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 EtymologyThe word numinous is derivative from the Classical Latin word numen.
 Rudolf OttoOtto's use of the term as referring to a characteristic of religious experience was influential among intellectuals of the subsequent generation. For example, numinous as understood by Otto was a frequently quoted concept in the writings of Carl Jung and C. S. Lewis. The notion of the numinous and the wholly other were also central to the religious studies of Mircea Eliade.
Mysterium tremendum is described in The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley in the following terms:
The literature of religious experience abounds in references to the pains and terrors overwhelming those who have come, too suddenly, face to face with some manifestation of the mysterium tremendum. In theological language, this fear is due to the in-compatibility between man's egotism and the divine purity, between man's self-aggravated separateness and the infinity of God.
 Non-religious usageThe idea is not necessarily a religious one: noted atheists Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have discussed the importance of separating the numinous from the religious.
- Huxley, Aldous (2004). The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell. Harper Collins. pp. 55. http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Doors_of_Perception_and_Heaven_and_H.html?id=3t7_Df4e-6YC&redir_esc=y.
- James A. Herrick (2008). Scientific mythologies: how science and science fiction forge new religious beliefs. InterVarsity Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-8308-2588-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=Y6TKkSFRp3YC&lpg=PA25&dq=Carl%20Sagan%20contact%20numinous&pg=PA25#v=onepage&q=Carl%20Sagan%20contact%20numinous&f=false.
- "The Four Horsemen", Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, September