‘Jedenfalls aber ist unsere philologische Heimat die Erde; die Nation kann es nicht mehr sein. (Our philological home is the earth. It can no longer be the nation.)’
Erich Auerbach, ‘Philology and Weltliteratur‘ (1952)

For many years, Daniel Boyarin has been engaged in a project to discover how or why it makes sense to speak of ‘religion’ as existing or not at a given time and place. In this project, Wittgenstein has proven to be an increasingly consequential compagnon de route. Boyarin takes the Philosophical Investigations not so much as a work of academic philosophy but as an attempt to describe how language actually works, how human beings produce meaningful speech and writing. The central question treated in this presentation is adequacy of terms drawn from Euro-American languages to describe the cultures of alter. In order to adumbrate some answers to these questions the thinking of Talal Asad about cultural translation is pitted against that of J. Z. Smith.

In English
Organized by

An ICI Berlin event, organized by Federico Dal Bo and Antonio Castore

The event, like all events at the ICI Berlin, is open to the public, free of charge. The audience is presumed to consent to a possible recording on the part of the ICI Berlin. If you would like to attend the event yet might require assistance, please contact Event Management.


The keynote is part of the conference Untying the Mother Tongue: On Language, Affect, and the Unconscious