Despite the exciting consequences of the later Wittgenstein's notion of language-game for theology in general, one discipline centered on language – exegesis and biblical theology – has remained largely unaffected by this advance. I here show that describing biblical language as a language-game not only enhances our understanding of biblical texts; it also explodes a long-term impasse separating the interpretation from the ‘actualization’ of sacred texts. Insights taken from the notion of a language-game may, as with form of life and grammar, emerge as central building blocks for reformulating the postulates of biblical theology. 2


Unlike the case with systematic theology,3 neither mainstream Protestant nor Catholic exegetes have made use of developments in the philosophy of language over the past century; this in spite of seminal developments linked to philosophers such as Paul Ricoeur, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Jacques Derrida.4 The reason is that traditional exegesis cannot address questions of both the meaning and application of texts in one and the same step. The premise of the exegete trained in the historical critical method is that an ‘objective’– i.e. timeless – interpretation, built on the conscious intention of the historical author,5 necessarily precedes any ‘subjective’ actualization of the text here and now.6

This paper aims to demonstrate that Ludwig Wittgenstein's proposal to image language as a form of life (cf. PI 19),7 fill this lacuna by, first, arguing that the search for meaning cannot be reduced to a reconstruction of a mental process (PI 154),8 and secondly, preparing the ground for understanding the biblical text within the context of a language-game (or language–games) (PI 7 & 23). Recently similar approaches have been shown to be of considerable importance in sketching proposals for new hermeneutical models of religious language and theology.9

Wittgenstein maintains that all distinguishable speech activities are embedded in a form of life, and therefore are best understood as language-games (PI 23).10 In point of fact, the recognition of a multiplicity of literary forms in the New Testament11 provided the foundation for Martin Dibelius' and Rudolf Bultmann's epoch-making advances in literary forms in the Synoptic Gospels.12 For this reason alone, one might assume that the form-critical premises of contemporary biblical theology, already recognizing and distinguishing the various literary genres of the New Testament, would encourage the biblical scholar to appreciate literary forms as recognizable language-games. (Bultmann's literary forms, like apothegm, logia, prophetic words, community rules, and the prominent ego-eimi sayings, will of course largely coincide with Jesus' language-games).

Classical form criticism was primarily employed to recover the most primitive form of redacted biblical texts, and to discriminate among the Sitz im Leben of texts used in various traditions. Consideration of the form of life of any given biblical text can, however, go beyond the discrimination of levels of tradition. Language-games are embedded in a form of life, i.e. in the non-linguistic activities of a real or fictitious community. These forms of life sustain the use, and therefore the meaning, of these language-games through the course of history (PI 18). Thus, imagining or understanding a language implies imagining its form of life (PI 7 & 19). This means that the exegete could assume that, for example, a particular saying of Jesus placed in different Gospel contexts is embedded in and refers to one shared form of life, or similar forms of life, which may be extracted from a grammatical investigation of the text in question (PI 496).

The notion of language-game can thus serve as a new hermeneutical tool in studying literary forms; specifically to address the problem of their interpretation and actualization through an attempt to understand the forms of life underlying the language-games used by Jesus.13 At the junction of synchrony and diachrony, the reader of biblical texts is not only confronted with meaning, but concurrently challenged to participate actively in the relevant use of language, and thus its form of life.

The notion of language-game applied to the study of sacred scripture, and more specifically to the New Testament, may thus lead to a reformulation of biblical theology in which the meaning of the text and its significance for the faith-life of the reader are joined harmoniously. It is thus not simply the present context that determines the contemporary significance of biblical texts, but – more deeply – the analogous forms of life and the theological use of the text in the past and present. This approach thus allows for an interpretation of sacred scripture that is not only relevant to addressing contemporary issues, but, unlike the historical critical method, remains faithful to the nature of sacred scripture as the enduring word of God.14



Whereas the early Wittgenstein adheres to an empirical theory of meaning (NB on the basis of a one-to-one correlation between words and the world (TLP 1.1; 2.18)17, the later philosopher revises his position by considering what is involved in understanding a mathematical formula (PI 146–155). The later Wittgenstein had come to realize that understanding cannot be seen as purely mental activity because such activity may arise only with the capacity to continue the process of thinking. Wittgenstein concludes:

Try not to think of understanding as a ‘mental process’ at all. – For that is the expression which confuses you. But ask yourself: in what sort of case, in which kind of circumstances, do we say, ‘Now I know how to go on,’ when, that is, the formula has occurred to me? –

In the sense in which there are processes (including mental processes) which are characteristic of understanding, understanding is not a mental process (PI 154).

Wittgenstein realizes that Gottlob Frege's celebrated distinction between the sense and reference of words fails to notice yet another possibility. He notes that, ‘a chess piece apparently does not have a referent or claim for truth. It can, however, and must, be used in the game itself’.18 Wittgenstein claims that philosophers in general have removed language from its everyday use and posited a (metaphysical) meaning without, however, having tested to see whether words are actually used in this way in the language-game that is their original home (PI 116).19

The Concept of the Language- Game

Wittgenstein first introduces the concept of language-games in the course of his investigation of a non-essentialist notion of meaning in The Blue Book:

I shall in the future again and again draw our attention to what I shall call language-games. These are ways of using signs simpler than those in which we use the signs of our highly complicated everyday language. Language-games are the forms of language – with which a child begins to make use of words (BB 17).20

Beginning his more systematic treatise on language in the Philosophical Investigations by comparing the function of words with the function of tools, Wittgenstein suggests: ‘Think of the tools in a tool-box: there is a hammer, pliers, a saw, a screw-driver, a rule. A glue-pot, glue, nails and screws. The functions of words are as diverse as the functions of these objects’ (PI 11). The division of linguistic units in the tool-box analogy allows the philosopher to conclude that language is a complex ‘system of language-games,’ i.e. the whole array of the use of words and what playfully surrounds that use. In this way, playing language-games is part of our way of life. Moreover, our life – our culture, society etc. – is constituted by language-games which exist side by side in great variety and multiplicity. Language-games, according to Wittgenstein, are a way of life, or an activity that enables us to master our social lives.

Indeed, there is an irreducible multiplicity of language-games that cannot be confined to a single context, and thus to one essence that would exactly define to what meaning any given unit of language points.21 Wittgenstein reflects:

But how many kinds of sentences are there? Say assertion, question, and command? – There are countless kinds: countless different kinds of use of what we call ‘symbols’, ‘words’, ‘sentences’. And this multiplicity is not something fixed, given once for all; but new types of language, new language-games, as we may say, come into existence, and others become obsolete and get forgotten. (We can get a rough picture of this from the changes in mathematics).

Here the term ‘language-game’ is meant to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is a part of activity, or a form of life (PI 23).

There are three important elements of the language-game model: 1) the rules; 2) the grammar, and; 3) the point of each game. All language-games follow rules; no game can exist without rules. Wittgenstein points out that a chess player who does not follow the rules is, in fact, no longer playing chess. The rules of chess are explicit, as well as implicit. The general rule-guided use of language is expressed in its grammar. According to Wittgenstein, grammar is the set of rules of a language that describes the use of its signs, but – in rejection of his earlier picture theory of language – does not explain them (PI 496). Investigations of language are grammatical investigations. The task of true Philosophy, therefore, is to conduct grammatical investigations instead of metaphysical inquiries.

Not unlike modern linguistics,22 Wittgenstein distinguishes between a surface-grammar and a depth-grammar, though he only indicates their difference (PI 664). Listening to the words of language and studying its rules only shows its grammatical surface. At the deeper grammatical level, however, significant differences in the meaning of language may appear. Depth-grammar refers to the implicit rules, the philosophical consequences and premises, and the conditions for successfully playing the language-game. Wittgenstein strictly distinguishes between grammatical and empirical investigations as carried out in the social sciences.

In his famous Zettel, the Philosopher writes: ‘You can't hear God speak to someone else, you can hear him only if you are being addressed – That is a grammatical remark’ (Z 717).23 Here Wittgenstein offers the key to a grammatical view of biblical hermeneutics.24 Grammatical rules, however, remain to a certain degree arbitrary. Although linguistic interests are connected to behavioral interests, this does not justify denoting something with one word only. Sometimes reasons can be given for cultural rules, sometimes not – this is the way we live; that is life. Wittgenstein compares the rules of a language-game to signposts (PI 85). Signposts do not determine directions, but must be read and interpreted. The accurate use of signposts, however, does not rest on their right or wrong interpretation, but on the fact that one has leaned to follow them. This is a practical activity.25

Games not only have rules, but a point as well, which cannot be found solely in its rules. One can understand the rules of a game, but not get the point of the game. The point of a game can only be grasped by playing it (PI 142). What winning or losing a game is cannot be learned by studying its rules, but by observing people playing, and by playing along with them.26


Approaching language as a game, one must pose the question of the meaning of the 1) rules, 2) grammar and 3) points of some of the most vital language-games of Jesus found in the New Testament.


Language-games have constitutive and pragmatic rules. The former stem from the mathematical notion of a calculus, while the latter come from the actual playing behavior of a human person (PI 23).27 Rules may be implicit or explicit. Pragmatic rules are to a certain degree arbitrary; they are determined by convention. The entire set of rules of a language-game constitutes its context, which can be viewed as the culture of a language-game. The context of a language-game stands in direct relation to its understanding and the understanding of persons using this language-game (PI 199, also PI 223). Following the rules leads to repeatable activities constituting a praxis,28 from which a general use of rules can be deduced (PI 202). The success or failure of a language-game is therefore not only dependent on the proper following of its rules but, in equal measure, on the careful recognition and appreciation of its culture. In the end, the right or wrong use of a language-game can only be realized and judged within its culture and praxis.

An interesting example found in the New Testament is the language-game of Jesus that distinguishes the right use of Sabbath law from a wrong one represented by the practice of the Pharisees (Mt 12:1–13). According to Jesus, the Sabbath must always be understood and used in view of its original meaning and use, i.e. translating God's concrete love for his people into actions that inspired the Hebrews to leave their oppressors in the pursuit of God's Promised Land. (cf. Dn 5:15).29 The Sabbath, then, historically marks the reality of God's active presence to those who are in danger of missing the fruits of this promise (cf. Ex 23:10–13; Lev 25:1–7; Dn 15:1–18).

Jesus reaffirms this original use of the Sabbath (cf. Lk 4), thereby confronting and challenging those who misuse this language-game, reducing its point to absurdity (cf. Jn 5:10; Mk 3:2 par.). The Sabbath, understood and used correctly, shall never be evoked without referring directly to God and to God's – and consequently Christ's – love for his chosen people (Mk 2:27; 3:2; Lk 13:15–16).30


The grammar of a language-game refers to the totality of its rules (PI 496). Wittgenstein's grammatical investigations carried out on the syntactic level of language moved into depth-grammatical investigations (PI 664). On this level, the right or wrong use of language leads to its sense or nonsense (PI 464). Grammatical investigations leave the ground of a mere linguistic analysis and enter the realm of philosophical investigations. On this level, one discovers that sentences like ‘… the Lord himself gives all good things’ (Tobit 4:19) and ‘… a man entrusts to [his servants] his property’ (Mat 25:14), though they sound superficially similar, at a depth-grammatical level have different meanings and consequences. Depth-grammar follows a logic that is different from that of the surface-grammar.31 Grammatical investigations pose a challenge, since they cause the rules that are implicit to a language-game to become explicit (PI 143), whereupon the connection of language and its form of life becomes manifest.

An example of a language-game of Jesus for which grammatical investigations are of major significance are the I-am logia found in the Gospel of John (Jn 6:35.48; 8:12; 10:7.9; 10:11.14; 11:25; 14: 6; 15:15). The philosophical consequences of understanding Jesus as the resurrection and life (Jn 11:25) are inseparably linked with faith in the incarnation (Jn 1:14 [Ex 3:14]) and in particular the way of following and imitating Jesus exclusively, which is called for in all the Gospels (for example Mt 10:39 par. and Jn 12:20).32 Understanding the incarnation, however, is only possible insofar as the evangelists have ‘placed the person of Christ in a form of life that is identical for an understanding at first hand. The entire life of Christ is a stunning ‘I understand’ uttered to those who stand at the greatest distance.’33


The aspect of the language-game that is most important for biblical theology is its point. ‘The point isn't the word, but its meaning, and you think of the meaning as a thing of the same kind as the word, though also different from the word. Here the word, there the meaning’ (PI 120). The point of a language-game cannot simply be deduced from its explicit rules. It is connected with the dimension that is not accessible to rules, but that shows a relation of the participants to their social practices. The point of a language-game is seen in implications which can only be found within the game, therefore presupposing the possibility of gaining a new inner perspective on it. To understand the point of a language-game requires participating in it. Understanding the point is therefore only possible through playing.

This insight is of importance for religious language. As shown above, Wittgenstein demonstrated in Z 171 that a person addressed by God is ipso facto drawn within this God-language-game and its form of life. Such participation is shown for Wittgenstein as the form of life of the language-game directly influencing the form of life of the person addressed (PI 241, LC 1). Any hearing and understanding of a language-game therefore automatically becomes a call for definite action following the form of life inherent to the particular language-game.

In this connection, the question about the development and initiation of new language-games turns out to be of major importance. Since new rules can be implemented at any time, the concept of a creation of the point of a language-game encounters conceptual difficulties. About all we can say is that the point of a game surfaces and gains clarity whenever a new language-game is played and comes to occupy a role in the social life of its players. A new form of life is always introduced by a new language-game (PI 224), while an innovative understanding of an existing language-game follows upon a new form of life. This, in turn, means that new aspects of a language-game emerge always from existing contexts and language-games, and new games always result from already existing games.

The far-reaching consequences of the concept of point are seen most clearly in what is perhaps Jesus' most important language-game, the parables. While the commandment to neighbor-love is seen clearly as the moral (rule) in the parable of the lost sheep (Lk 15:3–6), this game simultaneously urges the implementation of this moral with a certain urgency and risk. It is the point of this parable to urge the realization of charitas in new and innovative ways.34

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Mt 25:1–13) is the example par excellence that the point of a language-game cannot be recognized from its surface grammar.35 At first glance the explicit moral of this parable is that one has to await the coming of Christ in religious vigilance (Mt 25:13), while the implicit moral of this parable exhorts one to have, at all times, enough oil (i.e. accomplished good deeds) to enter into the eschatological banquet with the Lord. But what is the point of this parable? Taking a closer look reveals that the foolish virgins in this parable-language-game – like the lost sheep – are faced with a risk of losing salvation. Only a positive response by the wise virgins to their plea to share their oil could save the foolish virgins from such a loss. In participating in this game, one clearly sees the need and the shortfall of the foolish virgins, and will try to help them out of their predicament (cf. Mt 25: 31–45). Playing along in this parable brings into the open the true point of this and – it has to be assumed – all parables; namely to see and hear new things (cf. Mt 13:16) that call for a radically new way of life.

A similar observation can be made for the parable of the talents (Mt 25,14–30). Whereas the explicit moral of this parable calls Christians from idleness to action and the multiplication of the talents given them by God, its implicit moral warns that anxiety and inactivity will be met by severe judgment from God, resulting in the sure loss of salvation.

Only by entering into the language-game of this parable, however, is one able to see its point. It is the worry about losing the one and only talent given him by the master that prevents the slave from courageously trading it (Mt 25:25). This anxiety, however, is absent from the slave who was given two talents, and indeed could not be found if one were given the enormous sum of five talents. Realizing that possessing only one talent might induce fear of losing this rather paltry amount (cf. Mt 25:21.23) suggests that the servant with the five talents should share at least one of his talents with his anxious co-worker. In this way he still remains the wealthiest in the group, but all will now be able to meet the master's expectation and more deeply, have confidence of reaching salvation.

This line of reasoning is confirmed in the eschatological parable that follows both that of the wise and foolish virgins and of the talents (Mt 25:31–46). What distinguishes those who will be saved from those who are lost is their ability to see Christ in their fellow human beings who need help. Without doubt, this is the point of Mt 25:1–13 & 14–30. Seeing Christ in the virgins who failed to bring enough oil, and in the servant who is too anxious to appreciate his talent and to act accordingly, is the point of Jesus' language-games; this alone gains us entry into the kingdom of heaven.


Describing the language-games of Jesus in this way not only bridges the gap between interpretation and application of texts; it also signals a fundamental turn from a form-critical to a grammatical investigation of biblical texts, beginning with an exhaustive cataloguing of the various language-games played, modified, or inaugurated by Jesus. An investigation of Jesus' language-games will not be limited to a description of subjective theories of action on the basis of individual games, but will simultaneously lead to a comprehensive formulation of a biblical theology,36 since grammar in general ‘tells what kind of object anything is …’ (PI 373). The essence of the New Testament is expressed by the grammar of Jesus' language-games (cf. PI 371).

Such an investigation must lead in due course to an investigation of the family resemblance of Jesus' language-games in their individual grammatical form (PI 65). Here the differentiation between the surface grammar and their depth-grammar is again of great importance (PI 664). Depth-grammatical resemblances between Jesus' language-games shed light on the worldview underlying the New Testament; they are thus indicative of the ‘place’ where Jesus' language-games are played (PI 669 & 667). This in turn elucidates the form of life each language-game intends.

A worldview, or picture of the world, consists for Wittgenstein of one's fundamental convictions, amounting to a mythology (OC 95).37 One does not have a worldview because one has ascertained its truthfulness (OC 162). A worldview is rather the inherited background against which one distinguishes right from wrong (OC 92). The sentences, or language-games describing this worldview, can neither be empirically verified (OC 162), nor proven (OC 164), but they explain the why of one's actions (PI 217). Worldviews, like faith in the gospel, are passed on by persuasion (OC 262), and their acceptance is best understood as a conversion.

For an understanding of Jesus' language-games, an analogous understanding of their worldview and the general form of life resulting from it is indispensable. Jesus calls to repentance and announces the nearness of the kingdom of God (Mk 1:15). This has consequences for the general form of life in the faith of a believer; because it is presupposed that evil is banned from heaven (Lk 10:18), everything that opposes the reign of God on earth can also be conquered. (Lk 10:17). On the basis of this worldview, the possibility of a life following the newly indicated will of God, i.e. a genuine Christian form of life, can be envisioned. Despite adverse circumstances, a Christian in this world can harvest plenty (Mk 4:1–9 par.), live a life worth living (Mk 4:26–29), even earn a decent salary (Mt 20:1–16), and find salvation through actions resulting directly from his faith in Jesus the Christ (Mt 25:31–46).38


In sum, this paper has attempted to show that the concept of language-game in general, as well as its concrete characteristics and attributes, can be of substantial help in formulating new foundations of a biblical theology of the New Testament. The final goal of a biblical theology on the basis of Wittgenstein's language-game model is to argue and demonstrate a new way of understanding the words and deeds of Jesus in the Gospels, at all times preserving the unity of language and life, and along the way avoiding a separation of the meaning of texts and their significance for readers of different times and cultures. The correct grammatical use of a text simultaneously discloses both its meaning and the form of life inherent in it, which all readers – or competent ‘players’– are then called to realize.


  1. 1 This paper has been revised and reworked for publication by Dr. John Yocum, fellow at Greyfriars College, Oxford University, and Prof. of Theology at Loyola School of Theology, Quezon City, Philippines.

  2. 2 The author presented a similar paper on this topic at the 27th International Wittgenstein Symposium; ‘Die Bedeutung des Sprachspiels für eine Neufassung biblischer Theologie: Die Sprachspiele Jesu,’ in Experience and Analysis, Proceedings of the 27th International Wittgenstein Symposium, August 8 to 14, 2004 Kirchberg (Austria), Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, 206–208.

  3. 3 Fergus Kerr, Theology after Wittgenstein (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1997). D.Z. Phillips, ‘On Giving Practice its Due: A Reply,’ Religious Studies 31 (121/1993), pp. 121. 127. Ignace D'hert, Wittgenstein's Relevance for Theology (Bern and Frankfurt/M.: Herbert Lang, 1975).

  4. 4 Among many others, Paul Ricoeur, The Rule of Metaphor: Multi-Disciplinary Studies in the Creation of Meaning in Language, trans. Robert Czerny with Kathleen McLaughlin and John Costello, S. J. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975/8); Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1976); Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences: Essays on Language, Action and Interpretation, ed., trans. John B. Thompson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Time and Narrative, 3 vols. trans. Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984, 1985, 1988 81983, 1984, 1985]); Lectures on Ideology and Utopia, ed., trans. George H. Taylor (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985); From Text to Action: Essays in Hermeneutics II, trans. Kathleen Blamey and John B. Thompson (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1991 [1986]).Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, translation from the 2nd German Edition (London: Sheed and Ward, 21985). Jacques Derrida, Limited (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern Univ. Press, 1988); Spurs/Éperons, trans. Barbara Harlow (Chicago: Univ. of. Chicago Press, 1978).

  5. 5 More than two hundred years ago, Jean Alphonse Turrentini (1671–1737) asserted that Holy Scripture presupposes human authors and addressees capable of the use of reason, and therefore, able to understand its truths in the natural light of reason. Reason and revelation, both authored by God, cannot contradict themselves. Hence, Holy Scripture must solely be interpreted according to the measure of reason. Those passages of the Bible for which this is impossible must not be considered divinely inspired. The true sense of scripture is rooted in the mind of the sacred authors, and not in the truths and dogma controlled by the contemporary church. On these premises Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768–1834) requires hermeneutics to be a universally intelligible theory of knowledge. Any psychological understanding of scripture needs to be grounded in the knowledge of the life of its authors and the fate of its original hearers. The exegete's task is foremost a historical-critical enterprise. The text is a window through which to scrutinize the author and, by way of him, historical actuality. The historian and philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey (1837–1911) takes Schleiermacher's assertion that the highest hermeneutical aim must be to understand the biblical author better than he understood himself5 to the postulates of higher criticisms, which in due course developed into the various methods of historical-critical exegesis. Cf. Peter Stuhlmacher, Vom Verstehen des Neuen Testamentes. Eine Hermeneutik. Grundrisse zum Neuen Testament. Das Neue Testament Deutsch. Ergänzungsreihe 6 (Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1979), p. 117. Turrentini is quoted here from W. G. Kümmel, Das Neue Testament. Geschichte der Erforschung seiner Probleme (21970), pp. 65ff. F. D. E. Schleiermacher, ‘Grammatical and Technical Interpretation. Part I: Grammatical Interpretation. XIV. 5’, in Kurt Mueller-Vollmer, ed. The Hermeneutics Reader. Texts of the German Tradition from the Enlightenment to the Present (Oxford: Blackwell, 1985), p. 87. Wilhelm Dilthey, ‘The Understanding of Other Persons and Their Life-Expressions,’ in Vollmer, The Hermenutics Reader, p. 156.

  6. 6 The Biblical Commission's Document ‘The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church,’ Text and Commentary, by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, edited by Joseph A. Fitzmyer (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Instituto Biblico, 1995).

  7. 7 (PI) Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, edited by Anscombe G. E. and R. Rhees (Oxford: Blackwell, 1953).

  8. 8 Markus Locker, ‘Hamann – Wittgenstein: Towards Pre-Critical Biblical Hermeneutics’, The Loyola Schools Review. School of Humanities II (2003), p. 124.

  9. 9 Nicholas Lash, ‘How Large is a ‘Language-Game’’, Theology 87 (1984), pp. 1928. Neil Cooper, ‘The Religious Language-Game’, Scottish Journal of Religious Studies 9 (1988), pp. 2939. Markus Locker and Clemens Sedmak, ‘The Language- Game of Revelation: Interpreting the Book of Revelation through Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Language’, Philosophy & Theology 13 (2002), pp. 241262; See also Markus Locker ‘Das Buch der Offenbarung im Verständnnis der Sprachphilosophie’, Zeitschrift fr Ganzheitsforschung 46 (3/2002), pp. 115–29. Also Mary-John Mananzan, ‘The Language-Game of Confessing One's Belief. A Wittgensteinian-Austinian Approach to the Linguistic Analysis of Creedal Statements’, Linguistische Arbeiten 16 (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1974).

  10. 10 Max Black, ‘Lebensform and Sprachspiel in Wittgenstein's Later Work’, in Wittgenstein and his Impact on Contemporay Thougt, Proceedings of the 2nd International Wittgenstein Symposium, August 29 – September 4, 1977, by the HTP, 325–331 (Vienna: HTP, 1978). Hereinafter referred to as Black, Lebensform.

  11. 11 See chapter 1 of Markus Locker, ‘Wittgenstein's Language-Game Model and Peirce's Semiotic Analysis as Keys for a Contextual Reading of the Book of Revelation’, (Ph.D. Dissertation, Ateneo de Manila University, Manila 1999), pp. 28–65.

  12. 12 Rudolf Bultmann, Die Geschichte der Synoptischen Tradition (Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1931). Martin Dibelius, Zur Formgeschichte der Evangelien, in Hahn, Ferdinand (ed.), Zur Formgeschichte des Evangeliums, Wege der Forschung 81 (Darmstadt: Wiss. Buchges. 1929/1985), pp. 21–52.

  13. 13 Andre Cruickshank, ‘Wittgenstein and the Language of the Gospels’, Church Quarterly 3 (1970), pp. 4051. Anthony Thiselton, ‘The Parables as Language-Event: Some Comments in Fuchs's Hermeneutics in the Light of Linguistic Philosophy’, Scottish Journal of Theology 23 (1970), pp. 43768.

  14. 14 This point is stressed in various ways by: Paul Avis. ‘The Gospel as a Work of Art’, Theology 104 (Mar-Apr 2001), p. 94. Brian Daley, ‘Is Patristic Exegesis Still Usable?: Reflections on Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms’, Communio 29 (Spring 2002), p. 191. Luke Timothy Johnson, ‘Renewing Catholic Biblical Scholarship’, Priests & People 16 (2002), p. 301. Nicholas Lash, ‘Performing the Scriptures Interpretation through Living’, Furrow 33 (August 1982), pp 46774. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, ‘100 Years: The Magisterium and exegesis’, Theological Digest 51:1 (Spring 2004). Daniel Shin, ‘Some Light from Origen: Scripture as Sacrament’, Worship 73 (Sept. 1999), p. 399; William M. Thompson, ‘Spirituality's Challenges to Today's Theology’, Josephinum Journal of Theology 8 (WinterSpring 2001), p. 66.

  15. 15 This introduction follows closely Locker and Clemens, ‘The Language-Game of Revelation’, pp. 241–62, and Markus Locker, ‘Wittgenstein – Hamann’, pp. 125–130.

  16. 16 (NB) Ludwig Wittgenstein, Notebooks 191416, ed. by G. E. M. Anscombe and G. H. von Wright, trans. by G. E. M. Anscombe, rev. ed.(Oxford: Blackwell, 1979).

  17. 17 Hans-Joachim Glock, A Wittgenstein Dictionary, The Blackwell Publisher Dictionaries (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), s.v. Picture-Theory.

  18. 18 Joachim Schulte, Wittgenstein: Eine Einführung (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1889), p. 115.

  19. 19 Markus Locker, ‘Kann eine Biblische Theologie gut' sein? Die Gleichnisse Jesu: Eine Philippinische Erfahrung,’ in Clemens Sedmak, ed. Was ist gute Theologie? Salzburger Theologische Studien 20 (Innsbruck/Wien: Tyrolia, 2003), pp. 151–163.

  20. 20 (BB) Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Blue Book, in The Blue and Brown Books (NewYork: Harper and Row, 1958).

  21. 21 Glock, Wittgenstein Dictionary, pp. 196ff.

  22. 22 Cf. Noam Chomsky, Reflections on Language (New York: Pantheon Books, 1975); Language and Mind (New York: Harcourt Brace & World, Inc., 1968).

  23. 23 (Z) Ludwig Wittgenstein, Zettel, ed. by G. E. M. Anscombe and G. H. von Wright. Translated by G. E. M. Anscombe (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967).

  24. 24 Locker, ‘Revelation’, pp. 28ff.

  25. 25 Schulte, Wittgenstein, pp. 158–59.

  26. 26 Ibid., 160.

  27. 27 Black, ‘Lebensform’, pp. 327.

  28. 28 In its most general use, the term praxis refers to the theory and practice of actions and activities.

  29. 29 Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel. Its Life and Situation. Trans from the French by John McHugh (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 61973, pp. 481–484.

  30. 30 Ton Veerkamp, ‘‘Der Sabbat ist für den Menschen da …’ (Mk 2,27). Der Kampf gegen Rom und für den Sabbat’, in Kuno Füssel and Franz Segbers, Franz, eds., ‘…so lernen die Völker des Erdkreises Gerechtigkeit’, Ein Arbeitsbuch zu Bibel und Ökonomie (Salzburg: Pustet.Veerkamp, 1995), pp. 226–39. Yong-Eui Yang, Jesus and the Sabbath in Matthew's gospel. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 139 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1997).

  31. 31 Locker and Sedmak, ‘The Language-Game of Revelation’, pp. 241–62.

  32. 32 Josef Wagner, Auferstehung und Leben. Joh 11,1–12,19 als Spiegel johanneischer Redaktions- und Theologiegeschichte, Biblische Untersuchungen 19 (Regensburg: Pustet, 1988).

  33. 33 James P. Carse, ‘Wittgenstein's Lion and Christology’, Theology Today 24 (2/1967): 154.

  34. 34 I try to a argue a similar point in a paper that explores grammatical rules as systems properties: Markus Locker, ‘Parables as ‘Systems’ of the Kingdom,’ in George E. Lasker (ed.) Advances in Sociocybernetics and Human Development, vol. XI (Windsor Ontario, Canada: IIAS, 2004), pp. 47–52.

  35. 35 Markus Locker, ‘Reading and Re-reading Matthew's Parable of the Talents in Context’, Biblische Zeitschrift 49/2 (2005), 16173.

  36. 36 Richard H. Bell, ‘Theology as Grammar: Is God an Object of Understanding?’, Religious Studies 11 (1975), pp. 30713.

  37. 37 (OC) Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1969).

  38. 38 Locker, ‘Biblische Theologie’, p. 162.