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nunimous?

nunimous?

Postby jan » 25 Apr 2008, 05:04

What is the word C.S. Lewis used to describe that eery feeling we get from the supernatural, and in what book did he write this? It's something like nunimous, but I can't find this word anywhere online. Thanks.
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Postby Karen » 25 Apr 2008, 12:52

It's 'numinous'. But it doesn't really mean eerie, rather (as Merriam-Webster puts it), it means:

1) supernatural; mysterious

2) filled with a sense of the presence of divinity

He uses the word in The Problem of Pain, but I'm not sure exactly where.
I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. -- Jorge Luis Borges
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 25 Apr 2008, 15:03

(posted in wrong thread)
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Postby Karen » 25 Apr 2008, 16:36

Stanley Anderson wrote:(posted in wrong thread)


You must have had a numinous experience. :wink:
I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. -- Jorge Luis Borges
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Numinous

Postby Jan » 25 Apr 2008, 18:25

Thanks Karen; hi Stanley.

The discussion of Numinous is in the intro to the Problem of Pain. I wouldn't have thought to look there.

For some reason, I had it in my mind that Numinous was only that eerie feeling associated with a ghostly experience, .."those who have not met this term may be introduced to it by the following....if you were told there is a ghost in the next room, and believed it, you would feel.....what is often called fear, but of a different kind."

Much later he says Numinous is identified as the "awful Presence haunting black mountian-tops and thunderclouds with 'the righteous Lord' who 'loves righteousness.'

I have had a few numinous experiences of the ghostly, but not in a long while, but re-reading The Problem of Pain will be very helpful at this time in my life.
God bless,

Jan
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 25 Apr 2008, 20:51

Karen wrote:
Stanley Anderson wrote:(posted in wrong thread)


You must have had a numinous experience. :wink:


And not only that, I have had numerous experiences too!:-)

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: nunimous?

Postby Paul F. Ford » 28 Apr 2008, 14:59

jan wrote:What is the word C.S. Lewis used to describe that eery feeling we get from the supernatural, and in what book did he write this? It's something like nunimous, but I can't find this word anywhere online. Thanks.


From Companion to Narnia, fifth edition:

NUMINOUS The simultaneous awe and delight felt in the presence of something holy is the content of a numinous experience.1 In the Chronicles, most characters experience the numinous in Aslan’s presence. Their first sight of Aslan in LWW cures the CHILDREN of the mistaken notion (held by all who have not been to Narnia, says Lewis) that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. Caspian has a numinous experience when he realizes that all the STORIES about Old Narnia are true: He feels terror at the thought that the DWARF is “not a man at all,” and delight that “there are real Dwarfs still, and I’ve seen one at last.” When Aslan turns to face the children and TRUMPKIN, he looks so majestic that “they feel as glad as anyone can who feels afraid, and as afraid as anyone can who feels glad.” At Lucy’s first sight of the new constellations in VDT, she is filled “with a mixture of JOY and FEAR.” At the sound of Aslan’s voice, Jill’s fear turns to awe and she is “frightened in rather a different way,” that is, with a fear of the numinous. The depiction of the experience of the numinous that is most natural—in the sense that it is unforced and therefore a good example of Lewis’s craft—is Shasta’s encounter with the Lion. It begins with the fear of being devoured, or of the preternatural, and ends in the “revelation” of the TRINITY and Shasta’s “new and different sort of trembling,” which is also a feeling of gladness. In MN, Digory finds Aslan to be “bigger and more beautiful and more brightly golden and more terrible” than he had thought.”2 At the END OF NARNIA the creatures who pass through the STABLE DOOR and look into Aslan’s face with both love and fear move to Aslan’s right into his COUNTRY. Emeth experiences the numinous in the extravagant CALORMENE fashion, and compares the tenor and beauty of Aslan to the Flaming Mountain of LAGOUR and a rose in bloom.

(LWW VII 36, 16; XII 8, 30; XV 29, 17. PC IV 60, 17; XI 39, 27. VDT XIII 1, 79. HHB XI 36–66, 1–31; XIV 21, 67. SC II 10, 55. LB XIV, XV 6, 35.)
[HWIN; LONGING.]

1 For Lewis’s views on the numinous, see The Problem of Pain, Chapter I, ¶5ff. See also Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy (London: Oxford University Press, 1968), 31ff.
2 See DIGORY, n. 10.
Paul Ford—self-appointed president of the "245-3617 Club" and proud member of the "245-6317 Club"; author of the Companion to Narnia and the Pocket Companion to Narnia.
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Re: nunimous?

Postby splashen » 05 Jun 2008, 16:29

jan wrote:What is the word C.S. Lewis used to describe that eery feeling we get from the supernatural, and in what book did he write this? It's something like nunimous, but I can't find this word anywhere online. Thanks.


I would describe it as a kind of mystical kind of experience.
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Postby Roonwit » 20 Jun 2008, 14:45

Wasn't the term numinous introduced by Rudolf Otto in The Idea of the Holy?
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Postby Karen » 20 Jun 2008, 16:47

According to my OED, the word was first used in a book in 1647.
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Postby john » 20 Jun 2008, 18:24

Answers.com:

The term numinous, based on the Latin numen ("will, the active power of the divine") was coined by Rudolf Otto (1917/1926) to define a "category for the interpretation and evaluation" of nonrational manifestations of the sacred.
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Postby Karen » 20 Jun 2008, 18:55

Who are you going to believe, a website or the Oxford English Dictionary? :wink:

And if you want a website, Dictionary.com says:

nu·mi·nous /ˈnumənəs, ˈnyu-/ [noo-muh-nuhs, nyoo-]
–adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or like a numen; spiritual or supernatural.
2. surpassing comprehension or understanding; mysterious: that element in artistic expression that remains numinous.
3. arousing one's elevated feelings of duty, honor, loyalty, etc.: a benevolent and numinous paternity.
[Origin: 1640–50; < L nūmin- (s. of nūmen) numen + -ous]


I'm perfectly willing to believe that Otto's use of the word made it popular, but he didn't coin it.
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Postby john » 20 Jun 2008, 19:03

Karen wrote:Who are you going to believe, a website or the Oxford English Dictionary? :wink:


Well, as I'm a professional web designer, and not a professional dictionary writer... :grin:
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Postby Sven » 20 Jun 2008, 19:06

But Lewis did use the word following Otto's specific technical definition and usage. When Christian Century asked Lewis for the 10 books most influential to his thought, The Idea of the Holy was one of them.
Rat! he found breath to whisper, shaking. Are you afraid?
Afraid? murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.
Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet -- and yet -- O, Mole, I am afraid!
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
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