Behold the Demon: Nietzsche as Destroyer ~ The Imaginative Conservative

In his mockingly titled autobiography and final published work, Ecce Homo (1886), Friedrich Nietzsche presented himself as the prophet of modernity. His father a Lutheran pastor, Nietzsche rejected all that he had inherited in terms of faith at age twelve and dedicated himself to destroying the morality and ethics of Judaism and Christianity. As any Catholic knows, especially during the Lenten season, “Ecce homo” comes from Pontius Pilate’s presentation of a brutalized, bloody, and tortured Jesus to the bloodthirsty crowds of Jerusalem. “Behold the man,” Pilate stated.

No one should underestimate Nietzsche’s own vision of himself with the title. Intellectually brutalized, bloodied, and tortured, the nineteenth-century philosopher presented himself—in his final and last words to a world he wanted to overthrow. Behold the man. To be more accurate, behold the demon. To be sure, the man could write, the man could think, and the man could tell a great story. But, he was also descending into madness, and it is difficult—even for those who love Nietzsche—to know if one should take him seriously or not in the autobiography. His hubris is so over the top at times, that even his greatest supporters cringe when trying to give this book context.
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