Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 3, Issue 1, 2003

Robert Nola
Pages 35-62

Nietzsche as Anti-Semitic Jewish Conspiracy Theorist

Despite his strong objections to anti-Semitism, it will be argued that Nietzsche held a curious conspiracy theory about the Jews that is uniquely his own. Modern Jews, he declared, had the power to have mastery over Europe. And Ancient Jews exercised a remarkable power of self-preservation when they got others to accept the slave morality of Christianity. The second claim is shown to have a setting in Nietzsche’s own theory of the genealogy of morals. But it is argued that that theory is defective as an explanation of the genealogy of the Judeo-Christian morality Nietzsche despised. It is also argued that Nietzsche thinks that the noble lie, as opposed to the asceticism of truth seeking, is itself an expression of the “will to power”. But this raises a serious problem for what Nietzsche thought was the status of his own genealogical enterprise. Is his genealogy of morals an example of ascetic truth seeking to be depreciated? Or is it a (not so) “noble lie” that Nietzsche has tried to foist upon us? This is not a profound issue of Nietzsche hermeneutics that Nietzsche apologists might have us believe; rather it is an epistemological muddle on the part of Nietzsche.