ram and goat logo
Klaus Ottmann is a writer, translator, and independent curator. In 2016, Dr. Ottmann was conferred the insignia of Chevalier of France’s Order of Arts and Letters by the French ministry of culture and communication.
His publications include Yves Klein by Himself: His Life and Thought; The Genius Decision: The Extraordinary and the Postmodern Condition; and The Essential Mark Rothko. In 2006, he translated and edited Yves Klein's complete writings, Overcoming the Problematics of Art: The Writings of Yves Klein. In 2010, he edited and translated F. W. J. Schelling’s Philosophy and Religion (1804) and in 2020, he edited and translated Schelling’s Philosophy of Revelation (1842–42) and Related Texts.
cover for Thought Through My Eyes
Writings on Art, 1977–2005
Paperback original, 344 pages, $22
ISBN: 978-0-88214-578-5
A thoughtful, serious-minded and insightfully contemplative distillation.
Wisconsin Bookwatch (September 2006)
cover for The Genius Decision
The Extraordinary and the Postmodern Condition
Paperback original, 216 pages, $22
ISBN: 978-0-88214-592-1
Kindle/Apple Books edition, $9.99
ISBN: 978-0-88214-037-7
The Genius Decision is not an attempt at explaining or predicting genius. Nor is its goal to construct a concept or the concept of genius. Rather, the following should be considered as a horizon of conceptual events that constitute an philosophy of desire within the ethical-aesthetical writings of seven of Western philosophy’s most influential thinkers: Spinoza, Schelling, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Peirce, Wittgenstein, and Heidegger. This postmodern reevaluation of genius suggests that while there is no essentialist quality of genius, the postmodern artist can reach the Extraordinary by way of an active-passive Genius Decision, which is engaged in an activity of failure in its desire to represent the Nonrepresentable.
Ottmann convincingly argues, genius is simply not an innate essential quality. It involves action, risk and failure.
Lincoln Journal Star, January 23, 2005
cover for Color Symbolism
The Eranos Lectures
Paperback original, 336 pages, $26 USD
ISBN: 978-0-88214-554-9
Kindle/Apple Books edition, $9.99
ISBN 978-0-88214-056-8
This revised and expanded edition includes, for the first time in English translation, Gershom Scholem’s paper on “Colors and their Symbolism in Jewish Tradition and Mysticism” and Henry Corbin’s paper on “The Realism and Symbolism of Colors in Shiite Cosmology.”
cover for Alchemy and Kabbalah
Translated by KLAUS OTTMANN
Paperback original, 112 pages, $20
ISBN: 978-0-88214-566-2
Kindle/Apple Books edition, $9.99
ISBN: 978-0-88214-599-0
A groundbreaking text on alchemy by the leading scholar of Jewish mysticism is presented here for the first time in English translation. Scholem looks critically at the connections between alchemy, the Jewish Kabbalah; its christianized varieties, such as the gold- and rosicrucian mysticisms, and the myth-based psychology of C. G. Jung, and uncovers forgotten alchemical roots embedded in the Kabbalah.
Skillfully translated from the original German …, Alchemy and Kabbalah is a classic text on alchemy by a leading scholar of Jewish mysticism, now available in English for the first time …. A serious-minded, in-depth metaphysical scrutiny, especially recommended for college-level students of Judaic theology.
—Oliver Norton, Midwest Book review
cover for Schelling’s Philosophy and Religion
Translated, with an introduction
Paperback original, 112 pages, $20
ISBN: 978-0-88214-593-8
Kindle/Apple Books edition, $9.99
ISBN: 978-0-88214-591-4
For Schelling, Philosophy and Religion represented a new approach to the goal initially set in 1801 with his Representation of My System of Philosophy, the first system of philosophy he had conceived entirely on his own, after having seen “the light in philosophy,” which led him to philosophize, as it were, out of the Absolute itself: “All philosophizing begins, and has always begun, with the idea of the Absolute come alive.” In Philosophy and Religion, Schelling tackled the problem of the manifestation of the finite world and human freedom by evoking Plato and Spinoza, yet by his own admission he did not reach his goal “with complete determinateness” until 1809 when he published his Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom.
Because it is the only work prior to the Philosophical Investigations that discusses the issue of freedom of will, it is regarded as a precursor to Schelling’s 1809 magnum opus on human freedom.
Each of us is compelled by nature to seek an Absolute, even those still wrapped up in finite things, but if we want to fix our thoughts on it, it eludes us. It hovers around us eternally, but, as Fichte has said, it is only there if one does not have it; as soon as one possesses it, it vanishes. It appears before the soul only at the moment when subjective activity joins the objective in unexpected harmony, which because it is unexpected has an advantage over free, desireless rational cognition to manifest itself as happiness, as illumination, or as revelation. But as soon as this harmony is brought about, reasoning sets in, and the apparition takes flight. In this fleeting form, religion—inasmuch as it is also still in the domain of reflective cognition and dividedness—is a mere apparition of God within the soul. In contrast, philosophy is necessarily a higher and, as it were, a more tranquil perfection of the spirit; it is always within the Absolute, with no danger of the Absolute running away from it.
—Schelling, Philosophy and Religion, p. 9
cover for Schelling’s Philosophy of Revelation
and Related Texts
Edited, translated, and with an introduction
Paperback original, 384 pages, $32
ISBN: 978-0-88214-066-7
Kindle/Apple Books edition, $9.99
ISBN: 978-0-88214-080-3
The first complete translation into English language of the 1841-42 lectures on “Philosophy and Revelation” by the German idealist philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775–1854), which until now have been largely neglected in the English-speaking world. Schelling’s “Philosophy of Revelation” was never published during his lifetime. The historically most significant 1841-42 lectures in Berlin exist only in transcriptions, which form the basis of this volume. Translated, edited, and annotated by Klaus Ottmann, Philosophy of Revelation (1841–42) and Related Texts pairs Schelling’s influential lectures with some of the philosopher’s earlier writings and lectures on the subject of philosophy and religion, such as his 1798 text on “Revelation and National Education”; his 1802 Jena lecture “On the Historical Construct of Christianity”; and his 1827 inaugural lecture in Munich.
The transcription of Schelling’s Berlin lectures made by the theologian Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob Paulus and published in 1843 is considered the most complete record of Schelling’s widely anticipated lectures on mythology and revelation given between 1841 and 1842 at the University of Berlin. The lectures were attended by a large audience that including many distinguished names, such as Søren Kierkegaard, Alexander von Humboldt, Friedrich Engels, and Mikhail Bakunin. Word of these lectures traveled as far as New York where a translation of Schelling’s 1841 inaugural lecture was published in 1843 in the Transcendentalist magazine The Dial. However, Paulus’s transcription is not without controversy and errors, thus this edition has been augmented with some of Kierkegaard’s notes of Schelling’s Berlin lectures, taken between late November 1841 and February 3, 1842, as well as with references to Schelling’s posthumously published Philosophy of Revelation, which was based on various lectures given by Schelling in Berlin between 1841 and 1847, to help the comprehension of this often difficult text.