John Wood Oman

1860-1939. Presbyterian theologian. Born in Orkney, and educated at Edinburgh and Heidelberg, he became minister at Alnwick, Northumberland, after which (1907) he joined the staff of Westminster College, Cambridge, where he was later principal (1925-35). He developed an early interest in Schleiermacher,* who held that religious experience is self- authenticating. Like Schleiermacher, Oman stressed feeling, defining religion as the direct feeling of the “supernatural.” He did not mean the miraculous, but simply a wider environment than physical nature. This view is similar to that of R. Otto, who emphasized the feeling of the “awesome holy.” Of his thirteen books the best known is The Natural and the Supernatural (1931). His obscurities, real or apparent, his inconsistencies, and his overindulgence in generalities do not make for easy reading, but sympathizers with German philosophy claim to plumb new depths of meaning in his carefully construed sentences.