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Rudolf Otto, The East And Religious Inclusivism

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Chapter Summary

Rudolf Otto is most familiar to scholars of religion as the author of The Idea of the Holy, a work which exercised an immense influence in the inter-war years. Less well-known are Otto's later writings on Eastern traditions and his efforts, both theoretical and practical, to fashion a new religious incluvism and a spirit of harmonious cooperation amongst the world's faiths. This chapter focuses on Otto's encounters with Hinduism and Buddhism, and on his work in the field of comparative mysticism. It also draws attention to his efforts to form the Religiöser Menschheitbund which aimed to bring together representatives of all the world's religions to work towards international peace, social justice and moral progress. Finally, the chapter foregrounds Otto's reconciliation of Christian theology and religious universalism. It argues that Otto's ideas have a new pertinence and urgency in a post-modernist world torn by all manner of inter-religious tensions and misunderstandings.

Keywords: religious inclusivism; Rudolf Otto; The Idea of the Holy

10.1163/ej.9789004178809.iv-375.89
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