The Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ: or How to Philosophize with a Hammer

The Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ: or How to Philosophize with a Hammer


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140445145
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/28/1990
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 269,555
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Prussia in 1844. After the death of his father, a Lutheran minister, Nietzsche was raised from the age of five by his mother in a household of women. In 1869 he was appointed Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, where he taught until 1879 when poor health forced him to retire. He never recovered from a nervous breakdown in 1889 and died eleven years later. Known for saying that “god is dead,” Nietzsche propounded his metaphysical construct of the superiority of the disciplined individual (superman) living in the present over traditional values derived from Christianity and its emphasis on heavenly rewards. His ideas were appropriated by the Fascists, who turned his theories into social realities that he had never intended.
R. J. Hollingdale has translated eleven of Nietzsche’s books and published two books about him. He has also translated works by, among others, Schopenhauer, Goethe, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Lichtenberg and Theodor Fontane, many of these for the Penguin Classics. He is Honorary President of the British Nietzsche Society, and was for the Australian academic year 1991 Visiting Fellow at Trinity College, Melbourne.

Table of Contents

Twilight of the Idols/The Anti-Christ Introduction
Translator's Note
Twilight of the Idols, or How to Philosophize with a Hammer
Maxims and Arrows
The Problems of Socrates
"Reason" in Philosophy
How the "Real World" at last Became a Myth
Morality as Anti-Nature
The Four Great Errors
The "Improvers" of Mankind
What the Germans Lack
Expeditions of an Untimely Man
What I Owe to the Ancients
The Hammer Speaks
The Anti-Christ
The Anti-Christ
Glossary of Names

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The Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ: or How to Philosophize with a Hammer 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
P_S_Patrick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche rebukes all the things that he sees as either causes or symptoms of weakness. These include Christianity, the striving for social equality, charity, and philosophical idealism.While the book is mainly rhetoric, and a venting of spleen against what he sees as the wrongs of the world, there is a message that is of profound importance to the human species. That message is that in a society which lives as we do, we will become weaker and poorer in health as a species because of the violation of the principles of Nature which all other species live under because they lack the selfawareness to do anything other than act by instinct. It is this unnatural, unhealthy behaviour that his anger arises from. This book was written not long after Darwin's Origin of Species, but Nietzsche had clearly read it and understood the principles of Natural selection. He understood that Socialism undermined Natural Selection, and that it encouraged the weak to survive and thus weakened the species as a whole. Even more than his intellectual appreciation of this fact, Nietzsche understands this problem intuitively and emotionally, and this is what inflames his writing and angers him towards what he perceives as being the causes of the weakening that he sees.In the Antichrist, Nietzsche carries on from the Twilight of the Idols in his rage against the violation of Nature, particularly against Christianity which he sees as the driving force behind socialism. He shows sentimentality towards the cultures which he perceives as having been vibrant and strong. He eulogises upon them, and mourns their passing at the hands of the Church, which he sees as having undermined strong cultures such as the Roman, ancient Greek, and the Teutonics, by the promotion of "weak" values such as love for the downtrodded, pity for the sick, charity, the looking forward to a life beyond that on earth, and promotion of guilt.What Nietzsche says is true, in that socialism does undermine Natural Selection, and promotes the formation of a weak society. While he does criticise some bits of Plato in the Twilight of the Idols, he is very much in favour of a society structured as in Plato's republic, with tiered classes according to personal ability, and a rejection of equality. These two works are provocative, intellectually and otherwise, but I think that behind the hyperbole and polemic there are some truths which need to be taken notice of. I disagree with his denial of the value of ethics, but this makes it is hard to understand how one can practically accept the rest of his ideas without there existing some kind of unresolved conflict. This conflict being that we must act ethically - do to each individual what is just and right, and as a species suffer or alternatively live in a society that rejects weakness in favour of the strong, that rejects ethics, but which benefits the species and civilisation in the long run. This is of course a difficult choice, and I would only answer that I think Nietzsche has not given sufficient cause for a rejection of moral values and the health of the human species is upheld in other ways that can be devised which do not prevent us from showing charity, compassion, and the other traditional virtues. How this will be done is anybodies guess.
davidpwithun on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These two books, two of Nietzsche's last books, are simultaneously one of the greatest challenges ever launched against Christianity (after that of Dostoyevsky in The Brother's Karamazov) and are the greatest challenge to modern atheists. No matter which side of the debate you belong to -- or if you are a third party altogether -- Nietzsche has something to rock your world. I first read these books as a teenager and they forever changed the way that I view the world. The question that everyone who reads these books, and the rest of Nietzsche's work, must ask themselves is what to make of the modern world. As we enter a supposedly post-Christian era, an era of which Nietzsche was certainly the forerunner and prophet, we must ask ourselves just how much of our heritage we are willing to part with as we part with Christianity. And we must ask ourselves upon what basis we will build this new, post-Christian civilization. My belief is that Nietzsche was right: the foundation will be power.
kant1066 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Twilight of the Idols¿ and ¿The Anti-Christ¿ are two of the last books, both composed in 1888, that Nietzsche wrote before his final descent into syphilis-induced madness which occurred during the first week of 1889. It continues themes he had developed in his earlier work, and ¿The Anti-Christ¿ especially approaches Christianity with a particularly ferocious and critical eye. As anyone who has thumbed through a volume of Nietzsche can tell you, his work isn¿t composed of clear, well-defined propositions to be ultimately accepted or rejected; instead, his arguments have a kind of ravishing rhetorical force to them. His writing is less apothegmatic here than in other work, but is still never syllogistic or ratiocinated in such a way that we usually associate with philosophy. This isn¿t a mistake; he intended his work to speak as much if not more through the force of style than anything else. In his ¿attack¿ on Socrates in the first book, he calls reason itself a ¿tyrant,¿ and wonders if Socrates enjoys his ¿own form of ferocity in the knife-thrust of the syllogism.¿ The greatest part of ¿Twilight of the Idols¿ is the chapter called ¿Morality as Anti-Nature¿ in which he says that all moral systems up until now, and particularly Christianity, are wrong precisely because they try to deform and reshape human nature to their own image. For Nietzsche, the moral is the natural, but Christianity ¿ and this is really an attack on all religious systems, though some more than others ¿ stops being moral when it tries to impose concepts that arecompletely foreign to human beings like the idea that ¿everyone is created the same¿ or a selfless Christian charity. Whether or not you agree with the thrust of the argument, I found the idea of moral systems as rational attempts to remold nature an interesting one. Of course, people jump on these passages to try to make him look like some kind of nihilist or immoralist, when nothing could be further from the truth. He simply wants the principles and drives of human nature to inform ethical systems, not something foreign to them. Freud may have picked up on this, admitting as he did a great debt to Nietzsche. ¿The Anti-Christ¿ goes on to attack what I would call religious psychology, and especially the moral precepts of Christianity. If you haven¿t read Nietzsche and have some sort of caricature of what he says in your head, start with this book, probably one of his most readable, which is ironic when considered in the light of his mental breakdown immediately thereafter. His attacks are never the ones you hear from atheists these days, ¿that the idea of God is irrational¿ or ¿we have no scientific evidence for such a being.¿ His criticisms are fresh and invigorating, including accusations that the apostle Paul distorted Christ¿s message beyond measure and that Christianity focuses on another world essentially devaluing this one. Again, this isn¿t about agreement or disagreement with his basic assertions. (Some of the people on whom he had the biggest influence fundamentally disagreed with what he said.) It¿s the punch that he packs while delivering them. There was a reason why he subtitled the book ¿Wie man mit dem Hammer philosophiert¿ (¿How to Philosophize with a Hammer¿). Other than Nietzsche¿s writing itself, some of the most impressive things about him are the downright preposterousness of the criticisms that people levy against him, the sheer width and breadth of intellectual laziness with which people read him. Just from reading a small sampling of the reviews posted on this book alone, there are accusations of him ¿deriding self-control¿ and being ¿obnoxiously right-wing,¿ the first a willful misreading, the second a risible attempt to foist a set of anachronistic political opinions on the ideas of a man who was hugely contemptuous of the German politics of his own day, left and right alike. Those who are trying to discover their token protofascist in Nietzsche would
ccavaleri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really a fun book about religion and even more, accepted dogma of any sort. The best account of Nietzsche's death of God.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
All of my atheist friends love Nietzsche, and i love to have my beleifs challenged so i decided to read him, however from now on when i want a provocative challenge to my beleifs, i'll go with John-Paul Sartre. Nietzsche talked quite a bit without realy saying things. He seemed to prefer to provide alternative explinations to the intrepretation of Christainity rather than logically disproving it. 'Thus Spoke Zarathutra' was ok, in that it presented Nietzschian thought, in an intertaining form, and allowed the reader to see Nietzschies amazing talent as a writter and poet, however These books were terriable the only way someone could consider these books profound and brilliant is if they had a need to feel an intelectual superiority, and had inate inclinations towards romantic paradoxs', but mostly the need to feel intelectually superior towards 'the masses'. If you want brilliance, read Dostoevsky. 'Dostoevsky [is] the only psychologist, incidently, from whome i had something to learn he ranks among the most beautifull strokes of fortune in my life' -Fredrick Nietzsche, 'Twilight of Idols' Perhaps Nietzsche should have paid attention and learned more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nietzsche is famous for his maxims and his aphorisms. This is often criticized as simply diatribe. But to say that Nietzsche does not argue but simply rant is to not understand Nietzsche. He was not concerned with logical arguments, though he did employ them, often enthememetically (if that a word). He does not simply argue against logic, he looks at the rhetoric of the person and uses that to argue against the person's beliefs and why we would ever idolize them. This book is a very important book in the history of philosophy and rhetoric for being revolutionary in its construction and argumentative basis.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If titles were indications of quality, this first offering would be my favorite by far. In contrast to 'Zarathustra' and more so than 'Beyond Good and Evil', this short work is a crash-course in Nietzschean thought: consequently, for the uninitiated, this is definitely not the place to start (neither are the two aforementioned books)¿this is advanced, senior level! What the effort tackles: the summation of the character and importance of such individuals as Socrates, such civilizations as ancient Greece, Nietzsche¿s immediate predecessors, and all old-world, outlived ways of thinking in general¿ideas and ideals he renders as idols! Here he attempts to put into practice a methodology mentioned in his earlier works, one which I feel is often overlooked: the abbreviation of the past, of history. Such idols are sounded out, and if need be, shattered! His effort is noteworthy, but I think the scope is too much for any man as yet, however. This initial example, the fact that it should be attempted at all, is set forth and understood to be a beginning to new beginnings--the overcoming of, the coming-to-terms with, the reconciliation of the past is not only necessary philosophically¿but also from a cultural-psychological hygienic point of view. Without this cleaning-house as it were, culture becomes mired down: peoples simply, passively, inherit what came before-- strength and integrity wane, and laziness, or ¿convenience,¿ steps into the foreground: within a generation bad habits turn instinctive, origins are marginalized or forgotten all together. Essentially, 'Twilight¿' is an exercise in integrity. This second offering is undoubtedly the most vitriolic, powerful verbal-attack I have ever encountered! No song, no other prose or poetry, no other type of denouncement has struck me so firmly, none has screamed so loudly. In my relatively short time of literary-acculturation few things have been so passionate. The title certainly does the content justice: the object of ridicule (the institution of Christianity) is utterly lambasted--personified, it is horribly mauled¿externally (the truth of its influence), and internally (¿psychologically,¿ or rather ecclesiastically). Qua Nietzsche, this treatise epitomizes his characteristic approach to many a topic: no lightheartedness, no pussyfooting, no pity! Here, the quintessential ¿immoralist¿ speaks mercilessly against matters of intellectual laziness, against that ever-lacking historical-perspective (as it pertains to Christianity), against unconditional and unquestioning acceptance. He separates Christ from Christianity¿something unprecedented¿positing the former as a worthy adversary (an honor, however semi-blasphemous it sounds), while the latter as an extremely successful misinterpretation, an abused weapon, a usurpation and intentional falsification of a very important, world-historical epoch in human history. Yet in the end, I fail to find his ranting and raving totally or completely unjustified, it does not sound unsound--and considering the immense popularity of the institution (also its notoriety), I applaud the author for braving these waters!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nietzsche¿s statements are often bold, startling and thought provoking to the reader. Against `moralists¿ and `religions¿ (esp. Christianity) such statements might invoke hostility on Nietzsche himself by the reader. Who does understand Nietzsche, except Nietzsche himself? The reader must go beyond this degradation ¿ for to see the world of Nietzsche one must see Nietzsche from within. Nietzsche¿s philosophy of a ¿philosophy of life¿ (Paul Tillich) is the only one that is. Much can be learned from reading Nietzsche. Nietzsche valued life and perhaps understood it more so than the `moralists¿ of yesterday and today - First purchase and reading. Nietzsche¿s philosophy, I believe, rests on his assertion: ¿Whether we have grown more moral¿ (TI, 37). Nietzsche was a man who had no need of pity or `convictions¿ of any certainty, that be called `truth¿ (the former, i.e., certainty, which only limits perspective). Nietzsche, firstly, was a philologist (the study of ancient literature), followed by that of a psychologist (how certain `concepts¿ in literature `seduce¿ man), and lastly, that of a physician (how these `seductions¿ harm man¿s health to the point of man becoming `morbid¿). Asserting himself to be all three, Nietzsche¿s philosophy and Nietzsche as philosopher sprang forth with the statement: ¿Revaluation of All Values¿ (AC, 62). Going back to the assertion above, ¿whether we have grown more moral,¿ Nietzsche is concerned with the `first order of rank,¿ and that first order is the creation of a `higher type¿ of `morality,¿ that which man has been depraved of and denied, especially from `Christian morals.¿ He is concerned with freeing man from this `enslaved morbid morality¿ and placing him on a ladder that ascends to a `higher type¿ of man: the Overman or Superman. It is the `Will to Power¿ for More Life that says ¿Yes¿ to Life. But then again, this is Nietzsche¿s interpretation of the history of morals¿ But what better interpretation is there than `experience¿ - Second purchase and reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nietzsche is without a doubt one of the greatest philosophers of all time. The man wrote the truth and didn't care what others thought, especially the Christians. These two books are smooth, well-written and meaningful attacks on Christianity. Although Twilight of the Idols was a little overindulgent, The Antichrist was nearly perfect. These are books for all time
Guest More than 1 year ago
Proves how Jesus and the whole concept of christianity is a complete waste of time. Live your own life, don't follow someone else's path. Religion is the worst thing to ever happen to mankind besides mankind.
Clicquet More than 1 year ago
You hide behind Your Belief System and consider Christianity as useless. You can print this 'dreck' because of The First Amemendment. Be gratefull This Country Allows You to Say,Print,Publish Anything You want. Everyone Including You Are allowed This by Birth~Right. Yet to hide behind even the username{s} on B&N are more telling. You have a Soul and You feel Pain.You Cry.If as, C.S. Lewis once believed we have no Souls, I wonder why you hide. Are You a coward or just stupid? As Joy Davidman~Lewis asked in film, "Shadowlands'.