Just to explore a minor point I neglected in RUDOLF, MEET THEODORE: I don't think I was sufficiently clear on the common ground between the two.
In the paradigms Gaster formulates in order to deduce his categories of *plerosis* and *kenosis,* he takes the basic view that ritual exists to mirror a society's views as to whether the forces of life are on the ascent or in decline. A ritual need not be a full-fledged story, as a myth almost always is; a ritual can be a simple recital of the proper acts one takes at a critical juncture. But any ritual does depend on the idea that a society-- usually represented by a protagonist or group of protagonists-- must either invite into themselves the energies one associates with life (plerosis), or else expel the energies one associates with death, or at least life in a worn-out condition (kenosis).
Rudolf Otto's analyses with regard to the two different manifestations of "the Numinous" are not as overt in implying an "energy exchange" between the Numinous and the subject who beholds it. Otto is, based on my limited reading, more focused on the internal response of the subject. I hope to read THE IDEA OF THE HOLY fully in near future, but it would seem that a few authors, among them Carl Jung and C.S. Lewis, have been able to configure Otto's dichotomy of responses-- the *mysterium tremendum* and the *mysterium fascinans*-- so as to apply them to the sphere of human art and storytelling. Given that I've already stated my tenet that literature and religion are opposed yet intimately interelated pheomena, I would tend to see that in literature the reader is more or less in the same position as the protagonist in Gaster's paradigm: one who must formulate either a sympathetic or antipathetic relation to the "energies" he beholds in the narrative.
Some of What I've Read Lately
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