Religious Belief and Jewish Identity in Wittgenstein's Philosophy

Philosophy Research Archives 13:225-243 (1987)
Abstract
This paper contrasts the religiosity ihai is expressed by the mysticism of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, which moves away from ihe traditional “narratives” of revealed religion, with Wittgenstein’s later expressions of religiosity, which endorse those “narratives” and take place within them. The paper discusses the importance of this development in Wittgenstein’s religious experience in relation to the developments in Wittgenstein’s philosophy. Both religious and philosophical developments are placed in the context of Wittgenstein’s self-directed anti-Semitism, which is interpreted in terms of the anomalies of Jewish assimilation and acculturation in the inhospitable environment of European anti-Semitism. The outcome is an account of Wittgenstein as a historical figure, which can shed light on many aspects of his philosophy. To gain credibility, the account proceeds by means of a close exegesis of some Wittensteinian passages that were not adequately explained before
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