The Art of Tetman Callis Lit & Crit Probably, on some of those

Probably, on some of those

“How little Christianity educates the sense of honesty and justice can be gauged fairly well from the character of its scholars’ writings: they present their conjectures as boldly as if they were dogmas and are rarely in any honest perplexity over the interpretation of a passage in the Bible.  Again and again they say ‘I am right, for it is written—’ and then follows an interpretation of such imprudent arbitrariness that a philologist who hears it is caught between rage and laughter and asks himself: is it possible?  Is this honourable?  Is it even decent?—How much dishonesty in this matter is still practised in Protestant pulpits, how grossly the preacher exploits the advantage that no one is going to interrupt him here, how the Bible is pummelled and punched and the art of reading badly is in all due form imparted to the people: only he who never goes to church or never goes anywhere else will underestimate that.  But after all, what can one expect from the effects of a religion which in the centuries of its foundation perpetrated that unheard-of philological farce concerning the Old Testament: I mean the attempt to pull the Old Testament from under the feet of the Jews with the assertion it contained nothing but Christian teaching and belonged to the Christians as the true people of Israel, the Jews being only usurpers.  And then there followed a fury of interpretation and construction that cannot possibly be associated with a good conscience: however much the Jewish scholars protested, the Old Testament was supposed to speak of Christ and only of Christ, and especially of his Cross; wherever a piece of wood, a rod, a ladder, a twig, a tree, a willow, a staff is mentioned, it is supposed to be a prophetic allusion to the wood of the Cross; even the question of the one-horned beast and the brazen serpent, even Moses spreading his arms in prayer, even the spits on which the Passover lamb was roasted—all allusions to the Cross and as it were preludes to it!  Has anyone who asserted this ever believed it?”– Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak (emphasis in original; trans. Hollingdale)

3 thoughts on “Probably, on some of those”

  1. I don’t believe there are many true believers of any sect of Christianity. I think there are followers and manipulators, people looking for a blueprint of sorts, others looking for a career path. But true belief in the Bible as the word of God? Rarer than the blue-footed booby.

  2. averil, you might be surprised how many millions of people still believe the bible to be the literal word of god, as set down by his followers possessed of the holy spirit, and who believe their god to be a masculine celestial entity who impregnated a human woman without so much as lifting her skirt. some of my closer relatives are such believers, and the wonder of it is that they will have anything to do with me.

    nietzsche was, i believe, the first major thinker in the western tradition to so virulently attack christianity. he was the son and the grandson of lutheran pastors and trained as a classical philologist. he was the godfather of critical thinking as we know it now.

  3. I know millions will say they believe it, and may even believe they believe it, but to really accept the Bible as the literal word, I think people would have to be much more extreme in their behavior than they are. It’s the divide between their “beliefs” and their behavior that makes me skeptical.

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