Wittgenstein on High Street evangelists

by Kim on April 29, 2010

Wittgenstein died on this day, April 29th, in 1951. Though he was not a confessing Christian, one can only describe the Socrates of the twentieth cetury as a seriously devout soul with a refined religious sensibility and an acute eye for the practice of faith. In Recollections of Wittgenstein (1984), Rush Rees, who taught here at Swansea University, recalls an incident in Cambridge. As they passed a tub-thumping evangelist in the city-centre, Wittgenstein remarked: “If he really meant what he was shouting, he wouldn’t be speaking in that tone of voice.”


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }


Paul Martin 04.29.10 at 4:43 pm

Is this suggesting that the love of religion can leave too little love for other people? If so I think there’s a bit of truth there.


Kim 04.29.10 at 5:31 pm

I think Wittgenstein is simply saying that if you proclaim grace, you shoud speak graciously instead of shouting the odds, which is the form that most city-centre patchwork preaching, accosting and aggresive, seems to take.


Trevor Jennings 04.30.10 at 8:44 am

I guess its like a guy shaking his partner and shouting, “I love you.” Would he be doing that if he really loved her, if he knew what love really was?
“…just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” John 13:34

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