Stephen D'Arcy
Huron University At Western
Gottlob Frege (1848-1925) has been called ‘the undisputed father of analytic philosophy’ and ‘the most important logician since Aristotle.’ Even if his impact on philosophy were to extend no further than his decisive influence on leading early twentieth-century thinkers of the stature of Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Rudolf Carnap, that alone would assure him a notable place in the history of modern philosophy. Nevertheless, there are other areas of Frege’s intellectual activity that have largely escaped the attention of his commentators. One of these is his seldom-noticed attempt late in life to write about political theology. In this reconstruction of Frege’s view, based on a context-sensitive close reading of his fragmentary writing on theology, I document Frege’s commitment to a highly politicized conception of theology’s public role. This conception is infused with the ideology of Germany’s Far-Right völkisch (pan-German ethnic-nationalist) movement and steeped in the political strife of early Weimar-era Germany. Frege’s interest in theology was evidently rooted not so much in conventionally spiritual concerns as in the decidedly innerweltlich desire to help turn the tide in German politics in favor of the ultranationalist Far Right. His theology was, accordingly, a political theology of völkisch, antisemitic, and anti-socialist nationalism.
Keywords Frege  Antisemitism  Theology  Historical Jesus  Nationalism
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