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The Bible and Christian Traditions

Keys to Understanding the Allegorical Subplot of Nietzsche's "Zarathustra</I>


W. Wiley Richards

Professor Richards combines background insights gained from a Th.D. in historical theology and a Ph. D. in philosophy to present a unique commentary on Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra. He argues that Zarathustra is actually an allegory in which the Bible and Christian traditions provide the data needed to understand the subplot. Beginning with Zarathustra's Prologue, Richards identifies Nietzsche's carefully placed clues which unfold the work of Zarathustra from his incarnation (his down-going) to his «millennial» reign in his own realm.

«Dr. Richards seeks to solve the riddle of Nietzsche's 'Zarathustra' by finding the message of the scriptures in the antiChrist's awe-inspiring poem. His solution: the antiChrist is nothing without the Christ of the Bible; Nietzsche's poem, nothing without the subplot that motivates it. The point seems clear: all values stand in need of a periodic transevaluation; so Zarathustra's message can be understood only when its invert is there as subtending ground to permit the image's brilliant appearance. In this text, figure and ground are given their proper concordance.» (E.F. Kaelin, Florida State University)