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Catholic Dictionary




A term used by non-Christian philosophers of religion to denote the essentially nonrational and nonmoral; it constitutes what people call "holy." It is composed of two kinds of feelings: awe and self-abasement at the Terrifying Unknown (Mysterium Tremendum) and enchantment (fascinatio), which the unknown induces in everyone who allows himself to be charmed. (Etym. Latin numen, the divine will, divine command.)