Mysterium Tremendum

All great epochs of the history of Christianity are defined by new forms of the experience of God and of Christ. Rudolf Otto, a 20th-century German theologian, attempted to describe to some extent the basic ways of experiencing the transcendence of The Holy. Rudolph Otto explores the non-rational mystery behind religion and the religious experience, outlining concept of the Numinous:

  • The Mysterium Tremendum – mystery that repels, in which the dreadful, fearful, and overwhelming aspect of the numinous appears
  • The Mysterium Fascinosum – mystery that attracts, by which humans are irresistibly drawn to the glory, beauty, adorable quality, and the blessing, redeeming, and salvation-bringing power of transcendence


All of these features are present in the concepts of God in monotheistic as well as polytheistic religions


Rudolph Otto – The idea of the holy : an inquiry into the non-rational factor in the idea of the divine and its relation to the rational 1923

  • St Peter’s Cave Church, Knisset Mar Semaan Kefa Antioch Turkey –
  • Religion Mural in Lunette  – 1896 Charles Sprague Pearce