Nietzsche, Metaphor, Religion

By Tim Murphy

Subjects: Continental Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791450888, 235 pages, October 2001
Hardcover : 9780791450871, 235 pages, October 2001

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Table of contents



1. (Re:)Reading Nietzsche on Metaphor and on Religion


Nietzsche on Metaphor
The Antichrist: Madness or Maturity?
(Re:)Reading Nietzsche on Religion
(Re:)Reading Nietzsche Writing: "Discourse" vs. "Text"



2. Nietzsche's Metaphor for Metaphor


The Metaphor for Metaphor
Übertragung and Language
Übertragung and Perception
Übertragung and Concepts
Catechresis and Identity


3. The Structure of Metaphor


Übertragung and Domains Interaction Theory
Barthes: Connotation, Cultural Codes, and Domains
Metaphor in the Text: Registers
Mapping Religion: Nietzsche's Primary Metaphor Domains
Case Study I: Explicating the Aristocratic Domain
Case Study II: Explicating the Dionysian Domain
Mapping Religion: The Secondary Domains


4. Metaphor, Interpretation, and Narrative: Elements of a Nietzschean Theory of Culture


Übertragung and Interpretation
Interpretation, Power, and the Agwn
Narrative Representation and Historical Identity



5. The Religious Body


The Sick Body: "Religion" as Hygienic Regime
The Priest's Pharmakon
Metalipsis: The Religious Errors of Causation


6. The "Retroactive Confiscations" of Judaism


The "Retroactive Confiscations" of Judaism
The Metaphor Domains in Nietzsche's Rendering of Judaism
The Signifier "Jew" in the German Christian Metanarrative of European Modernity
The Jews in Nietzsche's Counternarrative of Modern European Identity
Contemporary Responses to the Issues of Nietzsche's Alleged Anti-Semitism


7. Nietzsche's Metaphors for Jesus


Hermeneutical Prologue
Jesus as Myshkin
Jesus as Buddha
The Physiology of Jesus' Teachings
The Metaphor Domains in Nietzsche's Jesus
Contemporary Readings of Nietzsche's Jesus


8. Peter, Paul, and Nietzsche: Tracing the Signifier "Christ" through Christian History


The Synoptic "Christ" as a Mistranslation of Jesus
The Übertragungen of the Apostle Paul
Luther as "the Second Paul" and the German Christian Discourse About Christianity
The Ironic Emplotment of Christian History


9. Metaphor and the Death of God


Metaphor and the Death of God
Metalanguage and Metaphor
Agonistic Interpretation, Identity, and Religion
The Heuristic of Metaphor: Philosophy and Metatheory



Presents a radically anti-foundationalist reading of Nietzsche's philosophy of religion.


Nietzsche argued that metaphor is at the basis of language, concepts, and perception, making it the vehicle by which humans interpret the world. As such, metaphor has profound consequences for the nature of religion and of philosophy. Nietzsche, Metaphor, Religion connects Nietzsche's early writings on rhetoric and metaphor, especially as understood by contemporary French philosophers and literary theorists, with Nietzsche's later writings on religion. The result is a radically anti-foundationalist reading of Nietzsche's "philosophy of religion" as an unending series of metaphoric-literary agons or contests.

Tim Murphy teaches in the Department of Religion at Case Western Reserve University.


"Murphy's book should be positively acknowledged as one of the rare ones that does not attempt to use Nietzsche's writing on religion for constructive religious purposes. " — International Studies in Philosophy

"Murphy really tackles a significant subject, and does so in a way which will have a broad appeal. He does a very fine job exploring highly significant issues in Nietzsche interpretation and their ramifications beyond narrow disciplinary boundaries.

"Is Nietzsche just laying out another metaphysics, an alternative epistemology, just another competing axiology? Murphy shows that this is not what is going on at all. He gives an overview of the dispute in his comparison of the 'doctrine' vs. the 'text' approach to Nietzsche's thought. Bravo!" — George H. Leiner, editor of New Nietzsche Studies