Publication details [#5829]

Murphy, Timothy Michael. 1997. Religion, metaphor, and hermeneutics: A study of Friedrich Nietzsche's 'Der Antichrist'. Santa Cruz, Calif.. 345 pp.
Publication type
Ph.D dissertation
Publication language


Using the methods of hermeneutics and semiotics, this study examines the interrelationship between Nietzsche's views on metaphor, interpretation, and religion as these are expressed in his late work, 'Der Antichrist'. Part I analyzes Nietzsche's views on metaphor, hermeneutics, and narrative in light of contemporary literary theory. The central argument is that Nietzsche's economy of rhetoric is metaphorical, in the specific sense of übertragen, or [Special characters omitted] as a "transport," or "carrying over." This basic economic principle also underlies Nietzsche's theory of interpretation, as well as his view of narrative as ultimately hermeneutical. Part II applies these methodological concepts to the text of 'Der Antichrist'. The argument here is that Nietzsche understands religion as an agonistic metaphor-constructing vehicle. He self-consciously articulates this by means of a series of Übertragungen, or acts of mapping religion onto such domains as politics, physiology, psychology, and, ultimately, his own Umwerthung, or "revaluation." Rather than give an overarching definition of "religion," Nietzsche conducts a series of "micro-mappings." So, he constructs "Jesus" by simultaneously mapping him onto Gotama Buddha and Dostoyevski's Prince Myshkin, the Apostolic community by mapping it onto class and party politics, and "Christianity" by an ironic, catachretic narrative of diremption. When "decoded," it is clear that these constructions constitute a harsh polemic against the prevalent understanding of religion in nineteenth century German Christian nationalism. (Dissertation Abstracts)