Pious Nietzsche

Pious Nietzsche : Decadence and Dionysian Faith

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Bruce Ellis Benson puts forward the surprising idea that Nietzsche was never a godless nihilist, but was instead deeply religious. But how does Nietzsche affirm life and faith in the midst of decadence and decay? Benson looks carefully at Nietzsche's life history and views of three decadents, Socrates, Wagner, and Paul, to come to grips with his pietistic turn. Key to this understanding is Benson's interpretation of the powerful effect that Nietzsche thinks music has on the human spirit. Benson claims that Nietzsche's improvisations at the piano were emblematic of the Dionysian or frenzied, ecstatic state he sought, but was ultimately unable to achieve, before he descended into madness. For its insights into questions of faith, decadence, and transcendence, this book is an important contribution to Nietzsche studies, philosophy, and religion.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 157.48 x 233.68 x 20.32mm | 453.59g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253218748
  • 9780253218742
  • 758,636

Review quote

In sum: Nietzsche sought to know, follow, pray to Dionysus, god of Life, through a musical ask sis, and, in doing so, he transplanted a form of Pietism onto the soil of Dionysus or, better, cultivated the apparently alien form of Dionysus on the soil of native Pietism. He may not have succeeded in overcoming his childhood Pietism. But it is what Nietzsche was about, even if he did not fully know it.11/22/09 -- Stephen Williams * Atlantic - Andrew Sullivan blog * I think it is not overstating the facts to say that Pious Nietzsche is the best and most important book on Nietzsche to appear in the last few years. . . . It is . . . an engaging and provocative examination of Nietzsche's religious life, rich with insight . . . .No.8 Dec. 2009 -- David L. O'Hara * Sino-Christian Studies * . . . Benson offers a decidedly new read of Nietzsche's piety, as one who . . . was deeply pious, although in a decidedly unorthodox way. . . Benson's thesis is carefully argued against the historical backdrop of Nietzsche's religious upbringing, blending together Nietzsche's early religious and musical aspirations, offering a new and convincing reading of his life and tears.Vol 35.2 June 2009 -- Myles Werntz * Baylor University * [T]his is a rewarding study. . . . Karl Jaspers observed that 'in the end one cannot help but ask how a man who is by no means representative can still become as overwhelmingly significant as though he spoke for humanity itself.' . . . this remark puts us on the trail of answering the question of why our discovery of a pious Nietzsche might matter. . . . Bruce Benson will prove to be a helpful guide along that trail.Nov./Dec. 2009 -- Stephen N. Williams * Union Theological College, Belfast *show more

About Bruce Ellis Benson

Bruce Ellis Benson is Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Wheaton College, Illinois. He is author of Graven Ideologies: Nietzsche, Derrida, and Marion on Modern Idolatry and The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue: A Phenomenology of Music. He is co-editor (with Kevin Vanhoozer and James K. A. Smith) of Hermeneutics at the Crossroads (IUP, 2006).show more

Table of contents

ContentsPreface: Reading NietzscheAcknowledgmentsList of AbbreviationsIntroduction: Improvising PietismPart 1. From Christian Pietism to Dionysian Pietism1. The Prayers and Tears of Young Fritz2. The Euthanasia of Christianity3. The Piety of ZarathustraPart 2. Profiles in Decadence4. Nietzsche's Decadence5. Socrates' Fate6. Wagner's Redemption7. Paul's RevengePart 3. Nietzsche's New Pietism8. Deconstructing the Redeemer9. Nietzsche's Musical Askesis10. We, Too, Are Still PiousNotesWorks CitedIndexshow more

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16 ratings
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