering note, but not the ineffable something that holds the mind. It has and setsfree as its accompaniment, become a mystical ar,r'e, that 'creature-feetng' that has reflectedin self-consciousness, already been described as the feeling of personalnothingness and submergencebefore the awe-inspiring object directly experienced.

r8

'rvr:rSfE'nrUU f neUeXpUtrt'

'trrvs1:enruu TREMENDUM'

r9

The referring of this feeling numinous trcmor to its object in the numen brings into relief a property of the latter which plays an important part in our Holy Scriptures, and which has been the occasion of many difficulties, both to commentators and to theologians, from its puzzling and baffiing nature. l'his is the <ippi (orgl), the Wrath of Yahweh, which recurs in the New Testament as 3pyi10<o0,and which is clearly analogousto the idea occurring in many religions ofa mysterious ira deorum. To pass through the Indian Pantheon of gods is to find deities who seemto be made up altogether out ofsuch an dpyrj;and even the higher Indian gods ofgrace and pardon have frequently, beside their merciful, their 'wrath' form. But as regards the 'wrath of Yahweh', the strange features about it have for long been a matter for constant remark. In the first place, it is patent from many passagesof the Old Testament that this 'wrath' has no concern whatever with moral qualities. There is something very bafling in the way in which it 'is kindled' and manifested. It is, as has been well said, 'like a hidden force ofnature', like stored-up electricity, discharging itself upon anyone who comes too near. It is 'incalculable' and'arbitrarv'. Anvone who is accustomedto think of deity only by its raiional attributes must seein this 'wrath' mere caprice and wilful passion. But such a view would have been emphatically rejected by the religious men of the Old Covenant, for to tlem the Wrath of God, so far fiom being a diminution of His Godhead, appears as a natural expression of it, an element of'holiness' itselq and a quite indispensable one. And in this tlrey are entirely right. This dpl is nothing blut tJiretremendum itself, apprehended and expressedby the aid of a naive analogy 'from the domain of natural experience,in this casefrom the ordinary passionallife of men, But naive as it may be, the analogy is most disconcertingly apt and striking; so much so that it will always retain its value and for us no lessthan for the men of old be an inevitable way of expressing one element in the religious emotion. It cannot be doubted that, despite the protest of Schleiermacher and Ritschl, Christianity also has something to teach of the 'wrath of God'. It will be again at once apparent that in the use of this

word we are not concernedwith a genuine intellectual 'coucept', but only with a sort of illustrative substitute for a concept. 'Wrath' here is the 'ideogram' of a unique emotionaf moment in religious experience, a moment whose singularly daunting and' awe-inspiring character must be gravelydisturbing to thosepenonswho will recognizenothing love, and a in the divine nature but goodness,gentleness, of aspects a word, only those in intimacy, ofconfidential sort of men. the world God which turn towards This dpyj is thus quite wrongly spoken of as 'natural' wrath: rather it is an entircly non- or super-natural, t.e. numinous, quality. The rationalization processtakes place when it begins to be filled in with elementsderived from the in requital, and punishment for moral reason: righteousness moral transgression. But it should be noted that the idea of the wrath of God in the Bible is always a synthesis, in which the original is combinedwith the later meaning thathas come to fill it in. Something supra-rational throbs and gleams' palpable and visible, in the 'trath of God', prompting to of'terror' that no 'natural' anger can arouse. a sense Besidethe 'w-rath' or 'anger' of Yahweh standsthe related expressionJealousyofYahweh'. The state of mind denoted by the phrase 'being jealous;fozYahweh' is also a numinous pass over state of mind, in which features of the tremendum of it. has experience into t}le man who ('mcjestas') of 'Oaerpoweringness' z, Tlu element We have been attempting to unfold the implications of that indicated by the adjective, aspect of the mlsteriurntremendurn and the result so far may be summarized in two words, constituting, as before, what may be called an 'ideogram', rather than a concept proper, viz. 'absolute unapproachability'. It will be felt at once that there is yet a further element which must be added, that, namely, of 'might" 'power', 'absolute overpoweringness'.lVe will take to represent this majesty-the more readily because any' the term majestas, one with a feeling for languagemust detect a last faint trace of the numinous still clinging to the word. The tremmdun

'uYstn,nI u Irl tnnueNpuu'

'Mystsnrul\.r TREMDNDUM'

2l

may then be rendered more adequately trcmmda majcstas, or 'aweful majesty'. This second element of majesty may continue to be vividly preserved, where the fint, tiat of unapproachabitty, recedesand dies away, as may be seen, for example, in mysticism. It is especiallyin relation to this element of majesty or absolute overpowcringnessthat the creature-consciousness, of which we have already spoken, comes upon the scene, as a sort of shadow or subjective reflection of it. Thus, in contrast to 'the overpowering' of which we are conscious as an object over against the self, there is the feeling of one's own submergence,of being but 'dust and ashes'and nothingness. And this forms the numinous raw material for the feeling of religious humility,! Here we must revert onceagain to Schleiermacher's expression for what we call 'creature-feeling', viz. the'feeling of dependence'. We found fault with this phrase beforeon the ground that Schleiermacher thereby takes as basisand point of departure what is merely a secondaryeffect; that he sets out to teach a consciousness of the religious objut only by way of an inference from the shadow it castsupon refconsciousness. We have now a further criticism to bring against it, and it is this. By 'feeling of dependence' Schleiermacher means consciousness of Deizgeonditioned (as effect by cause), and so he develops the implications of this logically enough in his sectionsupon Creation and Preservation. On the side of the deity the correlate to 'dependence' would thus be 'causality', i.e. God's character as all-causing and all-conditioning. But a senseof this does not enter at all into thac immediate and first-hand religious emotion which we have in the moment of worship, and which we can recover in a measurefor analysis; it belongson the contrary decidedly to the rationalside of the idea of God; its impiications admit of preciseconceptual determination; and it springsfrom quitc a distinct source. The diflerence between the'feeling of dependence'of Schleiermacher and that which finds typical utterance in the words of Abraham already cited might be expressed as that betwien the consciousness of creatednes( and
r Cf. R. R. Marctt, 'The Birth of Humility', in 77c Thrcshold of tulfuin, 2 Gcschafcatuit. 2rd cd., tg!4. [Tr,]

In the one case you have of creaturehold.t the consciousness the creature as the work of the divine creative act; in the other, impotence and general nothingnessas against-overpowering might, dust and ashesas against 'majesty'. In the h.t the fact of having been crcated; in the L.r" " the creature. And as soon as speculative "ur""yo,i other, the statusof thousht has come to concern itself with this latter type of soonasit hascorneto analysethis 'majesty' consc"iousness-as -we ale introduced to a set of ideas quite different from those of creation or preservation- \{e come upon t}re ideas, fint, of the annihilation of self, and then, as its comPlement, of the transcendent as the sole and entire reality. These are the characteristic notes of mysticism in all its forms, however otherwise various in content' For one of the chiefest and most general features of mysticism is just this self'depreciation (so pllidy parallel to the caseof Abraham), the estimation of tfr. iaq of the perso.tal 'I', as something not pefectly or essentiallyreal, ;r even as mere nullity, a self-depreciation which comes io demand its own fulfi'Iment in practice in reiectins the delusion of selfhood, and so makes for the of the self. And on the other hand mysticism "tioiftiU'tio" leads to a valuation of the transcendentobject of its reference as that which through plenitude ofbeing stands supremeand absolute, so that the hnite self contrasted uith it becomes evenin its nullity that 'I am naught, Thou art all'' conscious There is no thought in this of any causal relation between God, the creator,ind the self, the creature' The p^ointfrom of absolute which speculation starts is not a 'consciousness cause a divine of effect and dependince'-of myself as result the upon -io" th.t would in point of fact lead to insistence absolute of the reality ofthe self; it siarts fiom a consciousness myself, and than other power of a ,np.tio.ity or suPremacy it is only as it fatl'sback upon ontological terms to achieveits end-terms generally borrowed fiom natural science-that originally aPprehended as that elemeni of the tremendun, ;pl..rit.tde of power', becomestransmuted into'plenitude of beine'. Tiis leads again to the mention of mysticism' No mere
I Guclibfli4h*tit'

' ttlYsTrRIur"t r nnunno uM'

inquiry into the genesisof a thing can throw any light upon its essential nature, and it is hence immaterial to us how mysticism historically arosc. But essentially mysticism is the stressingto a very high degree, indeed the overstressing, of the non-rational or supra-rational elemens in religion; and it is only intelligible when so understood. The various phases and factors of the non-rational may receivevarying emphasis, and the type of mysticism will differ according as some or othen fall into the background, What we have been analysing, however, is a feature that recurs in all forms of mysticism everywhere, and it is nothing but the 'crcature-consciousness' stressed to the utmost and to excess, the expression meaning, if we may repeat the contrast already made, not 'feeling of our createdness' but 'feeling ofour creaturehood',that is, the consciousness of the littleness of every creaturein face of that which is above all creatures. A characteristic common to all types of mysticism is the Idtntifuation, in different degrees of completeness,of the personal self with the transcendent Reality. This identification has a source ofits own, with which we are not here concerned, and springs from 'moments' of religious experience which would require separate treatment. 'Identification' alone, however, is not enough for mlnticism; it must be f dentification with the Something that is at once absolutely supreme in power and reality and wholly non-rational. And it is among the mystics that we most encounterthis element of religious consciousness.R6cijac has noticed this in his Essai sur lesJondements dc la connaissance n)stique (Pais, rBgT). He writes (p. 9o) : Le mysticisme par la crainte,par le sentiment d'une commence domination universelle, inaincible,et devient plus tard un ddsir d'union avec ce qui domine ainsi. And some very clear examples of this taken from the religious experience of the present day are to be found in W. James (op. crt.,p. 66): The perfect stillness of the night wasthrilled by a more solemn silence. The darkness held a presence that wasall the more felt because it was not seen. I could not anv morehavedoubtedthat

2Z 'vYs'rrRIuru rtruexnuu' .EIcwas there than that I was. Indeed, I felt myself to be, if possible, the lessreal of the twoThis exampleis particularly instructive asto the relation of mysticismto the 'feelingsof identification', for the experience here recountedwas on the point of passinginto it.r g. Thz Elementof 'Energy' or Urgerryt There is, finally, a third element comprised in thoseof teand, majestas, mendum awefulnessand majesty, and this I venture to call the 'urgency' or 'energy' of the numinous object. It is particularly vividly perceptible in the ripfi or 'wrath'; and it everywhereclothes itself in symbolical expressions-vitality, passion, emotional temper, will, force, movement,z excitement, activity, impetus. These features are typical and recur again and again from the daemonic level up to the idea of the 'living' God, We have here tJ:e factor that has everywheremore than any other prompted the fiercest opposition to the 'philosophic' God of mere rational speculation,who can be put into a definition. And for their part the philosophers have condemned these expressions of the energy of the numen, whenever tltey are brought on to the scene,as sheeranthropomorphism. In so far as tleir opponents have for the most part themselves failed to .."og.rir. that the terms they have borrowed fiom the sphereof human conative and afective life have merely value as analogies,the philosophers are right to condemn them. But they are wrong, in so far as, this error notwithstanding,theseterms stood for a genuine aspectof the divine nature-its non-rational aspect-a due consciousnessof which servedto protect religion itselffrom being 'rationalized' away. For wherever men have been contending for the 'living' God or for voluntarism, there, we may be sure, have been non-rationalistsfighting rationalists and rationalism, It r.r'as sowith Luther in his controveny with Erasmus; and Luther's omnipotentia Dei in his De Serao Arbitio is nothing but the
r Comparc too the cxperience on p. 7o: '. . .lAhat was a temporary loss of my own identity'. ' Thc 'mobilitas Dci' of Lactantius. I felt on thcsc occasion:

24

'Ir.rvsrrntuM rnruruouu'

union of 'majesty'-in the senseof absolute supremacywith this 'energy', in the sense ofa force that knows not stint nor stay, which is urgent, active, compelling, and alive. In mysticism,too, this element of 'energy' is a very living and vigorousfactor, at any rate in tl-re'voluntaristic' mysticism, the mysticism of love, where it is very forcibly seenin that 'consuming fire' of love whose burning shength the mystic can hardly bear, but begsthat the heat that has scorchedhim may be mitigated, lest he be himself destroyed by it. And in this urgency and pressure the mystic's 'love' claims a perceptible kinship with the 6Wi itself, the scorching and consuming wrath of God; it is the same'energy', only differently directed. 'Love', saysone ofthe mystics,'is nothing elsethan quenchedwrath.' The element of'energy' reappearsin Fichte's speculations on the Absolute as the gigantic, never-resting, active worldstress, and in Schopenhauer'sdaemonic 'Will'. At the same time both these writers are guilty of tlr.e same error that is already found in myth; they transfer 'natural' attributes, which ought only to be used as 'ideograms' for what is itself properly beyond utterance, to the non-rational as real qualifi.cations of it, and they mistake symbolic expressionsof feelings lor adequate concepts upon which a 'scientific' structure of knowledge may be based. In Goethe, aswe shall seelater, the sameelement of energy is emphasizedin a quite unique way in his strange descriptions of the experiencehe calls 'daemonic'.

Cneprpx. V TH E AN ALYSIS OF 'M YST ER IU M '


Einb.gtif.tdt Gou isrkrin Cou. 'A God comprchcndcdis ao God.' (fensrmcrx.)

I A JE gaveto the objecttowhich the numinousconsciousness and we then tremendurn, YY is directed the name mltsteium set ourselves first to determine the meaning of the adjective tremendum-whichwe found to be itself only justified by analogy-because it is more easily analysed than the substantivc idea m7slerium. \Nehave now to turn to *ris, and try, as best we man by hint and suggestion, to get to a clearer apprehensionof what it implies. 4. Tlu'Whol$ Otha' It might be thought that the adjective itself gives an explanation of the substantive; but this is not so. It is not merely analytical; it is a synthetic attribute to it; i.e. tremendum adds sometling not necessarily inherent irt mysteium. It is true that t}re reactiors in consciousness that correspond to the one readily and spontaneously overflow into those that correspondto t}re other; in fact, anyonesensitive to the use of words would commonly feel that the idea of 'mystery' (m2steiun)is soclosely bound up with its synthetic quali$ing (tremendun) attribute 'aweful' that one can hardly say the former without catching an echo of the latter, 'mystery' almost of itself becorning 'aweful mystery' to us. But the passage from the oneidea to the other need not by any means be always so easy. The elements of meaning implied in and 'mysteriousness' are in themselvesdefinitely 'alvefulness' different. The latter may so far preponderate in the religious consciousness, may stand out so vividly, that in comparison with it the former almost sinks out of sight; a case which again could be clearly exemplified from some forms of mysticism. Occasionally, on the other hand, the revene happens, an'd the tremendum may in turn occupy the mind without the m\stzrium. This latter, then, needs special consideration on its own

26

THE

ANALYSI S

OF

. M YSTERI U M ,

TrrE ANALYSTS or 'uystrntuut

for the mental reaction account. We need an peculiar to il: , though, as it is strictly applicable only to a 'natural' state of d '$cpot:,. Stulor is plainly a different thing from tremor; -it sie"ifi.s bt""k *o. L$!t9!g3C!nb, Taken, indeed, in its purely natural 4lSa4lqgntAolute.r would first mean merelya sccretor a mystery mysterium sense, in the senseofthat which is alien to us, uncomprehendedand unexplained; and so far mystciumis itself merely an ideogram, an analogical notion taken from the natural sphere, illustrating, but incapable of exhaustivcly rendering, our leal meaning. Taken in the religious sense,that which is give it perhaps the most striking expres'!qy$g4g5Jt-to alienum),that which (1drepov, atryad, sion-lre-'.ttl'olly-glLhgr' is quite beyond the sBberqof thg-!D-uj[ tlrg inle]ligible, and the familiar, which therefore falls quite_oltside the limits. of

th"'."@{.Il4g

blank wonder and astonishment. This is already to be observedon the lowest and earliest level of the religion of primitive man, where the numinous consciousness is but an inchoatestirring ofthe feelings. \\rhat is really characteristic of this stageis not-as the theory of Animism would have us believe-that mcn are here concerned with curious entities, called 'souls'or 'spirits', rvhich of spirits and.similar happen to be invisible. B&Pr9!cn!4!iens conggplro.Il!4tCI4qrer o,4q4!d 4!!.eq4!ymoder qf:r4uonal i2r.!g iggqe_d"gtt qxperie"ce, !9 whigh !\E 3lgjlqsiglgrv. in somewiy or otherit little rnatters how, ft-"V t." ^tttr"ptt to guess the riddle it propounds, and their effect is at the sanie time alwaysto weakenand deadenthe experienceitself' They are the sourcefrom which springs,not religion, but the

I4s mind wi-th

rationalization of religion, which often endsby constructing such a massivestructure oftheory and such a plausiblefabric of interpretation, that the rmystery' is frankly excluded.r Both imaginative 'myth', when developedinto a system,and intellectualist Scholasticism,when worked out to its completion, are methods by which the fundamental fact of religious experienceis, as it wcre, simply rolled out so thin and flat as to be linally eliminated altogcther. Even on the lowest level of religious development the essentialcharacteristic is therelore to be sought elsewhere than in the appearance of'spirit' representations. It lies rather, we repeat, ig-a p_erg!!41!4gqqnt'_o_f consciousness, towl!, ths,!tup7! lefo1q ro4qthlng 'wtrglly other', whetller such C{lprnll o1 jd4er4on ol'deva', or be left ?4_9!heI_b9_na_qf a!L4ame. Nor doesit make any difference in this U!!hgg! whether, respect to interpret and preservetheir apprehension of this 'other', men coin original imagery of their own or adapt imaginations drawn from the rvorld of legend, the fabrications of fancy apart from and prior to any stinings of daemonic dread. In accordance with laws of which we shall have to speak again later, this feeling or corrsciousness ofthe 'wholly other' w-i!!,e!E!h {s_e!119,_ el,lqmetllqes be indirectly aroused by readv_luzzling gpo4 the lleans of obiects whi o1a11q9q{149 qh.qt1gtcr '@sing ; such asextraordinary phenomenaor astonishingoccurrences or things in inanimate nature, in the animal world, or among men. Bu!_bglg_sqre_melle we are dealing with a case of ous' a4d the 'natural' moments of consciousness-andnot merely with the gradual enhancementof one of them-the the other. As in the caseof 'natural 'natural'-till it becomes fear'and 'daemonic dread'already considered, so here the transition from natural to daemonicamazementis not a mere matter of degree. But it is only.uatblheJatlet tlgt-Se sqsrplelqlr!4ry_extrt9ss1t:1r-vtystqia!!l perfe-cly larmonizes, as will
r A spirit or soul that has been conccivcd and comprchended no longcr prompts to 'shuddcring', as is provcd by Spiritualism- But it thercby ccaics to bc of intcrcst for the psychology ofrcligion,

e$""i",i.

rd;i

iv-4l

t-ihe-numin-

t Compare also obstupefaure. Still more exact quivalents are ihc Grcek \ip.pos aia Bappci". The sound 0 a p P (thanb) exccllently depicts this statc of mind of blank, staring wondcr' And the difference bctwccn the momenls of stupol tremot s vely 6nely suggcsted by rhc passagc, Mark x' 3z (d' iny'a, ^r.d, p. r5B). On the othcr hand, what was said above ofthc facitity and raPidity withwhich tic two moments mergc and blend is also markedly true of 0rippos, which then bccomes a classical tcrm for the (ennobled) awe of thc n\rminous in gencral. So Mark xvi- 5 is rightly tlanslated by Luthcr'und sie eBtsetzten sici', and by thc English Authorir.d V.oioo 'and thcy werc atrrigbtcd'-

28

r HE

A N A L YS IS o F ' M Ys rER ru M '

TrrE ANALysrs oF 'IltysrE nruM'

29

trglelt pg!1aps rnore clearly in the caseof the adjectival form '!sy$c4ous'. No one says,strictty and in earnest,ofa piece that he ofclockwork that is be1'ondhis grasp,or of a science cannot understand: 'Ihat is "mysterious" to me.' It might be obiected that the mvsteriou! is !9!qqih14,C our ryhichj-s and-remains absolutely.-aniliavariably-beyoud uqdg$L4l|ding, whereasthat which merely eludesour understanding for a time but is perfectly intelligible in principle should be called, not a 'mystery', but merely a 'problem'. But this is by no means an adequateaccount of the matter. our knowledge has certatn not only because comprehension. it we come upon somebecause in but irremovable li fore recoil in a wonder that strikesus chill and 6y i tonsideration of that Thtr *ry b. r""di-.tiil "l"u."t Cegraded oflshoot and travesty of the genuine 'numinous' driad or awe, the fear of ghosts. Let us try to analysethis experience, We have already specifiedthe peculiar feelingelement of'dread' aroused by the ghost as that of'grue', grisly horror.2 Now this 'grue' obviously contributes somein so far, exercise, thing to the attraction which ghost-stories namely, as the relaxation oftension ensuing upon our release from it relieves the rnind in a pleasant and agreeableway. So far, however, it is not really the ghost itself that givesus pleasure.but thg lbq1-lfat *c afe,rid qf it' But obviouslythis quite insuficient to explain the ensnaring attraction of the ghost-story. The ghost's real attraction rather consistsin -s this, that o!!1self and- in,an. u4qolqlnqlt.dcgqq it -e4tlc,esJhe imagination, awabgging-strong interest ,arld curiosity; it is
I In ConJcssiotLs, ii. 9. r, Augustine very striLingly suggests this stifening, benumbing element ofthc'wholly other'and its contrast to the rational aspcct of the numcn 1the dirsimilc and the sinilc: 'Quid est illud, quod interlucet mihi et percutit cor meum sinc laesionc? Et inhorresco et inard esco. Inluttcsa, in quantum dissirnili.r ei sum. Inzldesco, in quantum simils i sum.' ('!Vhat is that which glcams through me and smitcs my hcart without wounding it? I am both a-shuddcr and a-glow. A-shudder, in so far as I am unlike it, a-glow in so far as I anr like it.') 2 Erut.In, giisefl.

But it doesthis, @,fancy. 'dnd not-Eccinse-it ia 'sofimilg long white' (as someone oncedefineda ghost), yet nor throughanyof thepositive and conceptualattributeswhich fanciesabout ghostshave invented, but because iq is a thingthat 'doesnit really exist at

hasno ptace in our 4Lgg_fyhgllgth4_sjqgthiqg,rvhich gchemeofreality but belongs to an absolutelydifferent one, and which at the same time arousesan inepressible interest -the in mind. But that which is perceptibly true in tlle fear of ghosts, which is, after all, only a caricatureofthe genuinething, is in a far stronger sense true ofthe 'daemonic,experienceitsel{ of which the fear of ghosts is a mere off*hoot. And while, ' following this main line of development,this element in the numinous consciousness, the feeling of the ,wholly other', is heightened and clarified, its higher modes of manifestation come into being, which set the numinous obiect in confast not only to everything wonted and familiar (i.e. in the end, r to nature in general), thereby turning it into the ,supernatural', but finally to the world itself,and therebv exalt it to the 'supramundane', that which is above the whole worldoroer. In mysticism we have in the 'beyond' (int<ewa) again the strongest stressingand over-stressinE of those non-rational elements which are already inhereni in all religion. Mysticism continues to its extreme point this contrasting of tlre numinous object (the numen), as the .wholly othei,, with ordinary experience.Not content with contrastinEit l,ith all that is of nature or this world, mysticismconcluJes by con-trastingit with Beingitselfand all that 'is', and finally aitually calls it 'that which is nothing'. By this ,nothing' is meant not only that of which nothing can be predicated,but that which is absolutely and intrinsically other than and opposite of gv-qrythingthat is and can be thought. But while exaggerating to the point of paradox is negation and contra;i-the only mcans open to conceptual thought to apprehend the rylsterium-mr-sticism at the same time retaini the boitizte qualityof the'rvholly other' as a very living factor in ie overbrimming religious emotion.

3o

THE

ANALYSI S

OF

. M YSTERI U I T '

But what is true of the strange 'nothingness' of our mystics the'vo!d' and the sinyatd, holds good equally of the sunlt:am and'eirptineis' of the Buddhist mystics. This aspirationfor the 'void' and for becoming void, no lessthan the aspiration nothing, ofour western mysticsfor 'nothing' and lor becoming inner no must seem a kind of lunacy to anyone who has sympathy for the esotericlanguage and ideogramsof mysti cism, and lacks the matrix from which these come necessarily to birth. To such an one Buddhism itself will be simply a mLrbid sort of pessimism. But in fact the 'void' of the eastern,like t-he'nothing' of the western,mysticis a numinous ideogram of the 'wholly other'. These Lrms 'supernatural' and 'transcendent'rgive the to the appearance of poiitive attributes, and, as ap-plied. of its originally *yrt.tion., tlrey appear to d iv estthe m2steium On tlre an affirmation' into it to turn meaning-ind negative than more is nothing this sidi of conceptual thought fPPearance, for it is obvious that the two terms in question are merely negative and exclusive attributes with reference to 'nature' aid the world or cosmosrespectively. But on the side of the feeling-contentit is otherwise;tlrat ls in ve.rytruth positive in the highest degree, though here too, as beforg, .*!ti.it i.t conceptual terms' It is i-t cannot be rencl"cred thro"gt this positive feeling-contentthat the conceptsof the 'transiendent' and'supernatural' becomeforthwith designations for a unique 'wholly other' reality and quality, something of whose special character we canfeel, without being able to givc it clear conceptual expression.
r Literally, supramu td anel. ibcrucltlidt

Cneprrn 5 . T HE ELEMENT

VI

OF FASCINATION

rlrnn qualitative content of the numinous expcrience,to I which 'the mysterious' stands as form, is in one of its aspectsthe element of daunting 'awefulness' and 'majesty', which has already been dealt wittr in detail; but it is dear that it has at the sametime anothcr aspect,in which it shows itself as something uniquely attractive and faseinating. These two qualities, the daunting and the fascinating,now combine in a strange harmony ofcontrasts, and the resultant dual character of the numinous consciousness, to which the entire religious development bears witness, at any rate fiom t}le level of the 'daemonic dread' onwards, is at once the strangest and most notewortiy phenomenon in the whole history of religion. The daemonic-divine object may appear to the mind an object of horror and dread, but at the same time it is no lesssomething that allures with a potent charm, and the creature, who trembles before it, utterly cowed and cast down, has always at the sametime the impulse to tum to it, nay even to make it somehowhis own. The'mystery'is for him not merely something to be wondered at but something that entrances him; and beside that in it which bewilders and confounds, he feels a something that captivates and transports him with a strange ravishment, rising often enough to the pitch of dizzy intoxication; it is the Dionpiacelement in the numen. Theideas and conceptswhich are the parallels or'schcmata' on the rational side of this non-rational element of 'fascination' are love, mercy, pity, comfort; these are all 'natural' elements of the common psychical life, only they are here thought as absolute and in completeness.But important as theseare for the experienceof religious bliss or felicity, they do not by any means exhaust it. It is just the sameas with the oppositeexperienceof religibus infelicity-the experience of the Spyi or 'wrat}l' of God:-both alike contain fundamentaUy non-rational eiements. Bliss or beatitude is more, far more, than the mcle natural feeling of being comforted,

32

T1IE

ELD, M ENT

O F FASCI NAT I O N

TI{E

EL EM EN T

OF FASC IN ATION

33

ofreliance, of the joy oflove, howeverthesemay be heightened and enhancid. Just as 'wrath', taken in a purdy doesnot exhaustthat prorational or a purely ethical sense, which is lockcd in the mystery of found elemenl of atoefulncss deity, so neither does 'graciousness'exhaust the profound element of wonderfulnessand rapture which lies in the mysterious beatific experience of deity. The term 'gracc' may indeed be taken as its aptestdesignation,but then only in ihe sensein which it is reilly applied in the languageof the mystics, and in which not only the 'gracious intent' but 'someihi.rg more' is meant by the word. This 'something very far back in the history more' has its antecedent phases of relisions. It niay well be possible, it is even probable, that in the 6nt started stage ol its development the religious consciousness numen of the aspect poles-the 'daunting' with only one of its -and so at first to;k shape only as 'daemonic dread'. But if this did not point to something beyond itself, if it were not but one 'moment' of a completer experience,pressingup then no transition would be gradually into consciousness, to the numen. possibleto the feelingsofpositive self-surrender The only type of woiship that could result from dris 'dread' and dnoryneu,taking alone would be that of &na,rciofla,' the averting or the propitiation, and the form of expiation It can never exthe numen. appcasement of the 'wrath' of piiin ho* it is that 'the numinous' is the object ofsearch and iesire and yearning, and that too for its own sake and not only for the sake of the aid and backing that men expect from it in the natural sphere. It can never explain how this takes place, not only in the forms of'rational' religious and worshiip, but in those queer 'sacramental' observances human the which in of communion procedures and rituals being secksto get tie numen into his possession. RJligions prictice may manilest itself in thosenormal and easily intelligible forms rvhich occupysoprominent a placein the history of religion, such forms as propitiation,,petition' thesethere is a series sacrifice, thanksgiving, &c. But besides ofstrange proceedingswhich areconstantlyattracting greater and greiter attention, and in which it is claimed that we may

recognize, besidesmere religion in general, the particular roots of m)'sticism. I refer to those numerouscurious modes ofl behaviour and fantastic forms of mediation. by means of which the primitive religious man attempts to master 'the mysterious', and to fill himself and even to identify himself with it. These modesof behaviour fall apart into two classes. On the one hand the 'magical' identification of the self with the numen proceeds by means of various transactions, at once magical and devotional in character-by formula, ordination, adjuration, consecration, exorcism, &c.: on the other hand are the 'shamanistic' rvaysofprocedure, possession, indwelling, self-fulfilment in exaltation and ecstasy. All these have, indeed, their starting-points simply in magic, and their intention at first was certainly simply to appropriate the prodigious force of the numen for the natural ends ofman. But the processdoes not rest there. Possession of and bv t}le numen becomesan end in itself; it begins to be sought for its own sake; and the wildest and most artificial methods of asceticismare put into practice to attain it. In a word, the uita rcligiosa begins; and to remain in thesestrange and bizarre statesofnuminous possession becomesa good in itself, even a way of salvation, wholly different from the profane goods pursued by means of magic. Here, too, cornmencesthe processof development by which the experience is matured and purified, till finally it reaches its consummation in the sublimest and purest statesof the 'life witi n the Spirit' and in the noblest mysticism. Widcly various as these stats are in themselves, yet they have this element in common, that in them the m2steriunis experienced in its essential,positive, and specific character, as something that bestows upon man a beatitude beyond compare, but one whosereal nature he can neither proclaim in speechnor conceive in thought, but may knorv only by a direct and living experience. It is a bliss which embracesall those blessings that are indicated or suggcstedin positive fashion by any 'doctrine of salvation', and it quickens all of them through and through; but these do not exhaust it. Rather by its allpervading, penetrating glow it makes of thesevery blessings more than the intellect can conceive in them or affi.rm of

34

TIIE

EL E M EN T

O F F A SC IN A TION

TIIE DLEMENT Otr FASCINATION O nov_a mansio, te pia concio, genspia munit, Provehit, excitat, auget, identitat, efficit, ,roiti

understanding, and of them. It gives the peace that passes which the tongue can only stammer brokenly. Only fiom afar, by metaphors and analogies,do we come to apprehend what it is in itself, and even so our notion is but inadequate and confused. 'Eye hath not secn,nor ear heard, neitherhave enteredinto the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' lVho doesnot feel the exalted sound of these words and the 'Dionysiac' element of transport and fervour in them? It is instructive that in such phrasesas would fain put its highest conthese,in which consciousness images fall away' and the mind into words, 'all summation that ale purely negative. turns from them to grasp expressions And it is still more instructive that in reading and hearing such words their merely negative character simply is not noticed I that we can let whole chains of such negationsen' rapture, even intoxicate us, and that entire hymns-and deeply impressive hymns-have been composed,in which there is really nothing positive at all ! All tlfs teachesus the independence of the positive content of this experiencefrom and how the implications of its overt conceptual expression, it can be firmly grasped, thoroughly understood, and profoundly appreciated, purely in, with, and from the feeling itself. Mere love, mere trust, for all the glory and happinessthey bring, do not explain to us that moment of rapture that breathes in our tenderestand most heart-felt hymns ofsalvahyrnns of longing as that tion, as also in such eschatological seemto dance. the very verses Rhyme ofSt. Bernard in which Urbs Sion unica, mansiomystica,condita coelo, Nunc tibi gaudeo,nunc tibi lugeo,tristor, anhelo, penetro; Te, quia corporenon queo'pectoresaepe
Sed caro terrea, terraque carnear mox cado retro. Nemo retexere, nemoque promere sustinet ore, quo tua moenia, quo capitolia plena nitore. Id queo dicere, quo modo tangere pollice coelum' IJt mare currerc, sicut in aere figere telum' Opprimit omne cor ille tuus decor, O Sion, O Pax. Urbs sine trmporer nulla potest fore laus tibi mendax.

35

This is where-the living .something more' of the . fascinans, the element offascination, is to be found. It lives io lessin thosetense extollings of the blessingofsalvation, which recur in all religions of salvation, and Jtand in such remarkable contrast the relatively meagre and frequently childish -toimport of that which is revealed in them by conceot or bv image. Everywhere salvation is something rvhor. is often-very little apparent, is even wholliy obscure, -"u.i.rg to the 'natural' man; on the contrary, sofar as hi understantls it, he tends to-find-it highly tedious and uninteresting, sometimes downright distasteful and repugnant to his riature, as he would, for instance,find the beatific vision ofGod in our own doctrine of salvation, or the henlsis of ,God all in all, among the mystics. 'So far as he understands',be it noted; but then he doesnot understand it in the least. Becausehe lacks the inward teachingofthe Spirit, he must needsconfound what rs onereclhrm asan expression for the experienceofsalvation -a-mere ideogram of what is felt, whoseimport it hints at by analogy-with 'natural' concepts,as though it were itself iust such an one. And so he'wandlrs ever fariirer from the eJal,. It is not only in t_he religious feeling of longing tha"t the moment of fascination is a living factor. It is already alive and presentinthe moment of .solemnity',both in the gathered concentration and humble submergence of private dlvotion, when the mind is exalted to the holn urrd i., the common rvorship of the congregation, where this is practised with earnestness and deep sincerity, as, it is to be feired. is with us a thing rather desired than realized. It is this and nothing else that in the solemn moment can fill the soul so full and
r 'O Sion, thou city. sole and single, mrstic mansion hidden away in the , ncavens, now I rejo)cc in thec, no\v I moan for thee and mourn and yearn for jhcc; th:: oltel I plss-rhrough in the heart, as I crnnot in rhc b"ay, U"f l.i"g but earthly flcsh and flcshly earti soon I fall back. None can aisci*. or .r".., in--speech w_hatplnary radiance fills thy walls and thy citadcls. f .." iittf. tell ofit at I can touch the skics with my 6ngcr, or run upon th. oi "" dart stand still inrhe air. This thy splendour overwhelmi every hcart, ".. " -J.Sion, O (J reacet (, tunclcssCtty, Do prarsecan bclie thcc. O new dwelling_place. tlcc thc concours and people of thc faithful crccls and exahs, inspi.." .ij irr"i.u"o, joi.u! to itscli aud makca coEplet end oDc.,

36

T I I A E L D ME N T O F F AS C IN AT ION

TIr E

EL EM EN T

OF FASC TN ATION

37

assertionr keepit so inexpressiblytranquil. Schleiermacher's in consciousness numinous of-the true of it,'as i, f.rt ^p. its on alone occur really seieral.'viz. that it cannot -own with rational ;;;;;;;, o, - .*..p, combined and penetrated S",, if this be admitted,lt is upon otler grounds "f.-""". it u" thot" adduced by Schleiermacher; while, on the other hand, it may occupy a more or lesspredominant place.and in i.ud io .tut.t of iuim (i"uxtd as well as of transport' the all in 3u1 of ieelf wnoity nUs the soul' whi"h it a/rnost in rn"ttifota forms in which it is aroused in us, whether .r.h^tolosicul promiseofthe coming kingdom ofGod and-the blissofParadise, or in the guiseofan entry into transcend"ent it inui U."tin" reality that is 'above the world'; whether present come first in expectancy or pre-intimation or in a ('When I but haic Thee, I ask no quesdon of .*oU."." in all theseforms, outwardly diversebut ft"i""" ""a.utth'); inwardly akin, it appearsas a strange and mighty propulsion towards an ideal goodknown only to religion.and.inits nature n"on-rational, which the mind knows of in i,i"Jr*""t"Uy p.eserrtiment, recognizing it for what it is vearninq and its ir.ti"a irt" ou.i"u." and inadequale symbols which are our beyond onlv expression. And this shows that above and ,raio.r"i being lies hidden the ultimate and highestpart ofour of iti"t., *fti"fi can find no satisfactionin the mere allaling and imp-ulses intellectual psychical,or of our sensuous, the need.s ih. *Vstics called it the basisor ground ofthe soul' ".""i"S"" We iaw that in the caseof the element of the mysterious the and. transcendent 'whollf other' led on to the supernatural (iaerervo) of the 'beyond' urra ttt.t above these appeared being religion through the non-rational side of It to excess' is the -y.ti"i.m, tuir.J ao its highist power and stressed of tie element of 'fascination' ; here, too' is tlte cas"e ;;;;1" of oorribt" a transition into mysticism' At its highest point 'e-'iuberL.tt tf." fascinating becomesthe 'overabounding', upon u.rti,' th" mystical ';oment' rvhich exactly corresponds and this iine to ihe dzlr.rvo upon the other line of approlclr' feeling this while But *triJ ir to be understood-accordingly' of *r" 1o.r"t-uUounding' is specially characteristic of mysti'
I Glubathhrc, | 5'

cism, a trace of it survivesin all truly felt statesof religious beatitude,however restrained and kept within measure by other factors. This is seenmost clearly from the psychology of those great experiences-of grace, conversion, second birth-in which the religious experience appears in its pure intrinsic nature and in heightenedactivity, so as to be more cleally graspedthan in the lesstypical form of piety instilled by education. The hard core of such experiencesin their Christian form consistsof the redemption from guilt and bondageto sin, and we shall have prcsently to sce that this also doesnot occur without a participation of non-rational elements.But leaving this out of account, what we have here to point out is the unutterablenessof what has been yet genuinelyexperienced, and how such an experiencemay pass into blisful excitement,rapture, and exaltation verging often on the bizerre and the abnormal.r This is vouched for by the autobiographicaltestimony of the 'converted' from St. Paul onward. William James has collected a great number of thcse, without, however, himself noticing the non-rational elementthat thrills in them. Thus, one writes . . . Forthe momentnothingbut an ineffablejoy and exaltation remained.It is impossible fully to describe the experience.It lvas like theeffect u'hen all the separate notes of somegreatorchestra, havemeltedinto one swellingharmony, tlat leavesthe listener conscious of nothing savethat his soul is being wafted upwards and almmt bunting with its own emotion. (Varielies oJReligious Expuiew, p. 66.) And another: . . . The more I seek wordsto express this intimate intercou$e, the moreI feelthe impossibility ofdescribingthe thing by any of our usualimages. (Ibid., p. 68.)
I This may be found fatal to the attempt to construct a'rcligion within thc limits of pure reason', or 'of humanity'; but, none the less,the matter is as wc havc describcd it, as far as concerns thc psychological inquiry into religion, which asks,not what it is within thc aforementioned limits, but what it is in its own esscntial nalure, And for that mattr this proceeding of coDstructing a to and apart from the most ccntral and potent of humar 'humanity'prior capacitics is like nothing so much as the attcmpt to framc a standard idea of the human body after having prcviously cut off the head.

' dzt Abctsclutarylkla.

THE ELEMENToF FAscrNATroN 38 And almost with the precision of dogma, a third (Jonathan Edwards) indicates the qualitative difference of the experienceof beatitude from other 'rational' joy: The conceptions of God have of the loveliness which the saints and rhat kind of delight which they ec<perience in it are quite peculiarand entirely different from anything which a natural man can possess or of which he can form any proper notion. (Ibid.,p. rz9.) Cf. also pp. rg2, 225; and the testimony of Jacob Boehme givenon p.4r7. Also this of Boehme: But f can neither write nor tell ofwhat sort of Exaltationthe triumphingin the Spirit is. It canbe comparedwith nought,but that when in the midst of death Me is born. and it is like the resurrection of the dcad. With the mystics these experiencespass up wholly into the 'over-abounding'. 'O that I could tell you what the heart feels,how it burns and is consumedinwardly! Only, I find no words to expressit. I can but say: Might but one little drop of what I feel fall into Hell, HeIl would be transformed into a Paradise.' So saysSt, Catherire of Genoa; and all the multitude of her spiritual kindred tesdry to the sameeffect. What we Christians know as the experiencesofgrace and the second birth have their parallels also in the religions of high spiritual rank beyond the borders of Christianity. Such are the breaking out of the saving 'Bodhi', the opening ofthe prasdda,whichisvictorious 'heavenly eye', th e Jfidna,by I {aaras over the darknessofnescience and shinesout in an experience with which no other can be measured. And in all thesethe entirely non-rational and specific element in tie beatific experience is immediately noticeable. The qualitative character of it varies widely in all these cases, and is again in them all very different from its parallels in Christianity; still in all it is very similar in intensity, and in all it is a 'salvation' and an absolute 'fascination', which in contrast to all that admits of 'natural' expression or comparison is deelly imbued with the 'over-abounding' ('exuberant') nature of the numen. And this is also entirely true of the rapture of Nirvana,

TI I E ELEM ENT O F FASCI NATI O N

which is only in appearancea cold and negative state. It is onty conceptuz lly that .Nirvana' is a negati;; it is feltincon_ sciousness as in the strongestdegreep"ositive;t ;..;;;; 'fascination' by which its votarieJ are a. .r..i.Ju*uy " as are the Hindu or the Christian by -".t th" .o...rpo.dino objectsof their.wonhip. I recall vividly a wrrn a buddhrst monl<. He had been putting "."".;";i;i;;; before me and pertinaciously the argum;,; f;; ;i" Telh,?{iTlly 'theologyof negation',the doctrini ofAnd.tman lJudrrhrst and 'entrre emptincss,.lVhen he had made an end, I askedhim, what.then Nirvanaitself is; and after a lone pu"ra .u*"'u. tast lhe slngleanswcr,low and restrained:iBtrs_unspeak_ able'. And the hushedrestraint of that answer,,h. ,;i;-r;;iy ofhis voice, demeanour,and gesture,made more clear what was meant than the words themselves. And.so we maintain, on the one hand, followine the zra eminenttae et cawalitatis,that th divine is i"a."a tfr.-frigfr.*, strongest,best,Ioveliest,and dearestthat man can thfik ;f: but.we asserton the other, following the oia neeation;-;al. (;od, rs not mn_ely the ground and superlative of-all that can oe tnought; He is in Himself a subject on His own account and in Himself, In,the adjective6evdsthe Greeklanguagepossesses a word peculiarly difficult to translate, and "sta;d;g {b;-;; il.. p.eculiarlydifficult_tograsp in ali its strangeviiaiio^. La rt we askwhence this difficulty arises, the answeris plain: it is,because acrvtis is simply r-he'numinous t-"rriv a tower level,iu an arrestedform, attenuatedbyrhetorical "i.i"*"'rt or poetic usage). Consequently6eydsis the .q"iu"t.oioi};r ancr rremendus. lt may mean evil or imposing, potent and strange, queer and marvellous, honifying an-d iascinating divine and daemonic, and a source oi..i..gy,. Sophocl", mans to awakenthe feeling of ,numinor, throueh the wfiole gamut ol-itsphases "i", of mai. at the contemplation the creature of marvel, in the choric ,ong oi th. Antigone: zolid rd 6eryd, rorl8iy dv0p6rov6<v6repov tz!\et. This line defies translation,just because our language has no

39

40

THE

ELEM ENT

O F FASCI NATIO N

term t}rat can isolate distinctly and gather into one word the total numinous impression a thing may make on the mind. The nearest that German can get to it is in the expression dasUngeheuerc (monstrous),while in English 'weird' is perhaps the closestrendering possible. The mood and attitude represented in the foregoing verse might then be fairly well rendered by such a translation as: Much thereis that is weird; but noughtis weirderthanman. The German ungeheuer is not by derivation simply 'huge', in quantity or quality;-this, its common meaning, is in fact a rationalizing interpretation ofthe real idea; it is that which is not geheuer, i.e. approximately, the uncannlt-in a word, the numinous. And it is just this elementof the uncanny in man that Sophocles has in mind. If this, its fundamental meaning, be really and thoroughly felt in consciousness, then the word could be taken as a fairly exact expression for the numinous in its aspects of mystery, awefulness,majesty, augustness, and 'energy'; nay, even the aspect of fascination is dimly felt in it. The variations of meaning in the German word ungefuuer can be wcll illustrated from Goethe.r He, too, uses the word first to denote the huge in size-what is too vast for our faculty ofspace-perception,suchasthe immeasurable vault of the night sky. In other passages the word retains its original non-rational colour more markedly; it comes to mean the uncanny, the fearful, the dauntingly 'other' and incomprehensible, that which arousesin \s sluplr and 0dppos;and finally, in the wonderful words of Faust which I have put at the beginning of this book, it becomesan almost exact synonym for our 'numinous' under all its aspects. ist der Menschheit bestes Teil. Das Schaudern Wie auch die \{elt ihm dasGeftihl verteuere, Ergriffen fithlt er ticf daslJngeheuere.z
' C,f. Wilh.lnt Mc;skrs Dichtung und Walvluit, 22 Awc is thc Misprizing Dccply wc Waddcrjalw,Bk.l, ch. ro; llTahlamt:andttrhalt n, 2. rsi g. 4. 2o. b6t of man: howe'er thc world's of thc fceling would prevent us, fcd, oncc grippc4 the wcird Portcntous. (Gozrne, Faafl, Sccond Part, Act r, Sc. v.)