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What did Wittgenstein have to say about religion? Where, and when, did he say what he said (and not necessarily wrote) about religion? These questions, though not moot, have spare and distinctive answers. For, as opposed to his writings on mathematics, which, as we now know, took up a massive amount (almost or over half) of his total output, his writings on religion can be easily pinpointed in certain paragraphs and pages. That is to say — if one identifies writings on religion as places where religion (or religious ritual, or god) is mentioned explicitly, then the total “religious” output may seem meager indeed. There is, undoubtedly, another way of locating religious writings, a more amorphous and evasive way of interpretation which, even within its amorphousness, can still be construed either more narrowly or more widely. Narrowly — by simply adding the concept of the mystical and the spiritual into our talk of religion, thereby broadening Wittgenstein’s field of talk about religion to include his talk of the mystical and the spiritual, and inserting interpretation of the mystical into interpretation of the religious. We have encountered the mystical before, while investigating the limits of language (and thought), while addressing the ethical, while speaking of that which can only be shown. And we will encounter the religious, in various interpretations, under that same manner of analysis as parallel to, included in, or inclusive of the mystical.
KeywordsReligious Belief Religious Practice Standard Reading Religious Language Interpretive Work
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