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  1. Michael,

    In your online outline of Otto’s Idea of the Holy, Chapter XIV, you refer to Otto’s use of Kant’s a priori. Then you add a parenthetical comment:

    “Kant talks about (presumed) noumena in contrast to the world of phenomena.”

    True, but irrelevant. In Kant, the noumena have nothing to do with a priori knowledge. Don’t know if it’s Otto’s error or your own. If the former, it’s a substantive criticism of his work; if the latter, better just to get rid of the statement entirely.


  2. Alan,

    Thought-provoking comment. Thanks.

    I’d like to mull this one over a bit before replying. In the meantime you might find this interesting. Or maybe not!

    In any event, I’d be curious to hear your reaction to it…

    Oct. 19 – Alan, I’ve been thinking this one over and it seems to be a complicated issue, indeed. Not only is there uncertainty and debate over Kant’s meaning of noumena but he’s also been charged with inconsistency.

    I suppose I was coming out of a Jungian framework, which influenced my somewhat unexamined conceptual ‘leap.’

    Jung says the archetypes themselves are unknowable but the archetypal images are (through representation). But Jung also says that the power of the archetype may be experienced through the numinous. And I’ve always felt that there must be some kind of connection or ‘bleed through’ for archetypal power to be experienced within the psyche.

    In Hinduism, which you probably know, there’s this idea of the unmanifest and manifest aspect of the Brahman. And I think a similar point may be made here. The unmanifest is experienced by the seeker as that which Tagore called the “Surplus” in man. The Surplus is some kind of spiritual perception that there is more to this world than the mere interpretation of sense data.

    However, this framework differs from, say, the Christian view where God is Creator of creation (i.e. noumenal field). And God’s grace, the experience of the Holy Spirit, and so on, differs from an experience of the unmanifest ground as expressed in Hinduism.

    I realize I’m meandering a bit. But my point is that this issue can be viewed from several different angles. And if it’s true that the two words numen and noumena are not liguistically related, this does not necessarily mean that they are not thematically related!

    And I think similar uncertainties and debates could arise with regard to a priori and noumena–that is, whether or not there could be a connection of not.

    At any rate, I thank you again for calling me on this point. I have been linking numen and noumena in footnotes for papers, etc. for quite a few years, I think subconsciously – i.e. not as strong as unconsciously – aware that it is a potentially complex issue, and not really saying so nor taking the time to carefully think about and outline some of these complexities.

    Before changing the comment on the web page in question, I’ll probably still need to think about it more, research a bit more carefully and then modify it.



  3. Utch,

    I have some thing to say about the Vietnamesee government, Please, I want you people to read it on the cnnews. Am an African but i live in Vietnam, The government of vietnam are furatrating black here. Many blacks here dont have a visa but the have the money for extension but the government dont want to extend for any black person. The told all the house owners to chase all the balcks away from there houses and the told the hotel owners not to accept any balck in there hotels and if the see any the any balck person and there house or in the hotel the owner of the place will pay a fine. Now some many black people dont have any place to live. Many peolpe peolpe do sleep on the roads and at the bars. Because the where chased out of there houses and also from there hotels. I want cnnnews to read it so that the world will know what black are surffering here. Thanks

    My email is


  4. […] Otto likens the numinous to Kant’s use of the term a priori. For Otto the numinous “issues from at the deepest foundation of cognitive apprehension that the soul possesses.” This means that the numinous “comes into being in and amid the sensory data and empirical material of the natural world and cannot anticipate or dispense with those, yet is does not arise out of them, but only by their means.” [Kant also makes a debatable distinction between (a) essentially unknowable noumena and (b) the world of phenomena. See discussion at […]


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