Nietzsche Against the Crucified

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Nietzsche Against the Crucified by Alistair Kee.

Kee Neitzsche Against the Crucified

Kee’s Nietzsche Against the Crucified is a lucid approach to Nietzsche’s thought, from the uncommon perspective of a professor of Religious Studies. As Kee notes in his introduction, most of the secondary literature on Nietzsche is generated within the discipline of “Philosophy,” and much of it reflects a disinterest in the religious context and theological consequences of the material–a disinterest that is alien to Nietzsche’s own perspective. This book covers Nietzsche’s principal themes and topics adequately, and concludes with a sound argument against viewing him as the “father of postmodernism.” 

There is brief but sufficient biographical material to appreciate Nietzsche’s situation, and the distinctions between his lived experience and his espoused values. Kee also provides helpful context regarding the evolution of counter-Christian thought in 19th-century Germany, where Nietzsche figures as the third of three antichrists: the first was Ludwig Feuerbach, and the second David Strauss.

Kee’s handling of the doctrine of eternal recurrence is quite sensitive. He does not deform it into something with which he can be more intellectually comfortable, nor does he attempt to downplay its importance in Nietzsche’s ouvre. Similarly, his appreciation of the Will to Power is careful, and framing it with religious concerns gives it a different cast than most introductory treatments. 

Once in a great while, Kee’s prose indulges in a sort of vernacular banter, which I found mostly ineffective. The book as a whole reads quickly, and I would recommend it as an accessible interpretation of Nietzsche, especially useful to Thelemites.