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Wittgenstein and Judaism

A Triumph of Concealment


Ranjit Chatterjee

This radical new reading suggests that Wittgenstein is best understood as a covert Jewish thinker in times of lethal anti-Semitism. The argument first establishes that there was one Wittgenstein, not an «early» and a «later». By looking afresh at the role of the Bible, God, Augustine, Otto Weininger, and science, among other things, in Wittgenstein’s thought, Ranjit Chatterjee shows how well Wittgenstein matches with Jewish tradition because he had internalized talmudic and rabbinic modes of thought. An abundance of evidence is brought forward of Wittgenstein’s Jewish self-identification from his writings and from remarks noted in conversations by his closest friends. Written in an engaging style, this powerful and unexpected understanding of Wittgenstein includes a chapter on his relation to postmodernism (Levinas and Derrida), a personal epilogue, an appendix on his descent, and a full bibliography.