Terms and Questions:

Sacred Power and the Mysterium



1.    Mysterium

2.    tremendum

3.    fascinans

4.    numinous

5.    The Sacred

6.    Gerardus van der Leeuw

7.    The Idea of the Holy

8.    Creature-feeling

9.    Fetish


1.    What does van der Leeuw mean by the “ambivalence of sacred power”?

2.    How does Otto’s famous book draw on van der Leeuw’s notion of this ambivalence?

3.    How would you describe the three components of Otto’s idea?  Illustrate.

4.    What kinds of things can be made sacred?

5.    How is a notion of the sacred valuable to a scholar of religion?  Is it valuable to a religious person?