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Schleiermacher and Otto on religion : a reappraisal

Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
  • Bl Religion
  • Bd Speculative Philosophy
  • Religious Science


An interpretation of the work of Schleiermacher and Otto recently offered by Andrew Dole, according to which these two thinkers differed over the extent to which religion can be explained naturalistically, and over the sense in which the supernatural can be admitted, is examined and refuted. It is argued that there is no difference between the two thinkers on this issue. It is shown that Schleiermacher's claim that a supernatural event is at the same time a natural event does not invite, but rather forecloses the possibility of, a naturalistic explanation of the event. It is further demonstrated that Otto, like Schleiermacher, denied the existence of supernatural events interpreted as events that infringe the laws of nature.

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