Ascetic Slaves: Rereading Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals

Journal of Nietzsche Studies 45 (3):230-257 (1966)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT Most Nietzsche scholars read the third essay of On the Genealogy of Morals as an account of the development of Christian asceticism after the slave revolution in morals. In this article, I argue that that is a misreading of Nietzsche's argument, the consequence of which is a failure to understand Nietzsche's treatment of the transition from noble morality to slave morality. I contend that we can track this transition only once we understand the role of the ascetic priest in the slave revolution. The third essay's account of asceticism, then, is indispensable in understanding how slave morality grows out of priestly values. With this argument in place I begin to trace the deep lines of asceticism in the slave revolt as described in the first essay.

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