Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Nietzsche vs. Christianity: Part 1

with 4 comments

Here is the AUDIO for the first lecture.

I was struck by a few things in doing my research on the life, thought, and influence of Nietzsche.  First, I am struck at how dark, bleak, and sick was Nietzsche’s early world.  Second, I was struck by the damning affects of the poison that flowed from the Tubingen School, particularly in the thought of Strauss, Feuerbach, and Schopenhauer (Tubingen was the school that started all of the criticism of the Bible that eventually led to the splitting of Protestantism into its conservative and liberal branches).  Third, I am struck by how different Nietzsche’s thought changed over time and how he moves beyond all of his influences.  Fourth, I am struck by both the radicalness and the consistency of Nietzsche’s atheism, he is the one atheist who says that morality is contingent on the existence of God.  Fifth, I am struck that Nietzsche is really a kind of Greek thinker in the vein of Dionysus and that the goal of his whole philosophy is life affirmation.  Sixth, I am struck by how much I agree with Nietzsche both in what bothers him and what he affirms.  Finally, I couldn’t agree more with David Hart when he says, “The only really effective antidote to the dreariness of reading the New Atheists, it seems to me, is rereading Nietzsche.”

Below is the outline and audio from the first lecture:

I.  Biography and Psychology

A.  Death

B.  Boarding School at Pforta

C.  Chronic Illness

D.  Bonn/Leipzig

E.  University of Basel

F.  Franco-Prussian War Medical Orderly

II.  Intellectual Influences

A.  David Frederick StraussDas Leben Jesu

B.  Ludwig von FeuerbachThe Essence of Christianity

C.  Friedrich LangeHistory of Materialism and Critique of its Present Importance (Geschichte des Materialismus)

D.  Dionysus

E.  Arthur Schopenhauer

F.  Richard Wagner

III.  Nietzsche’s Thought

A.  “The Death of God”

B.  Nihilism

C.  Master and Slave Morality

D.  Übermensch

E.  Will to Power (der Wille zur Macht)

F.  Eternal Recurrence (ewige Wiederkunft)

IV.  Nietzsche’s Influence

A.  William Butler Yeats

B.  Martin Heidegger

C.  Albert Camus

D.  Michel Foucault

E.  Jacques Derrida

F.  Martin Buber

G.  Adolf Hitler (sort of)

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4 Responses

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  1. […] some Nietzsche for the better part of the last 8 months (I mentioned a few things I was struck by here) .  I think Nietzsche is very helpful for Christians and is worth reading/understanding.  There […]

  2. Dear Christian,

    I had always thought that the Tubingen school did great work. Strauss’s _Life of Jesus_ I thought helped me a great deal in understanding early Christianity. I have now moved on into the Patristic’s period of Irenaeus and the like.

    What was it that you did not like about Tubingen?

    I am reading Against Heresies and The Antiquities of the Jews at the moment, as well was Edwin Johnson’s _Antiqua Mater_. Enjoying them all.

    Cheers!

    Rich Griese

    January 12, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    • Rich,

      My principle concern with the Tubingen school is revisionist history. Ferdinand Christian Baur’s (founder of the school) ideas are really quite ridiculous. Baur rested all his theories on a very small number of writings from a very fringe sect. He thinks that Simon Magus was Paul. He thinks that there were two competing forms of Christianity – one after Paul and the other after Peter/James. These ideas are unsubstantiated being supported neither historically, canonically, and textually. In short, Tubingen applied the Hegelian dialectic to church history, doctrine, and the New Testament and ended up with a very strange revisionist outcome.

      I am always wary when a theory comes and states that several hundred years of scholarship is unilaterally incorrect and proposes an alternative theory principally on minority and fringe accounts (late ones at that). Scholarship prizes new knowledge over old and as a result can tend to push the envelope and stretch for new ideas to publish.

      I enjoy your affinity for Irenaeus. Against Heresies is an excellent work. If you are looking for some scholarship on the New Testament that is newer but not altogether far-fetched you might like reading N.T. Wright.

      Your thoughts?

      Mike

      Michael Graham

      January 12, 2011 at 5:53 pm

  3. Dear Mike,

    [quote]
    My principle concern with the Tubingen school is revisionist history. Ferdinand Christian Baur’s (founder of the school) ideas are really quite ridiculous. Baur rested all his theories on a very small number of writings from a very fringe sect. He thinks that Simon Magus was Paul. He thinks that there were two competing forms of Christianity – one after Paul and the other after Peter/James. These ideas are unsubstantiated being supported neither historically, canonically, and textually. In short, Tubingen applied the Hegelian dialectic to church history, doctrine, and the New Testament and ended up with a very strange revisionist outcome.
    [/quote]

    I guess I would disagree there. I find the Tubingen folks of 1800s in Germany to be some of the best historians with regards to Christian history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Tübingen & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tübingen_School

    I would say that there are not only TWO early Christian groups, but well over a dozen different ones.

    Hegelian may have influenced the Germans initially, but folks like Strauss and the historians that basically created the field don’t really have anything to do with Hegel or his ideas.

    [quote]
    I am always wary when a theory comes and states that several hundred years of scholarship is unilaterally incorrect and proposes an alternative theory principally on minority and fringe accounts (late ones at that). Scholarship prizes new knowledge over old and as a result can tend to push the envelope and stretch for new ideas to publish.
    [/quote]

    Well Strauss, Bauer, and the German folks of the 1800s pretty much CREATED New Testament scholarship.

    [quote]
    I enjoy your affinity for Irenaeus. Against Heresies is an excellent work. If you are looking for some scholarship on the New Testament that is newer but not altogether far-fetched you might like reading N.T. Wright.
    [/quote]

    I am familiar with Wright. I don’t see him as actually having advanced our understanding of early Christianity to any extent.

    Sounds you have a very different view of Christian history than me. I poked around your site, and noticed that you are sympathetic to Calvinistic views, or are an Calvinist yourself. I am not a supernaturalist, so I don’t get into supernaturalistic stuff. I just study the history of early Christianity. But if you wanted to talk in general, instead of continuing on this comment thread, come pop by the “chat” on RichGriese.NET that is better for just general getting to know you kind of convos. Or of you have a specific question feel free to email me at RichGriese@gmail.com

    Cheers! RichGriese.NET

    Rich Griese

    January 16, 2011 at 1:50 am


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