Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Religion

In this review of Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Religion by Julian Young, Weaver Santaniello provides some observations that — if true, are startling:

And while many simply regard Nietzsche as an atheist, Young does not view Nietzsche as a non-believer, radical individualist, or immoralist, but as a nineteenth-century religious reformer belonging to a German Volkish tradition of conservative communitarianism.

Concerning religion, Young’s fundamental argument is that although Nietzsche rejects the Christian God, he is not “anti-religious.” Rather, Nietzsche is a religious thinker precisely because he adopts Schopenhauer’s analysis of religion as an intellectual construction that addresses the existential problems of pain and death, and gives authority to community-creating ethos.

Nietzsche views Dionysian pantheism as a solution to the problems of pain and death, and argues for the flourishing of a new “festival,” based on a humanity-affirming religion modeled on that of the ancient Greeks.

Although I have difficulty agreeing with this interpretati0n, it is provocative and the book looks interesting.  Typological treatments of Nietzsche’s thought — those which hone in on a single idea such as “truth” and trace it through the entire corpus of his work, often pay large conceptual dividends.  At least one dissertation has been written which uses the famous opening lines from Beyond Good and Evil — “Supposing truth is a woman.  What then?” — in precisely this way.

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