The Idea of the Holy

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OUP USA, 1958 - Religion - 232 pages
3 Reviews
Since the English translation first appeared in 1923, Rudolf Otto's volume has established itself as a classic in the field of religious philosophy. It offers an in-depth inquiry into the non-rational factor in the idea of the divine and its relation to the rational.

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User Review  - jclemence - LibraryThing

I decided to read The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto when I saw that it was on C.S. Lewis' top-ten list of books that influenced him, reasoning that if it was good enough for Lewis, it was probably ... Read full review

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Rudolf Otto's "Idea of the Holy" is, indeed, a classic piece of religious philosophy from the early 20th century. Unfortunately, Otto is not widely read or studied in US classrooms today--especially at the graduate level. In part it could be because John Harvey's translation is the only English translation available of "Das Heilige," and it is absolutely atrocious. Harvey's translation pays no attention to Otto's blatant use of relative pronouns, extended adjectival phrases and the passive voice. When you read this translation you cannot trust that it accurately conveys what Otto put down in words. Instead, I would suggest looking for a good commentary, but make sure that the authors are translating the text for themselves. Otherwise, brush up on your German and bust out a dictionary cause you will need it if you want to translate Otto on you own. (Otto deserves at least three stars, and probably four, but Harvey deserves no more than two.) 

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About the author (1958)

Aleksandr Ostrovsky was the nineteenth century's major playwright, due not only to the generally high quality of his plays but also to their large number (about 50). His work, primarily prose rather than verse, falls into two periods. The first, pre-1861, includes dramas that deal with an area of Russian life Ostrovsky knew quite intimately: the society of merchants and of lower government officials. His treatment of this social sphere was quite varied, for Ostrovsky was at times attracted to and at times disgusted by his characters' milieu, attitudes, and attributes. His masterpiece from this period is The Storm (1860), in which social themes provide the background and the motivation for a tragic love story. After 1861 Ostrovsky devoted himself in part to historical topics and to plots derived from folklore as, for example, in his masterpiece, The Snow Maiden (1873). Other plays deal with the gentry in the changed, post-emancipation Russia. Some are staples of the Russian theatrical repertoire.

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