Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Nietzsche's "Parable of the Madman" as Paradigmatic for Western Culture

What I really enjoy as a Christmas gift is a(nother) book. Thanks to my family for recognizing this need in me and responding to it (again) with amazon gift cards.

I used the cards last night, turning to my "Wish List" on amazon. Today I am reading. One of my longed-for books was Mary Eberstadt's How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization. Eberstadt just confirmed my approach to teaching philosophy of religion. I teach Nietzsche's "parable of the madman" as seminal to understanding Western secularism. Eberstadt writes:

"Friedrich Nietzsche['s]... parable of the madman in the marketplace foretelling the death of God remains the paradigm through which many sophisticated people understand secularization right down to this day." (Eberstadt, 3)

Eberstadt's stated "purpose is to offer an alternative account of what Nietzsche’s madman really saw in what he called the “tombs” (read, the churches and cathedrals) of Europe." (5)