Friedrich Nietzsche: His Life and Thought

Friedrich Nietzsche: His Life and Thought

Friedrich Nietzsche: His Life and Thought

Friedrich Nietzsche: His Life and Thought

Synopsis

This volume is a popular presentation of Nietzsche's thought. Hoover's analysis comes from the viewpoint of a Christian operating within a Thomist framework. An early chapter focuses on Nietzsche's life; the following chapters weave autobiographical materials into the treatment of his philosophical system, showing the close relationship between his life and thought. Hoover's study includes an analysis of Nietzsche's perspectivism, his contribution to propaganda theory, the demonstration of a deep and fundamental contradiction in his epistemology, and an analysis of his critique of anti-body idealism.

Excerpt

God is dead, Nietzsche argues, and we are still laboring to erase his shadow. the largest part of that shadow is the great religion that came from his putative revelation, the Bible, the religion of Judaeo-Christianity. in the future it will be considered indecent to be a Christian, because Nietzsche, the Antichrist, the Apostle of Dionysus, will have destroyed the ancestral faith as a possibility for free spirits.

In his attack on Judaism, Christ, Paul, and Christendom, Nietzsche spun off some of his most ingenious psychohistorical theories. Perhaps his success with the Greeks in Birth of Tragedy convinced him that he was an infallible retrospective psychoanalyst. At any rate, he seemed to relish the project of debunking the faith of his fathers and proving that it too was human, all too human, born of base motives.

Actually, this debunking project was mostly of one piece; that is, it tied Judaism and Christianity into the same package, asserting that the entire movement, except for early Judaism, sprang from the same psychological motive. Nietzsche was strongly opposed to the antisemitism of the Bismarckian Reich, so he enjoyed refuting the central contention of the "Christian" antisemites, that there was a fundamental distinction between the Jewish and Christian faiths. This false distinction was preached by prominent spokesmen like Adolph Stöcker; Richard Wagner; Wagner's son-in-law, the racist writer Houston Stewart Chamberlain (who claimed that Jesus was not Jewish but Greek); and Nietzsche's brother-in-law, Bernhard Förster. All these held up Christ as a bright exception of moral purity against the dark background of Jewish racial corruption and depravity. Nietzsche relished the opportunity to set the record straight by demonstrating that both Judaism and Christianity had the same parent stock: a world-denying priestly religion.

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