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PDF version of this article - Nietzsche's Philosophy of Religion

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PDF version of this article - Nietzsche's Philosophy of Religion

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Ars Disputandi Volume7(2007) :15665399
Weaver Santaniello   ,
Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Religion
By Julian Young
Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press,2006;242pp.; hb.£45.00, pb. £17.99;:0521854229/0521681049.
[1] InNietzsche’s Philosophy of Religion, Julian Young oers a detailed, book by book interpretation of Nietzsche’s reflections on religion and religious commu nitarianism. Inhis first book,The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche views Greek tragedy as a mechanism that gathers people collectively in view of their gods, and argues that modernday nihilism can only be saved by reviving such an ancient festi val. Althoughsome readers believe that Nietzsche abandons these views after his Wagnerian influence, Young argues the opposite through a careful analysis ofThe Birth of Tragedyin relation to Nietzsche’s later publications.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 com munitarianism. [2] 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arming religion modeled on that of the ancient Greeks. [3] Young’s insights are wellargued and presented.The most fascinating aspect of his book is the manner in which he connects Nietzsche’s religious and political views, which are indeed intertwined.Disenchanted with scholarly inter pretations, such as Walter Kaufmann’s, that promote Nietzsche as an ‘apolitical’ thinker – far apart from the modern world – Young attempts to place Nietzsche’s ideas in the heart of (positive) Volkish tradition, without turning him into the godfather of Nazism (202acknowledges that Kaufmann’s heart was in). Young the right place, more than fifty years ago, when attempting to portray Nietzsche as apolitical in order to sever any possible ties of Nietzsche to Nazism.However, according to Young, a sanitized Nietzsche, compatible with a liberal humanist outlook, is also a misinterpretation of the nineteenthcentury philosopher. [4] Politically, Young situates Nietzsche in the romanticVolkish tradition because Nietzsche views modernity as a sick culture, and wants to return to the Golden Age of Greece; he rejects democracy; he deplores stateism; and detests
c June26,2007,Ars Disputandi. If you would like to cite this article, please do so as follows: Weaver Santaniello, ‘Review of Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Religion,’Ars Disputandi[http://www.ArsDisputandi. org]7(2007), paragraph number.
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