The Origins of the Wittgensteins
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This chapter explores the imaginative work of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and the roots of his monumental Tractatus. Martin Luther changed the fate of northern Germany and Scandinavia for centuries, when he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the monastery church in Wittenberg in 1517, and thus, unintentionally, starting the Protestant Reformation. Luther's effective preaching attracted the attention of Duke Frederick the Wise of Saxony, who made him a professor of theology in the new University of Wittenberg where Shakespeares eponymous Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, and his friend Horatio were students, according to Shakespeare's version of the tragedy, written fifty years after Luther's death. Luther translated the Bible into clear and vigorous German, composed stirring psalms, married a nun, and had six children. His individualist revolution was summarized in the slogan, "Salvation by Faith Only", that is, no priest intervened for the poor sinner, as in the Roman Catholic Church.