Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm

Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm
   The son of a Lutheran clergyman who died insane in 1848, Nietzsche began his academic life by studying theology in his native Prussia, but then switched to a study of the classics, and was appointed Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Basel at the age of just 24. Nietzsche attacked Christianity for promoting a morality of the serf and the weak, and for preferring the spiritual over the physical. This attack can be seen in such works as his masterpiece Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883-5), The Twilight of the Idols (1889) and The Antichrist (1895); Nietzsche was also responsible for the phrase, picked up by a later generation of theologians, 'God is dead' in his The Gay Science (1882). Nietzsche not only rejected God and traditional morality, which he thought should be supplanted by a new morality invented by the Ubermensch; he also rejected the idea of facts and objective truth. Nietzsche had in early life a close friendship with Richard Wagner, but the friendship broke down in 1879 as Nietzsche accused Wagner of propping up a degenerate culture. Nietzsche went mad at the age of 44, apparently over the sight of a horse's being flogged, and he was nursed until his death by his domineering sister, Elisabeth.
   See atheism
   Further reading: Magnus and Higgins 1996; Nietzsche 1909-13, 1967-, 1968, 1977, 1980, 1995 and 1995-; Schacht 1983

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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