Söderblom's Argument For Understanding Religions

analytical Essay
475 words
475 words

Why was it significant that men like Söderblom and Otto argued for understanding religions on their own terms?
The significance of Söderblom's and Otto's work stems from how they approached religion with earnest and the methods used for comparing the various forms of religion. Unlike previous comparativists, both men sought to understand the various religions of the world on their own terms. Th purpose of this method was to reach out and attempt to seize the "richness" found within them. In doing so, they hoped to better grasp their forms as well as be able to explain them in a manner that could be recognizable to any religious adherent. However,this method does have its flaws. It does not allow for the addressing of elements that a religions …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how söderblom and otto argued for understanding religions on their own terms. both men sought to seize the "richness" found within them. however, this method has its flaws.
  • Explains otto's idea of the holy, the numinous, and how it differs from the 19th century theories.
  • Explains otto's concept of ideograms, which allowed for a false image that could temporally replace 'ineffable' concepts.

In order to better understand these daily adherents, Otto theorized that symbols, metaphors, and figurative language were possible methods for conveying what word cannot. Otto would unify these various tools to develop the concept of ideograms. The ideogram allowed for a sort of false image that could temporally replace a concept that is too difficult to explain or wholly ineffable. Why this is important when speaking about religion is that the very concept of religion itself can be ineffable. Various depictions of gods and goddesses found throughout history range from simplistically mundane to stunningly incomprehensible. Take for instance Hinduism and Daoism. There are an astonishing amount of deities found within Hinduism and many have characteristics that are almost impossible to fully realize. With the help of ideograms, however, we can at the very least gain some insight as to whether the god is something within the realm of man or beyond it. With respect to Daoism, ideograms allow for the image of the dao to be better understood. The Dao is permanent, nameless, and exist entirely within a void of nothingness. It is empty, formless, and smooth for its emptiness gives it usefulness, its lack of distinction gives it possibilities and its smoothness prevents complete comprehension. The use of ideograms help make it intelligible through understanding specific areas and characteristics of the Dao that have no

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