Files in this item



application/pdf3070456.pdf (14MB)Restricted to U of Illinois
(no description provided)PDF


Title:Nietzsche as Philosopher of Religion
Author(s):Thompson, Joseph Closter
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Richard Schacht
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Religion, Philosophy of
Abstract:Against the usual view that Nietzsche is antireligious, I argue for his positive philosophy of religion, and for an affirmative religiousness of his own which finds expression in the figures of Dionysus and Zarathustra. Nietzsche's critique of Christianity must not be taken for hostility toward religion in general: he insists upon its uses as well as disadvantages, in the "service" and "enhancement" of life. In all of Nietzsche's work I show how he refigures and rehabilitates conceptions of spirituality, transfiguration, redemption, even "the divine" and "deification." The opposition "Dionysus versus the Crucified" proves the key to Nietzsche's thought on religion: against a Christian-otherworldly, transcendence-oriented 'solution' to the problem of suffering (of 'evil'), Nietzsche poses the "post-transcendence" religion of Dionysus. Immune to the disillusionment and nihilistic rebound Nietzsche fears is inevitable once the otherworldly 'solution' is seen to be untenable---after the "death of God"---Dionysus comes to symbolize a this-worldly religious orientation and sensibility associated with life affirmation, the "justification" of life through art, and the redemption of suffering. I call it a kind of "art-religion," tracing its development from The Birth of Tragedy to the last line of Ecce Homo. Interpreting Zarathustra in these terms, I urge a reprioritization of this one book Nietzsche thought was his most important, as a major contribution to religion (and not just to philosophy or literature). Arguing for a more straightforwardly religious reading, I show that the work is not (as many have claimed) merely a parody of religion and religious figures. The prophet Zarathustra heralds the new religion of Dionysus: in this book, and in Nietzsche's work as a whole, I discern a kind of "prelude to a religion of the future."
Issue Date:2002
Description:221 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3070456
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2002

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics