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Nietzsche's Hinduism, Nietzsche's India: Another Look

Nietzsche's Hinduism, Nietzsche's India: Another Look 020 smith (37-56) 10/27/04 12:48 PM Page 37 Nietzsche’s Hinduism, Nietzsche’s India: Another Look David Smith his essay attempts a provocative overview of Nietzsche’s relationship with THinduism and India. It is a reading that finds Nietzsche off balance and at a disadvantage, for its starting point is the fact that Nietzsche read the Laws of Manu [Manavadharmasastra] —the one Indian text that really excited him— in a popular edition whose absurd annotation of the text gained Nietzsche’s cre- dence. I refer to Louis Jacolliot’s French translation. Manu was a relatively well-known text in nineteenth-century Europe and Jacolliot was a popular and indeed notorious writer. Nietzsche’s choice of version shows, I suggest, igno- rance of both scholarly and popular writing on India. I shall also consider Nietzsche’s relationship with other key Hindu texts and his other references to Hinduism and India. In line with the starting point of Jacolliot, my discussion continues mainly in the context of French writers contemporary with Nietzsche, particularly Ernest Renan, the hugely successful author of Vie de Jésus and Professor of Semitic Languages at the Collège de France, in some respects a tri- umphant alter ego of Nietzsche, being both philologist and wide-ranging thinker, though http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Nietzsche Studies Penn State University Press

Nietzsche's Hinduism, Nietzsche's India: Another Look

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 The Friedrich Nietzsche Society.
ISSN
1538-4594

Abstract

020 smith (37-56) 10/27/04 12:48 PM Page 37 Nietzsche’s Hinduism, Nietzsche’s India: Another Look David Smith his essay attempts a provocative overview of Nietzsche’s relationship with THinduism and India. It is a reading that finds Nietzsche off balance and at a disadvantage, for its starting point is the fact that Nietzsche read the Laws of Manu [Manavadharmasastra] —the one Indian text that really excited him— in a popular edition whose absurd annotation of the text gained Nietzsche’s cre- dence. I refer to Louis Jacolliot’s French translation. Manu was a relatively well-known text in nineteenth-century Europe and Jacolliot was a popular and indeed notorious writer. Nietzsche’s choice of version shows, I suggest, igno- rance of both scholarly and popular writing on India. I shall also consider Nietzsche’s relationship with other key Hindu texts and his other references to Hinduism and India. In line with the starting point of Jacolliot, my discussion continues mainly in the context of French writers contemporary with Nietzsche, particularly Ernest Renan, the hugely successful author of Vie de Jésus and Professor of Semitic Languages at the Collège de France, in some respects a tri- umphant alter ego of Nietzsche, being both philologist and wide-ranging thinker, though

Journal

The Journal of Nietzsche StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Nov 29, 2004

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